The New York City Marathon has grown through the years into one of the world’s grandest sporting events, attracting runners and their supporters from around the globe. About 30,000 people participated in last weekend’s event, and every one of them has a story to tell.
What makes marathon running so appealing is that it’s a microcosm of life, requiring training, discipline, stamina, and a willingness to stay the course when your mind and body are telling you to pack it in. The preparation can, at times, be lonely. But it all drives home the truism that anything worthwhile is usually never easy to achieve. Like life, marathon running is a battle against adversity — and the conditions on the day.
The serious runners are, of course, always concerned about their finishing times. But, for many, finishing the course is an achievement in itself. And while the television crews and reporters are always on hand to interview the first man and woman to break the tape, there are others as deserving, if not more so, who never get to bask in the media spotlight. People like Angela Randall, from Dublin, and Brian Manning, from County Cork, two visually impaired runners who completed about 21 miles of the course. They were accompanied to New York by a delegation from the Irish Guide Dogs Association.
First-place finishers are, of course, always inspiring. Often, however, it’s people like Randall and Manning who are the real winners, not because they crossed a finish line, but because they worked to overcome what others perceive as limitations. And who among us does not need such inspiration at times?