Gábor Gamplett about New York City Marathon

„Once upon a time and somewhere over the rainbow... there was a story when Hurrican Sandy hit hard and took away the dreams of thousands of the New York City Marathoners in 2012. That was the year when I wanted to run my first NYC Marathon. Exactly a year on everything became much clearer and I finally completed a wonderful race and I ran with my heart."

I was at the check in desk at the airport in Budapest when the flight attendant kindly informed us that our plane was cancelled but if we wish to pay first class tickets, she could get us into another flight...in two days time. I was hectic, desperate and then I was thinking about giving up...How could that be possible that my dream will not be fulfilled, why can't I go to the New York City marathon?

There was an answer...of course.

In 2012 the first time ever since its establishment in 1970 the New York City Marathon was cancelled due to the devastation of Hurrican Sandy... All my dreams were fading...The hard training I put in, the focus I held...was almost gone.

But life does not stop for a second, and there is always a new beginning after every end...

At the end of October 2013 we were – again - standing at the same place at the airport, and I knew this time I will complete what I set out to do. When we touched down at JFK airport in NYC a cold and rainy weather greeted us but we were there...we finally arrived to the magical New York City.

1 day till R(unning) day:

I have met my fellow flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony in Central Park. We were so happy to see each other, and on top of it we were among the best runners and pro athlets getting ready for the race on Sunday. Even then I could not comprehend the magic I was be facing...

In 2013 I was the Official Flagbearer and I was a proud Hungarian. After the ceremony we have received an open invitation from our fellow Hungarian runner Daniel Varga to get to a pasta – rather a pancake – party in Manhatten. Everybody was there....and when Team Heart member and founder, fellow runner Andrea Snow has said then: „These wonderful memories will be the unbilical cord between us forever." She was right...

D Day: The Day of the marathon:

We humans are very rare species. When we should sleep we are awake, but when we shall be up at dawn then we could just snooze in for some more... Same thing happened with me on the day of the race. I woke at 3:00 am sharp and could not go back to sleep at all till I needed to head off to catch a ferry to take me to the starting line at Staten Island...Runners had plenty of security following while on the ferry and also 12,000 cops and volunteerer were looking after us during the entire race. Thanks to New York for keeping us safe.

Let's get back to the starting line now. I was assigned to the first wave (due to my previously completed marathons – I could start from right at the front) - although when I heard the starting gun it still took me more than four minutes to cross the starting line and all the way I heard frank Sinatra's beautiful voice: „It's up to you, New York, Neeeeew Yoooooork..."

After a few meters we have reached the Verrrazano - Narrows Bridge where the legendary stories say, many runners – for luck or for need – start urinating on the top of the bridge, so it is not so good running below, and even worse if there is a strong wind...Although there are a few security guards threatening the runners not to stop for a pee otherwise they will be disqualified – there were plenty, who just did not keep it in...

When coming off the first bridge in Brooklyn I was faced with thousands of spectators and this crowd did not fade all the way the entire race course. More than two millions of people were out on the streets and helped us running the best way we can during the race. 130 bands were playing music, I heard my names yelled at me continuously, kind people were giving us hopes and the beautiful sound of a wonderful rhythm. I loved it, the feeling was magnificient. I was happy to be one of the 50,000 runners, and it did not matter what color of my skin was, who am I, what religion do I have, everyone received the same greetings, everyone was equally special...

This was the most important part of the race for me, I was proud of just being there. Of course I had completed the race – no need to question that – and the famous finisher photo was also taken of me and I hold my breath since then every time I face that photo – but the feeling that I did it, I ran the 42,2 K, I conquered myself, I left my fatigue behind, I had no despair and no time mattered, I was IN. I won this race – it is a mindblowingly beautiful feeling...

I did not ran my best time, I finished at 3:09 but I was happy. I became 1, 419th from the 50,134 runners and 145th of my age group.

New York City Marathon, I love you just the way you are...

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