The New York City Marathon took place on November 6th. It is a massive event that was established in 1970 and is always held on the first Sunday of November. It has only been canceled twice – in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy, when many runners traveled to Staten Island and Brooklyn to support recovery efforts, and in 2020 due to COVID. In 2021, the pandemic precautions limited the number of competitors to 33,000, but this year 50,000 racers were expected. The marathon grew from 100 spectators watching 127 competitors in 1970 to the largest marathon in the world, with around 2 million spectators lining the course and millions watching it over ESPN broadcasting and online streaming as well.
The route extends from Staten Island through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, ending its 26.2 miles at Central Park. The original route was actually entirely held in Central Park, but in 1976, as part of the U.S. Bicentennial, a course change was proposed to encompass all five boroughs.
I am not a runner but I can only imagine how thirsty I would be if I had to run for hours. Worry not – over 10,000 volunteers are there to support the runners, and it is estimated that 62,000 gallons of water and 32,000 gallons of Gatorade are dispensed during the day. Luckily, runners also had access to 1,900 toilets from start to finish.
It cost the runners $1 to enter the first New York City Marathon (it cost around $300 to be organized). As expected, the impressive growth of the marathon also translated into more expensive entry fees. For 2022, the cheapest entry cost $255 for New York Road Runners members.
Due to high demand to run the NYC marathon, many applicants do not actually get to participate. The New York City Marathon, similar to other big races around the world, has adopted a lottery application process, where the odds to get in are around 16 to 18%. Selected charities commit to guaranteed entries as long as they agree to raise a specified minimum set by the organizers.
I am such a fan of marathon runners, so I decided to interview my fellow Langone student, dear friend, and Excel wiz, Kelly Rupinski, the week before the marathon to learn a little bit about her journey and involvement with the nonprofit she supports.
Kelly, thank you so much for being my first featured guest for The Oppy! What motivated you to start running?
I started running when I was in college, I would say the end of sophomore year. I was under a lot of pressure and figured this was a great alternative for stress relief, it felt very therapeutic and I got into it!
What motivated you to take it to the next level and run a marathon?
Running is really boring without a goal. For me, running up to 3 miles aimlessly is fine, but more than that would feel like too much. I am very goal-oriented so I wanted to set specific targets. At that time, I was running with friends and coworkers and they introduced me to a runners club. I trained with them for a 10k race (6.2 miles) and evolved from there. Next I did a half marathon in Jersey City.
I realized the work is entirely mental and saw how capable I was. In 2019, I got the opportunity to run the New York City Marathon when I was at my previous job, where we received an email advertising the Expect Miracles Foundation and they had an extra spot. I was looking for a way to get involved with this foundation so I thought “why not?”. I just signed up for the marathon and did not even tell anyone about it!
I was very drawn to this specific foundation as it represents a cause that is very near to my heart. Expect Miracles Foundation rallies the financial services industry and beyond to invest in life-saving cancer research while advancing the financial and emotional health of people impacted by cancer. My Aunt Eileen, like many young adults, was juggling a growing family and career when first diagnosed with cancer. As testing as times were, it never struck down her resilience. She was an inspiration to many and undoubtedly I would not be the person I am today without her. I am very proud to fundraise once again for cancer research and grant funding.
What is your favorite part of the NYC Marathon course?
I don’t have a particular favorite part. I love the energy of the city throughout the course. I get a major adrenaline rush through it all. It is very special to see the city from different perspectives than you normally would – how often do we get to run around closed off bridges? The bridges are definitely a beautiful part of the course but also a very painful part of the race – the beauty of the surroundings are a bit overtaken by the struggle. Crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan offers incredible views. I remember that my legs were too numb to take in the view, so I made sure to snap a few selfies to enjoy later!
How do you prepare for this type of event?
I can get very anxious so I just try to keep myself busy with school and work.
What do you listen to while running?
I need some music to pump me up, mostly hip hop and EDM. My playlist goes anywhere from Jay-Z to Alesso and anything in between.
What is your favorite meal after a race?
After running for so many hours I become a ravenous monster and my go to is a turkey burger with fries.
Thank you, Kelly! I hope your burger tastes amazing!