Wait, I want to lead better. Why should I care about marathons?
Running a marathon takes discipline, dedication, practice, drive, determination, and many skills relevant to becoming a leader and practicing leadership. You’ve heard many parts of leadership described as marathons, not sprints. Whether you want to train for and complete a literal marathon or just something like one, having marathons in your life as a competitor or spectator, improves your leadership skills.
Even if you don’t run a marathon, interacting with them puts those skills and people with them in your environment, which increases them in your life. It motivates you to increase those skills and adopt comparable practices in your life.
Besides, watching or competing in a marathon, especially the New York City marathon, is an awesome experience you’ll value even if you get nothing out of it than the experience in the moment.
The New York City Marathon — two weeks from today!
The New York City marathon is the premier distance running event in the world. Nothing else remotely comes close.
Two million people line the streets of the city to watch 45,000 competitors. Bands play. Children give runners high-fives. You will laugh. You will cry. You will see competitors in wheelchairs, who are blind, who use crutches, who are over 80 years old, who come from around the world. You will cheer with the most excited neighbors.
Because the marathon measures your training, not any innate skill, almost anyone can run one. Because so many people believe they can’t do it, running a marathon redefines what impossible means to them. For this reason, the marathon will inspire you — maybe to run a marathon, maybe to do something else you thought impossible. Especially the New York City marathon, where over 40,000 people in one day do what many consider impossible.
You don’t have to go for sports. The day is usually a brisk fall day, with leaves changing, but not yet cold. It’s friendly for families and people of all ages. Bring a thermos of hot cider and you’re set. Think about competing one day anyway. The oldest marathon finisher was 100 years old, which you’re probably younger than. Whatever past injury you’ve had, someone competed with worse. Here’s the thing — when else will you be cheered to finish by TWO MILLION people? You probably can’t imagine that experience, but you can live it.
I prefer watching in Manhattan along the incredibly-loud-from-cheering-fans canyon of First Avenue. The crowd there can be ten people deep — and for great reason. There are great parties along the route and the competitors get psyched from entering this unbelievable stretch of cheering fans. After watching for while there, you can walk a few blocks to Central Park and see the competitors in beautiful Central Park’s east side, then walk to the finishing line later in the day when its crowd decreases.
Brooklyn traditionally has better bands and is less dense than First Avenue, plus the long stretch along Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn gives a longer view of the race.
It goes through a lot of the city so you can watch it in all five boroughs.
This year follows two tragedies — last year’s devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the Boston marathon’s terrorist attack. If you’re like me, you believe the fastest and most effective way to recover is to get back to doing what you would normally do.
I expect to run this year’s marathon and I hope to beat my personal best. It will be my sixth marathon and fifth in New York.
How to prepare to watch
I recommend reading stories on this page of marathon stories. For some reason they didn’t post a story about me, but you’ll love them nonetheless.
The New York Times covers it too, not just on race day. Here is the link to all their stories on it, many inspirational, some informative.
Otherwise, put on a nice fall jacket, bring your camera, sandwiches, and that thermos I mentioned above, and you’re set.
I think they give each competitor a tracking chip and that you can get text messages for anyone to know when they’ll reach your spot more accurately. If I find out more I’ll post more here.
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