I’ve gotten sucked into NYC Marathon hype…not unduly of course because I think there are plenty of things to be excited about. Is it strange that I’ll post all of this and I’m not even running the race? Oh well if it is, I’m a runner geekette so I can be a fan and post if I want to. I do think it would be really awesome to run it one day.
I thought it worth doing a couple previous NYC highlights over the years, and a part of the idea came to me cause Cecily over at ReRun Running did something similar for another race she IS running in.
The first woman to run in the NYC Marathon was Nina Kuscsik in 1972; she actually took part in a sit-in with all the other female entrants on behalf of gender equality. They waited ten minutes after the gun and then took off; Nina won NY two times, snuck herself into the 1969 Boston Marathon before being officially recognized as the Boston winner in 1972. Further, she was a propelling force in getting the Marathon instituted as an Olympic event for women.
What has made a lot of press recently is that one of the legends of the NYC Marathon, Grete Waitz, died earlier this year and thus the organizers have dedicated this 2011 running to her. Between 1978 and 1988 Grete won nine times, set the world record for the event a total of three times (even in her first attempt) and what I found astonishing was that she really entered the first time kind of on a whim. She had been a track star, setting twice the world record for the 3000 meters, and I read in one of her tributes something like, until the marathon her longest training run was about 10 miles! She is certainly one of the greatest female distance runners, but she also did a lot of wonderful charity work and co-founded a cancer federation. She is certainly missed.
Another one of my great running idols, Alberto Salazar, won three times from 1980-1982 set the world record for the event in 1981. He was the last American to win until Meb Keflezighi finally changed that in 2009.
Paula Radcliffe, the current women’s world record holder, has won three times. Kara Goucher made her debut at the distance in 2008, Shalane Flanagan also made her first attempt at the 26.2′er in 2010, coming in second and making her the top finishing American female for the span of 20 years.
This year it’s going to be Lauren Fleshman’s turn to tackle the marathon for the first time. On the men’s side there is plenty of talk of a new world record in the works…only time will tell.
So I don’t feel like I’m the only one who should be excited for this year’s event even though I’m not running. Like I’ve said many times before, running IS the best sport around…GOOD LUCK to those racing!
1) Are YOU excited for the marathon? Do you have any tidbits you’d like to add?
2) What else are you excited about this weekend?
3) Who are some of your running or athletic heros?