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Today I saved someone’s race!

It was a wonderful day for the New York Marathon with bright sunshine lighting up the gorgeous autumn colours and a perfect fresh temperature: couldn’t be better for a November road race. I had cycled up the Hudson River Greenway from West 12th Street on my Citibike (over 4 miles), entered Central Park at West 86th (you couldn’t get in lower than that because the streets were all barricaded by NYPD officers on guard) and walked across to the East side where the runners entered the park, just over 2 miles from the finishing line. A great atmosphere, full of cheering, shouting, bells ringing, flags and banners waving.

My favourite sign was “My Dad is fast”, scrawled by a child who at this point was sitting, bored, behind the crowd on the edge of the kerb. “What Is a marathon?” it said, next to a stick figure of a man. Answer given: “You run a long way”. She was right: if he had already passed her at this stage he certainly was one of the faster runners!

After a bit of cheering and clapping with everyone else (it’s nice when people have their names on their shirts so you can shout encouragement to them by name) I walked out of the park, towards the flow runners as they came through; at one point where the crowd was a bit sparser a runner was sitting on the kerb, clearly in pain, and looking cold and miserable trying to rub his leg. It took a while to brave asking, but when I offered to massage his thigh for him he was sooooo extremely thankful. This was New Yorker David, who had a photo of his Mum on his chest. Little by little he said his muscle felt easier, and when he found he could at last stand again he hobbled on, with hope restored to be able to finish his race. I hope he found the salts he was looking for at the next medical aid station.

I felt rather good about myself after that, I have to admit. “Angel” was someone else’s word. Yey!


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