Condé Nast Traveler

I would do long runs with my sister or with other friends who are running. My partner also ran, so we would get up at 6:00 AM and get in our miles before work. And my sister and I were on vacation in Canada and went out and ran a half marathon, because that was- we were at that point in our training where that’s how long we had to run. And so by the time the day came, I felt like I almost had a personal de-transplant of, like, just this being this huge part of my life. And then on the actually day, I think I knew what to expect, but it- it’s- it… I think it would blow anyone away.

You take the ferry to Staten Island, where you’re with all the other runners. Uh, you go over to this camp, where they are giving out bagels, whole bagels, that people are shoving in their mouths to carb load before they run. And- and you’re waiting for your time and everyone’s sitting on the ground, stretching. And I think just the chatter you hear in that process also help me realize how big this was. I wasn’t there just for the running; I was there for the experience, and it seemed really clear I would get such an experience. It’s crazy. Suddenly, it’s your time and they call out your start time and, you know, I was in the last wave because, of course, I anticipated my finishing time would be quite long and I was very fine with that. I just wanted to get to the end. And you’re just standing with all these people and they… Once you get kind of in the crowd, they have a section where they close you off.

You know, we were standing on the Verrazzano Bride in Staten Island, which normally you can only drive over and I’ve driven over plenty over times. It’s just very surreal at the beginning because there’s no crowds when you start on the bridge, so you can really just, like… You have this moment to- to realize that, “Okay, this thing is happening.” Like, “I’m at the start of a long day of something I’ve never experienced.” You know, if you’re a first time runner like I was, you start on the bridge. I mean, there’s other runners and some people are kind of, like, whooping and hollering and- and getting everyone excited. But then you- you enter Brooklyn and it’s just like… It is a party. There’s people, there are kids with signs that are like, “We love the runners.” There are people holding out cups of Gatorade. There are, you know, grandmas shaking cowbells and there are bands outside of gas stations that are, you know, with some a- advertising banner, of course.

For the remaining 26.2 miles, there was never a block where there weren’t people cheering for us. And, like, whenever I would feel tired, I would run to the side, you know, you- you’re… The streets are closed, so there’s a wide space. I’d go to the sideway where people were and I would just hear all these strangers, like, looking in the eye and be like, “Come on, Megan.” And it’s incredible. Like, it’s emotional to even think about, because I think it’s such a cool experience. I ended up running for four hours and, I think, 43 minutes, which is actually faster than I excepted. I thought I would take a lot longer, but that is a long time to be doing one thing. But it feels like you’re kind of just watching a movie of the city coming out in the biggest way it can. At- at certain points, the crowds are, like, 10 people deep. And what struck me during it was looking around, appreciating, like, the people who came out to cheer us on so much, because it- it help me forget that I was running, right? It help me forget that, like, like… I was starting to get a pain in the arch of my left foot or, like, I had a side ache for a while ’cause I drank so much water, because it was the hottest marathon day on record, I believe.

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