Thank You For Being Here- A Marathon Weekend Note From Mary

Welcome to the big time, folks. It’s Marathon Friday in New York City.

This weekend represents the best weekend in sports, when a diverse and vibrant community of 8.5 million people comes together to support the journey of 50,000+; with their full throated support from the side streets of Bay Ridge to the street corners of the Bronx and finally the finish line in Central Park. There is just one goal for all of New York on this magical Sunday in November- simply to get every last human across that finish line.

It’s a time when everything seems possible.

15 years ago, today, I stood in Staten Island, not knowing a soul in NYC. Adrift in the slipstream of college, I had not yet found my way in life. Staring out at the sea of people in front of me on the Verrazzano, I had no idea idea what was going to happen, only that I knew I was committed to seeing it through for 26.2 miles.

As it turned out, it was pretty amazing. That five boro tour changed my life profoundly; the race, the community and the ENERGY left new wrinkles all over my frontal lobe. Every cell in my body said “more of THIS” and so, I moved to Manhattan with my boyfriend of just a few months and we began building a life in this big, crazy, noisy, wonderful place.

We’ve been married now for 14 years and we have come to love and thrive in this community of runners. Throughout that time, we have been a part of many groups, all committed to running better, faster and stronger.

But, in all that time, there has been nothing like November Project. 

From that first rainy day in March of 2014 to this very moment, there is nothing that compares to the feeling of being part of a community that helps you become a better person. To knowing that the people on your team value staying to cheer in the final runners more highly than any trophy and that the greatest gift you can give to your loved ones is your presence.

Nothing can come close to the profound sense of comfort in understanding that no matter what the actual or emotional weather forecast has in store, there will always be a community of friends, waiting for you at dawn. One that will enthusiastically support your successes and offer a haven for you to rest and regroup after a loss.

There is no current scale in existence that can measure the sheer joy of watching three beloved Tribe members go on to lead their own communities. Nothing can quite capture the pride of watching friends old and new strive to push their limits and adventure out further than they have every dared before. 

There is no way to measure the unbridled euphoria of staring out at the Tribe, watching them watch Rob, as his phone freezes in the middle of Fun Fact Friday and is forced to ad-lib. Or when Kevin takes off at full speed to find everyone during hide and seek, only to watch the Tribe gleefully sneak back to home base without a single tag. Or the day when 30+ fully grown humans, with day jobs,  happily chased me up the stairs at Macy’s to meet Santa before going to work.

Those are the moments, friends, when all the pressures of daily life lift and we see again, that anything is possible.

Today, hundreds of you are less than 48 hours from the start of your own journey through NYC. Thousands more are are facing your own personal quests; many too complicated and challenging to even be properly described. The weight of these can seem overwhelming and I know that it can be so scary to even take that first step, so I wanted to offer this, a bit of hard fought wisdom from a well respected friend and mentor:

“You are stronger than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can.”

It has been an absolute pleasure and a joy to be your co-leader. I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished together and I eagerly anticipate watching the Tribe grow and evolve.  Today, we have already done something incredible. I wonder what tomorrow has in store?

After all, anything is possible on Marathon Weekend in New York City.

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