The Winning  Spirit
Life Lessons Learned
In Last Place
Twenty Years On The Road

                     Twenty Years On The Road
     Honoring My Past While Embracing My Future

I completed my 20th NYC Marathon
on Monday 11/5/07 in a little less
than 29 hours.  It was truly one of the most exhilarating and profound experiences of my life.  It was a nonpareil opportunity to embrace the last 20 years of my life even as I walked towards the finish line in my future. 

The marathon is never a solitary journey or a solitary victory.  For all 20 marathons I have been accompanied by my best friends Hester Sutherland and Marsha Sambol.  In recent years we have been joined by an amazing assortment of well-wishing friends at strategic points along the route.  The New York City Guardian Angels escort us on the overnight, not only insuring our safety, but entertaining us with personal anecdotes and updated family photos.  As a Team, we have shared incalculable adventures together.  So many memories.  Some poignant.  Some just down right funny.

A few years ago, David Sobel, a dear friend of mine, as well as an invaluable staff member of the MS Society, explained to his young daughter Samantha that he wouldn't be taking her to school on the Monday following marathon Sunday.  He was going to walk the last few miles of the marathon with his friend Zoe. "Oh Daddy" she replied, "I just love Zoe SO much!"  He paused for a second wondering how she even knew who I was.  She promptly added "Are Big Bird and Elmo coming too?"  Out of the mouths of babes.  Go Sesame Street!

In the first few years of our marathon adventures, my team and I would dramatically mimic the infamous line from the Tennessee Williams play "I have always relied on the kindness of strangers!"  Over the years, on our overnight trek through New York City. we have depended on the good will of police precincts, fire houses, restaurants and bars to accommodate our need for caffeine and rest rooms.  Throughout the years "the kindness of strangers" has been replaced by the concern of new friends who open their doors and hearts to us each year in the middle of the night.  There's a great deal of truth in the old adage "It's always darkest before the dawn."

One of our favorite pit stops along the marathon route is the fire department in Harlem.  They lavish my team with coffee, treats, a much needed bathroom break and endless good will.  This year, the captain offered us an endless array of fabulous food choices.  Just as we were getting ready to hit the road again, he made one final pitch.  "I've got an amazing loin of pork in the fridge and it's all yours for the asking!"

I can honestly say that over the years I've been offered some amazing things along the marathon route, including a ride to the finish line, a quart of vodka and a joint.  No, not the knee replacement kind, the smokable variety!  I must admit though, I have never been offered a loin of pork.  Just goes to show you, there's a first time for everything in life.

Mc Reilly's Irish Pub in Long Island City also has become a favorite pit stop en route to the finish line. This year our 20th anniversary was celebrated with balloons, giant signs and Irish soda bread to go.  When someone speculated that this might be my last run given that it was my 20th , Bridget the owner became indignant."What do you mean quit after 20?  She's not even legal till she's 21!"  As I train for the 2008 marathon, I realize that I couldn't have said it any better myself



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