New York is an amazing place to live any time of year, but ask around and most New Yorkers will tell you that fall is their favorite season to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. The NYC marathon is certainly one of the highlights of autumn, and for those of us who aren’t fit enough to run it (ahem), watching the marathon can be just as thrilling. Especially if you have kids.
For years I lived in East Harlem on 116th Street and 1st Avenue, a great spot to watch the runners as they head into the home stretch. Naturally, when my daughter was born, we were thrilled to take her – at less than a month old – out to enjoy the cheerful festivities. My daughter’s Dad is Dutch, so we got an extra kick out of scanning the sweaty masses for orange jerseys emblazoned with names like Jan, Teun and Piet and shouting encouraging slogans at them in their native tongue. (ING, the investment bank behind the marathon, is based in the Netherlands, as is of course much of New York’s history.)
I’m no athlete, but even as a spectator, I’ve always felt swept up in the energy of the marathon, inspired by the runners and their amazing stamina and fortitude. ING is sharing some of the many incredible stories of this year’s participants on their website, including a handful of marathon moms. (Go get ‘em, girls!) But the story that most intrigued me as I perused the faces of the 2010 marathon is the story of the Fredericks family.
Kim and Nick Fredericks promised their friend, runner Tommy DiChiara, that they’d greet him at the finish line of last year’s race, and they did, with their one-month-old daughter, Noelle, in tow. The Fredericks family is out supporting this year’s runners even as I type – and for the last time, as they will be moving to Indianapolis later this month. I’m sure they’ll always cherish the memories of their NYC marathon experience. I know I do. We spectators may finish the race without breaking a sweat, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t left breathless by the joy of it all.