Yesterday the NY Marathon took the Big Apple by storm. The women's race saw a heroic figure and favored winner fight a horrible leg injury and still cross the finish line, the men's race saw a great upset with the USA taking the win for the first time in ages, and I got to cheer on my very dear friend in his 6th race (despite the fact that while fighting the crowds to get to the finish line I didn't actually SEE him cross the end - but I was there in spirit!) What I did witness took me by surprise. I finally fought for a spot in the park, slightly elevated, at the 26 mile marker; from where I stood, I saw runner after runner pass the point where they knew they would make it - 400 meters to go? That was do-able.
While the athletes I cheered on were complete strangers, in a matter of minutes I began to identify with them, marvel at them, and finally admire every single one of them for their endurance and strength. It struck me that they were all participating in the same event, running those same steps, accomplishing the very same task, and yet every single one of them had a different story which brought them to that 26th mile. They each were climbing an enormous mountain of their own: some running to beat their personal record, others running to simply cross the finish line for the first time, some running for a cause, others running for a single person as a memorial, some running for "Italy", others for "France", and I stood by in complete and total amazement at the physical, mental and emotional journey they all were making.
Some 40,000 runners made the journey yesterday, and I thank each one of them for the inspiration they provided to me, and hopefully to others as well. How I LOVED taking part in a day where excellence and tenacity were on such vivid display, as well as watching people from every nation on earth (or so it seemed) were united in perfect harmony - all striving for the same thing, completely regardless of race, creed, sex, you-name-it, and they all were crossing the same hurdles and triumphing equally, and supporting each other with each step they took. Oh wow - it IS possible.
And of course, as usual, there was the perfect example of harmony and peace right in front of my eyes:
Yeah, it's all pretty simple, in the end.
And while I am not at all convinced that I could run a mile, much less 26.2 of them, I did hike my own personal mountain in recording my latest Rossini Disc (sorry - here comes another plug!) and I will be SIGNING the discs Tuesday at the Met Opera Shop. Please come on out and wear out my arm!!