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There are few races that inspire more respect and downright intimidation than the ING New York City Marathon. It’s 26.2 miles, through five city boroughs, with over 40,000 other running diehards. The streets are lined with close to 2 million cheering spectators and there are more port-a-potties than I feel comfortable discussing.

Living on the Upper West Side a block and a half from Central Park, we are in an ideal location for watching the marathoners cross the finish line. During the 2010 Marathon we watched Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 NYC Marathon winner, race down through the Park’s streets, as hundreds of spectators crowded the fence to get a glimpse of the famous U.S. marathoner.

And, although I admittedly get giddy when I see any type of celebrity – sports related or otherwise – my enthusiasm in this race is primarily reserved for the thousands of runners that are just every day people. Training for a marathon is all about committment – to your routine, to your diet, to getting up early and saying “no” to late nights. It’s seeing your friends and family less and knowingly facing many days of soreness and exhaustion.

One of my nearest and dearest ran the race last year and, at mile 23, she was still all smiles. I have yet to take on the 26.2 mile challenge. I have already decided, though, if I am crazy enough to ever run one…I am doing New York.

Enjoy a few photos from last year’s race and good luck to this year’s runners! See you in the city, friends!

Coming around the bend, towards Central Park!

Our meeting locale.

Post-race celebrations!