Monday, December 08, 2008

A Cheer-filled Mile 18

November 2. Mile 18 (out of 26.2 miles). 39,000 runners from all over the world. It took us five hours, but, boy was it worth it.

Cheer New York was at its third ING New York City Marathon! (The first one in which we've been officially invited). And we weren't even running! Our assignment was to stay put on 96th and 1st and push these brave marathoners along toward the finish line. In a bright Sunday morning that wasn't enough to shield the cold chill from anyone, Cheer New York guided these athletes with affirming shouts of encouragement: "You can do it!" "Allez, allez, allez!" "Vamonos!" "Keep it up!" "You're doing great!"

They came in a rush at first -- the handcrankers of the bikes, the swish of the skaters, the police squad of the rushing top athletes (there goes Paula Radcliffe of Britain, and here comes Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil). Then the flood of Obama-shirted, flag-waving, iPod-wearing runners came, trying to trudge uptown, trying to will themselves further on. (Eight more miles! Come on!)

It was our time to get their spirits up. The full squad came out in full swing -- doing mounts, pod stunts, basket tosses and loud cheers -- as it lifted the spirits up of many participants. They often stopped by to take a picture, smiled or nodded but proceeded on; many were just grateful to have their name shouted out by strangers, who spotted their names on their bibs.
"Go, Paul!" "Go, Kate!" "Yeah, Tom!"

We were all on a first-name basis by then. -Raymund

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