By Eddie Castro
Being raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, one of my favorite memories as a kid was waking up on the first Sunday in November and awaiting the courageous runners who took part in the New York City Marathon. I remember gathering a roll of cups with my friends and filling them with water as I handed them to the participants as they ran through Classon Avenue. I would then run a few blocks to keep up with some of the runners and then when I hit Nostrand Avenue, I realized I couldn’t complete a few blocks, let alone a few boroughs. Nevertheless, it reminded me of the enjoyment I had helping the men and women to stay hydrated, and not to mention to myself that yes, Christmas is upon us.
One athlete reminded me of my younger years and me wanting to run with the other racers. How many people can say they not only participated at the NYC Marathon, but that they won it all at age 20? Yes, that’s exactly what happened this past Sunday as Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the youngest male champion ever to win the event. He (Ghebreslassie) completed the five-borough race clocking in at 2 hours, 7 minutes and 51 seconds, making him the third-fastest runner in the marathon’s 46-year existence. Ghebreslassie made more history becoming the first runner to come from Eritrea to win the race, a statistic that he said he is “very proud” to have accomplished.
On the woman’s side, a familiar face was yet again crowned as Kenya’s Mary Keitany, 34, added another first-place finish, which is now her third consecutive victory at the marathon. She clocked in at 2 hours, 24 minutes and 26 seconds.
If there’s anything we learned from this year’s NYC Marathon it’s that no matter how young you are, if you work hard anything is possible. If you stay hungry, you can win any event more than once. Overall, it was a great time to be a New Yorker.