My New York City Marathon journey
Xs and Arrows
November 12, 2022
Honestly I am at a loss for words. Rare for me right? I just finished the New York City Marathon and the emotions and gratitude are tough to put into words. Easier from a metrics standpoint to mention that I ran 26.2 miles from Staten Island to Central Park and through all five New York Burroughs. An incredibly difficult feat.
This one was special, a reward of sorts for all the funds raised for Team World Vision during my Los Angeles Marathon quest earlier this year. With over $3,000 raised I received an invite into the New York Marathon field, a coveted spot usually reserved for a lottery system or time qualifier. I received a charity exemption to run with 50,000 others, the first full in-person marathon since the pandemic-and New York came out in force.
First let me talk about the fact that I was part of a historic marathon. It was the hottest NYC Marathon on record, 75 degrees in November with 70% humidity. Like they say its not the heat but the humidity that gets you,.Whoever "they" are was not lying. The lack of any breeze, complete stillness and blanketing warmth impacted every runner on the course; even some far more fit than me could not finish the grueling course. I not only finished this historic marathon, but I did so while running the entire time, even over the vaunted five bridges in an out of the Burroughs.
Due to those conditions there was no way I finished without the support of all the New Yorkers that literally lined the streets in support of complete strangers. When I say support, I really mean support. I had people chanting my name in every burrough and every neighborhood was a block party full of people encouraging you. In some areas, especially in Brooklyn and Queens the streets narrowed and you were running almost touching fans on both sides of the street. I felt like Rocky running through the streets (although that was in Philly), but the sentiment was all the same.
Each burrough welcomed us with signs, one of my favorite being, "Welcome to Queens, Now Leave!" There was also the, "Yo, Welcome to Brooklyn" that greeted us as we finished the Verrazano Bridge off the start in Staten Island. Brooklyn was especially crazy. An amazing experience including the fact that I ran down 4th Avenue through Bay Ridge, which was the neighborhood the Costelloe family, led by my great grandparents, settled in the 1920s following their trek from Ireland. We had a chance to visit that neighborhood and see their former home and their former church. It was not lost on me that this is where it all started for my family in America. I received a text from a second cousin who still lives in the New York area the night before saying, "you will be passing your great grandfather Joseph and great grandmother Anastasia's beloved home in Brooklyn. I'm sure they are going to be with you!"
They were, as were thousands of strangers who came out in support, it really made a difference, especially given the course conditions and nagging injuries that impacted me this time around. When the people's energy was up, so was mine-I certainly missed them on the bridges where I had to battle the demons of silence and doubt, but as the race went on I embraced those demons. There was little they could do to stop me from finishing this one.
I crossed the finish line, slower than I would have liked, my hands raised triumphantly as this was special ... I just ran through all five Burroughs of NYC, crossed five bridges, cheered on by thousands of strangers who made me feel like family and had many of them chanting my name. That's special.
Thank you to everyone who made this trek possible, all those who donated to Team World Vision and their mission to provide clean water to kids in developing nations. That made an impact, not only on me but on those kids a half a world away who have had their life changed, thanks to one overweight guy from Tehachapi who decided to embrace these difficult challenges.
On to the next one? Probably, L.A. Marathon 2023 is a little less than five months away. Maybe if when I recover from this one we will do it all again. See you at the finish line.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter, broadcaster and athletics administrator. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.