By Rachel Grunwell
The marketing promotions for the NY Marathon notes this event will do many things to you ...
It will: excite, intimidate, connect, overwhelm, entertain, drive, renew, motivate, vindicate and even empower you. What the promotional material doesn't say is it could break you — if you haven't trained smart. So, thank god I've trained. I just need to face the fluttery nerves and fear of getting through 42km.
Despite doing lots of races, the fear of 42km never fades. It's a looooooong way. I know it will hurt. A lot. But I also know pain is part of the process for reaching success ... As I write this column on the eve of running this marathon, guiding blind Kiwi athlete Tamati Pearse to help him to achieve his goal, I've been inspired by two famous Kiwis.
I attended an event in New York to see NZ running great Allison Roe inducted into the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame, days before the 2018 NY City Marathon.
It was a magic moment seeing the famous Kiwi awarded this honour — and also see her photo displayed on a giant banner near the marathon finish-line.
"I feel so honoured and blessed to be here," she said, beaming and looking beautiful in a black and white dress to express her Kiwi pride. In 1981, Roe won the NY City Marathon with a time of 2:25:29 — setting a world's best for the women's marathon. She also won the Boston Marathon earlier that year, setting a course record. She now is driven to uplift the health of Kiwis, working on the Waitemata District Health Board.
Roe is inspired too by her son Elliott, aged 25, who will run this marathon — his third — trying to chase down a personal best time of under 3-hours. Her pride for his determination to achieve a personal best time brings her equal pride as having won this race at the same age, she says.
I spent an afternoon too with Kiwi run legend Rod Dixon who won this marathon in 1983.
We are both ambassadors for the Achilles charity which helps disabled athletes to run. I asked him how he feels looking at the picture of his win moment all those years ago? "It feels like yesterday," he says with the biggest grin.
He joyfully uses that celebrity status through that magic moment to help kids through his Rod Dixon's Kids Marathon Marathon Foundation where he inspires kids to move through
this sport. His motto: "Finishing is winning and winning is finishing".
Meanwhile, Allison says she hopes to inspire Kiwis to look at running as more than just "physical activity". "It's something that connects you to the earth, the sky and the universe — and yourself. It's not just about what's happening on the outer, but also the inner. To me, running is quite a spiritual and emotional thing."
Speaking of emotional, I'm preparing to be emotional at the end of this marathon. I'm also preparing the tissues. Rob is right: Finishing always feels like winning. Wish me luck!