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Marathon #3 New York City Marathon
Two years after Melody's first marathon at Disney World, she chose to tackle the New York City Marathon. Melody once again decided to raise money for a charity choosing to run in honor of her cousins’ son, Connor with Team Autism.
Training and fundraising for Team Autism- NYC Marathon
Being seasoned veterans with the knowledge of marathon preparation and fundraising Melody and I knew what to expect with the rigors of training, working, and raising money. Melody and I worked together like a well-oiled machine as we shared responsibilities, fundraising efforts, and household duties. We both poured our hearts and souls into fundraising, and Melody into logging mile after mile 6 days a week. We capped off our fundraising efforts with a silent auction at a local beach bar, where we raised over $5000 at that single event.
Off to New York City
We headed to the big apple proud of our fundraising which totaled over $10,000. Team Autism hosted a fantastic dinner party the night before the marathon where Melody was honored as the #1 fundraiser for 2009 Team Autism NYC Marathon. As she was honored with the applause of the wonderful Team Autism staff and fellow fundraisers, I did it again and cried with pride.
Race Day-Navigating 5 boroughs of New York
So how do you get around New York City and try to see your runner in as many places as possible? Unlike Disney where you can get on a tram and walk a bit through the theme park, New York is a completely different animal. So I mapped out a subway plan with the first sighting to be at mile 5 in Brooklyn. After securing a light pole among the throngs of people, I was able to stand on the base gaining a better vantage point. Watching 55,000 runners zooming by makes it difficult to find your loved one. But somehow I managed to do it. We kissed and it was off to Manhattans Upper East Side at mile 17. I was able to change out her water bottles, give her some nourishment, encouragement and console her while she cried out “My I-Pod died” Teary eyed she handed me her ear plugs and iPod and tentatively continued on. Note to self… Carry a Backup I-Pod.
The Home stretch
Now it was time to walk again and catch her coming south to the Central Park entrance. We managed to see each other again about mile 21 or 22 and I refueled her with more supplies. The final stage of the plan was to meet at the finish line.
To the finish line
I began my trek across Central Park to the finish line. As I came over the hill towards the race course I heard many spectators yelling “Go Melody” (Her name was on her race shirt), I couldn’t believe I saw her about 50 yards up the course. I started running faster and caught her just past the 24 mile marker. I was carrying a large sign that had managed to stay intact for the past 5 hours. The Sign read "RUN FOR CONNER"!
I matched strides with Melody and put that sign in the air and for the next mile all those wonderful New York spectators took up the chant “RUN FOR CONNER, RUN FOR CONNER”!
Needless to say, we both started crying. Melody was gasping for breath while sobbing, filled with the emotion of running for something bigger. The cheers from the throngs of New York spectators gave her the extra strength she needed to finish strong.
I think the hardest part of finding someone is after the finish. Melody was able to borrow a cell phone and call me. She directed me to her location where we hugged, kissed and cried tears of joy for her accomplishment of finishing 26.2 miles for a cause she so deeply believed in.
My support and experience navigating marathon courses around the country and world would come in handy in Melody’s next marathons. Read my upcoming blogs for Paris France, Chicago, Jacksonville, and New York again!