OK, I did it again yesterday, running the 26.2 through the streets of NYC.
But the question is why: Why would anyone do that? Hopefully, this brief blog post answers that.
Life is a series of adventures and experiences. You hope for good ones but some will suck.
In the process we do our best, sometimes, to make memories. It was the reason I got sworn in to practice before the United States Supreme Court, despite my expectancy of actually appearing there being someplace barely above nil.
When we are young, we fantasize about experiences to come: Standing on the pitchers mound in the World Series; Soaring toward the hoop in a pro basketball game; And similar for soccer, football, tennis, hockey, the Olympics, and any sport played in an arena with tens of thousands of screaming fans.
Odds are, you will never ever have that fantasy turn into reality. Ever.
Except for one place. There are only a very small handful of major foot races that both attract the best in the word and are also open to the public to compete against them. And the first Sunday in November is the largest one of them all. Not figuratively the biggest, but literally. Same race, same field, same day, same screaming fans.
A million fans — again not figuratively but literally — will line the course and, if you have your name on your shirt, scream for you. Absolute and complete total strangers. Yelling. For you. For you of average athletic ability who trained to run long. You can compete against the best and compare yourself.
Is there any other sport where you can compare yourself to the best in the same event — quantitatively? At the end of the day, you can say you are 50% as good as the best in the world. Or 65%. Or 40%. You know exactly where you stand, for better or worse.
The event is, for those competing for time, a race. But most of the runners, and 100% of the fans, it is the world’s largest piece of urban theatre.
It’s a day when New York City turns in the biggest small town in the world. Strangers chat with strangers. Randos congratulate you on the street afterward. They talk. Not in pixels.
And make no mistake about it, it is an adventure. You don’t really know what will happen. Will it be thrilling or anguishing? Will your mug appear on a bus? Who knows? But if you don’t try to have those experiences, then you certainly never will.
Doing this particular one may be hard, but then, if it was easy everyone would do it.
So go forth and have adventures. If not this, then another. Make it something you can think about in the old folks home years from now. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something new. Because talking about that one viral tweet you had decades ago won’t cut it.