If you live in New York you know that this weekend is one of the most important events of the year for the city. Each year since 1970 the New York City Marathon has drawn thousands of runners and millions of spectators in a 26.2 mile tour of New York’s five boroughs. Ever since I arrived in New York in 2002 I have seen dozens of fellow media professionals successfully complete the race.
In an industry better known for its long days and even longer nights, the New York City marathon has been an annual ritual where everyone from junior planners to CEOs participate. “I can’t go out tonight, I have to train,” you might occasionally hear someone say from August to November. That’s when you know that your coworker is gearing up for the biggest race of their life. Hilariously, sometimes they try to combine the two, going out after work for drinks and then trying to stay upright on the treadmill at the gym late into the night.
Now, thanks for Facebook, you can watch their steady progress up until race day. We know how many miles they’ve logged and watch as their weekend runs grow longer, to the point where they can do 20 miles or so around Central Park and its glorious reservoir. You also watch (and worry) as they sometimes become mildly injured with a bum knee or ankle due to all of the training leading up to the big day. Ramping up training in just 90 days or so to complete a marathon takes its toll on the body.
But in the end everyone usually pulls it together and finishes their first marathon. If they break four hours its a notable achievement. Sometimes it takes a bit longer than that. Either way it’s cause for celebration.
Remarkably, most participants show up for work the next day, somehow getting through meetings, client calls and churning through reports despite the soreness that comes with shuffling through Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Manhattan the day before.
For everyone participating this weekend, good luck. While most of us will be watching from either the streets of New York or from the comfort of our living rooms on television, we’ll be cheering for you.