Running With Celebrities: An NYC Marathon Story

ING NYC Marathon

For the first time in twenty years, the New York City Marathon was televised on a national network. In January of 2012, the ING NYC Marathon announced a five year partnership with ESPN/ABC to allow for comprehensive year-round coverage of marathon news. The 2012 Marathon was to be the first year the coverage returned to our TVs. However, last year the marathoners in New York were on our television racing around the streets of Manhattan, not for the actual marathon, but to assist the efforts of those suffering from the effects of hurricane Sandy.

The television coverage this year was great. But I have to tell you, it was unbelievable to actually BE at the event and feel the energy of support within the city. At last count, 50,740 runners participated in the ING NYC marathon this year. The list of celebrities running is inspiring, as are the list of repeat runners and elite runners. When it comes to the most inspiring runner I am biased because this year one of my best friends ran the marathon.

Lindsay ran in honor of our friend Janel, who has been battling aggressive melanoma. For months these two friends of mine were enduring the most intense extremes a body can know. Lindsay pushed her body as she trained daily for the marathon, and Janel pushed to make it through each day as her body fought cancer with round after round of chemotherapy. Many days these two friends knew pain and exhaustion, but their parallel journeys helped continue to motivate each other.

You run because you have passion, you run because you have drive, you run because someone else can not. Celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Bill Rancic, Christy Turlington, or Uzo “Crazy Eyes” Aduba from Orange is the New Black raise funds and raise awareness for charities when they run. Like most celebrities who run, Lindsay joined a fundraising team, Fred’s Team. The team was named after Fred Lebow, a co-founder of the New York City Marathon. In 1991 Fred was being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and got the idea to ask fellow runners to fundraise for a cure for cancer.

Since 1995 Fred’s Team has raised over $50 million for a cure. At a dinner for the team the night before the marathon it was announced that over $3.9 million had been raised this year.

So what’s it like running with celebrities? I asked the only person I know who could answer this question. Lindsay was full of praise saying, “I love hearing about celebrities using their fame for causes they believe in. No one can run the miles for them. It takes a lot of heart to put themselves out there.”

This weekend three of my closest friends and I traveled to New York to watch Lindsay run. Janel, who wasn’t able to make the trip with her son and husband, got a call two days before the marathon that made the event a fireworks show for us. When you have melanoma you never get a call that says you are cancer free. Instead you, your family, and your friends hope with every inch of their hearts for a NED call. That’s just what Janel got on Friday. She got NED: no evidence of disease.

Congratulations to all who ran for those who can not run, and to all who helped donate to charities and causes around the world.

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