My first NYC Marathon was probably one of the most fun things I have ever done. Yes, it hurt and yes I was complaining like a baby at the end, but it was fun nonetheless. I loved seeing all the characters running the race, from the woman in a banana suit, to the Blues Brothers in full costume, including shoes, to Spiderman and even Superman who I passed on the Queensboro Bridge. I loved all my fellow runners and the spectators were just amazing and inspiring in their own right.
Picking out my favorite part of the day would be pretty much impossible, but the moment that was most inspiring to me is easy. That moment happened at mile 18 when I passed an amputee. And no, the fact that I passed someone, even an amputee, was not the inspiring part. It was inspiring because this particular amputee did not have a prosthetic. He was missing his right leg from the knee down and was completing the marathon on CRUTCHES!
As I approached this amazing athlete, all I could think was, “Holy cow! He’s on crutches. And I think my body hurts. Just imagine how much his arms and armpits must hurt.” I gave him a thumbs up as I passed him and never saw him again, but that moment made me realize how much tougher some people’s marathon journeys are than mine. I thought my training was difficult, but imagine what it must be like to train for 26.2 miles on crutches. The amount of guts and determination he had is beyond my comprehension.
I remember in my second marathon that when I hit halfway all I could think was why the heck am I doing this? I luckily thought of the amputee from mile 18 and told myself to suck it up. I made it to mile 16 and then happened to cross paths with my friend, Alison, who helped get me through the rest, but the crutches guy got me through 3 miles.
I have a list, yes I physically wrote it down, of who inspires me to keep running. I read it periodically so that I have most of it memorized and can recall many of the people when my mind wants me to quit. The crutches guy has helped me more times than I can count at this point and although I have no idea who he is he’s still inspiring me.
So who inspires you to keep going, whether in running or other aspects of your life?