NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
Day before NYC Marathon 2001
The real heroes at Engine 54 – Ladder 4
November 4, 2001
What an experience…
There was a hundred percent chance of a terror attack that week and I was running in the New York City marathon. I was scared.
To get to the start of the race you had to go through security check points. When the bus went by ground zero, you could hear a pin drop and runners were teary eyed. Then finally to Staten Island, where you could sense a special bond between the runners. This race was different. It meant a lot more.
Mayor Giuliani’s speech gave me goose bumps. He said that he was proud of us for being brave and not letting terrorists keep us home.
Then the gun went off. As I crossed the Varrazona narrow bridge, I could see the statue of Liberty as I was flipping my pancake, and it was beautiful. The spectators knew that I was coming. My frying pan was painted with the Statue of Liberty and my pancake had an American flag on it. Running through all five boroughs was like running around the world. Coming through Central Park I did some of my 30 ft. high flips and some behind the back trick flips. The crowd was loud and you could always tell there was a firefighter or police officer by the cheers.
At the finish I was hurting. I told myself that it was worth it and I could accept this being my last marathon. The medal they put around me was priceless. Then I took the subway back down Manhattan and limped into a local pub. Everyone greeted me like a hero and I ordered a Guinness and watched football on TV
I said to myself, “This is like one big family and I don’t even know anybody.”
That’s what America is all about – coming together.