Bringing the World Together: Running the NYC Marathon

“It’s entirely possible that every big city is at its best on marathon day. These races, this mass of humanity lining up and traversing 26.2 miles just for the fun of it as another mass of humanity cheers them on…”

The New York Times
Photo: 2017 NYC Marathon Elite Women Leaders

Sunday, I had the great honor to run the NYC Marathon for the second time.

Inspiring in the true sense of the word. In Spirit.
Latin: In-spirare – into; breathe
Inspirare – to breathe life into

One of the most extraordinary things about the NYC Marathon is its inclusion and unity.

You run through all five boroughs and experience the different cultural communities, all cheering for you. Worlds of ethnic diversity and multi-generation immigrants.

In Brooklyn, a group of Orthodox Jews was carefully trying to run amidst us across the street as they, observing the Sabbath on Saturday, were likely working that day.

The elite runners, as well as many amateurs, come from all over the globe: America, Australia, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Russia – all of us running in solidarity. Lest you think the marathon is just for the privileged, Achilles International sponsors thousands of competitors with illness, injury, and disability. There are wounded veterans, paralympic athletes, and cancer survivors competing together while the elderly and the blind are guided and supported by friends, family, and volunteers.

There are hundreds of charities that allow runners to participate in this nearly impossible to gain entry event. I ran for an organization called Free to Run which provides funding for girls and women in areas of conflict to participate in running and other sports. Their cover photo shows several Muslim girls, in full required attire, running through the barren deserts of their country. Sneakers sneak out beneath their ankle-length dresses. In this field, the race is not about winning but achievement – the triumph of the human spirit.

Inspired indeed.

All of this – the diversity, the courage, the camaraderie – is what makes this race so iconic and meaningful.

From the New York Times today:

“…to experience all this is to fall in love with it, especially on a day when the air is crisp, the sky is blue and the sun and all those hundreds of thousands of people cheering for 50,000-plus runners feel as warm as a loving embrace from an old friend.”

We should learn something from this. If you are reading this, I suspect you already know it.

We must find and cross the bridge that brings us together. There are five in the race, all up-hill. This means walking (or running/cycling/wheel-chairing), often in significant discomfort beside those who may oppose us without hate or judgment in our hearts. We have reached a time in human history where we are not only a global community but now verge on a galactic one. Borders and boundaries no longer hold, and the natural laws point to unity and balance, not domination and exclusion. The first Mystical Law that All is One assures that this is so, whether we believe it or not.

The beauty of the NYC Marathon is that it fosters this. It promotes it, and it celebrates it. We come together and cheer for the sheer gift of being human and alive at the same time on this planet. Not despite our differences, but because of them.

It doesn’t fix everything, but it’s a good 26.2-mile start.

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