A Race of Heroes, Large and Small
NEW YORK (AP) _ They weren’t internationally known runners, supermodels or comedians. They had no TV interviews or trips to the winners’ podium. And by the time they crossed the finish line, the crowds had thinned out.
So it went Sunday for the thousands of determined but out-of-contention New York City Marathon runners who plodded through the 26-mile, 385-yard course in record-tying cold temperatures.
For these runners _ the office workers, the students, the neighbors _ the thrill was not crossing the finish line first but simply finishing.
``It’s like an ultimate goal,″ said Susan Huizenga, 23, a Boston native who finished the race in three hours and 50 minutes, nearly an hour and a half after the first woman hit the tape.
Happy but limping, she added, ``I never want to run again right now.″
German Silva, a 27-year-old Mexican man paying tribute to his late father, won the marathon in two hours, 11 minutes. Tegla Loroupe, a 22-year-old Kenyan woman running in memory of her late sister, won the women’s division in two hours and 28 minutes. Both finished first for the second consecutive year.
Winds gusted to as much as 60 mph during the race. The starting temperature was 40 degrees, matching the previous low set in 1981 and equaled in 1989 and 1992. The wind chill was 18 degrees.
As in the past, this year’s marathon attracted elite international athletes like Silva and Loroupe and celebrities including supermodel Veronica Webb, actress Sandy Duncan and comedian James Flaherty. But the vast majority of the nearly 28,000 participants were anonymous runners like Christina Coppotelli.
The 21-year-old Tulane University student struggled during stretches in Queens and Harlem. But after hearing the sound of the crowds around Central Park, she said, ``I didn’t feel any pain.″
Ms. Coppotelli finished her first marathon in three hours and 20 minutes.
``I wanted to do it as a feeling of accomplishment, something others don’t do,″ she said.