Guinea Pig To Run New York City Marathon 2010

admin | May 10, 2010 in Endurance,NYC Marathon 2010,Running | Comments (6)

I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower complete the New York City Marathon.  Numerous hulking ballerinas and “Larry the Lighthouse” have all crossed the finish line.  More Elvises – (El-VI?) – than I can count.

And they’re adding a guinea pig to this year’s mix.

That would be me.  On November 7, 2010, I will run the New York City Marathon for the third time; when it’s done, it’ll be my sixth marathon.  I’ll run it for many reasons, most of them the kind that make your heart race, pump, or break.

"Larry the Lighthouse" guides the way in New York City in 2008.

It comes with the territory; as an athlete, I am physically stronger because I train to be.  As a charity runner, I am touched by those that courageously fight a disease seeking to tear folks apart.  My heart races with the inspiration of those that have touched it, pumps with enthusiasm from those that enrich it, and breaks with the knowledge that this disease exists to be fought.

As to the “guinea pig,” I’m training to set a personal marathon record…and Coach Kevin Leathers is setting the bar.  He wants to make me an example of his coaching expertise for the rest of our team.  Throw the spotlight on me, start the clock, and see what I can do.

See, I can’t really say I’ve run a marathon for TIME in fifteen years.  My first two, in ’95 and ‘96, those were just “I’m gonna go do this” finishing goals.  Since the formation of the Team McGraw program in 2007, my focus has been much more on our mission to support brain tumor research through the Tug McGraw Foundation and helping our runners achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

Never my performance, my time, my finish.

With camera locked and loaded, I draw and shoot Julie Hamill (left) and Jen and Glen McDevitt crusing right along!

Now, I’m always out there.  I’m training, and I do many of our team events.  I’m not gonna participate in a program like this and talk my way around doing the work that our folks do.  But on race day, I’m out there for them: the runners; the volunteers; those in their battles against brain tumors, brain trauma, and other debilitating diseases; the family and friends supporting all of us in our efforts; and those held in our memories along the way.

My time?  Whatever.

Case in point: the first Team McGraw marathon was New York City in ‘07.  My training was sufficient, but not especially hardy.  I was out there to have fun, hang with the runners, grind out my race and practice what I preached: run smart, be patient, pace yourself.

NYC 2007: "You put your right foot in, you pull your right foot out..."

And I’m not only a runner on race day.  I’ve got a runner’s hat, a cheerleader’s hat, a photographer’s hat, and sometimes, (though it is small by comparison,) a coach’s hat.  (Coach Kevin wears the big one…as well he should.)  I’m pluggin’ along, yucking it up with stragglers, snappin’ photos, and making sure that I end the day better friends with some of my folks than when I started.

Alright, alright…yeah, I sit in with some of the bands along the race course, too; it’s just the musician in me that fights his way out in between mile markers!

After a challenging half marathon only a few months earlier, Debbie Persaud finishes stronger than ever in NYC 2008.

Everybody finished that first year; the same in 2008.  That second year, I intentionally started all the way at the back.  Not one of the other 50,000 runners were behind me, which guaranteed I would run past half of our team.  That was what I wanted – to spend a little time on the course with as many of our folks as possible.

That’s a hard way to go.  Lots of weaving around slower runners, congestion, tighter crowds.  There’s a reason you should put an accurate time down on your registration form and accept your starting placement with runners at your training level.  I won’t do that again, at least not in New York, but it was a nice way to share the day with so many of our people.

New York City 2009, I didn’t run.  I had planned to, but at the last minute, Coach Kevin and I figured I’d be of better use on the sidelines.  He was right.  Early in the race, we were both on hand with smiles, cameras, and backpacks full of “Attaboys!” and “Go get ‘em, girls!”

Kristen Hallock-Waters is undeterred as we talk nutrition at a pivotal point in the 2009 NYC Marathon.

Later on, when things got hairy, we were there with the needed advice, water, nutrition gels, bandages, stretching suggestions and massage assistance for cramped hamstrings when it was…kneaded.

(Ugh.  I know.  Bad one.)

For the third year in a row, everybody finished.  Awesome.  I loved being on the sidelines; still, our friends that run the New York City Marathon want me on the course this November, and I want to be running alongside my team as well.

Team McGraw: (Left) Coach Kevin Leathers, Inspiration Expert Jen McDevitt, and yours truly.

So Coach Kevin will put me to the test.  I’m his guinea pig – the one he plans to mold, needle, poke, prod and push into the fastest marathon I’ve run.  Ever.


(For more about my New York City Marathon 2010 campaign and to make a donation in support of quality of life research for those with brain tumors, brain trauma, and other debilitating cognitive conditions, please click here for my donation page.)

6 Responses to “Guinea Pig To Run New York City Marathon 2010”

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  1. Comment by Christine — May 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm  

    Yes, Coach Kevin has set the bar high for you this year for the NYC Marathon. But I know you’ll make it your fastest time for three reasons.
    1.) You’re physically training hard while on the road. 2.) You’re highly motivated with a positve, mental attitude. 3.) You’ve got a lot of people who are supporting your efforts, and cheering for you all the way to the finish line! (Team McGraw teammates, friends etc!)

    But please, Jeff… don’t call yourself a guinea pig… why not a Hare?!
    Sounds so much sharper! Ha!

    Ya Gotta Believe!


  2. Comment by SharonMay 11, 2010 at 9:00 am  

    I am so excited and honored to be able to be a part of Team McGraw this year. Best of luck with reaching your Personal Record!

  3. Comment by Jeanne Hogan — May 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm  

    Hey Jeff… love reading your blogs. It’s awesome, and makes me feel lazy…but a good thing, makes me want to get off my butt and start doing SOMETHING to help others. Thanks for all you do for TMF and for me, just a person out there that looks up to you and all you stand for!! I started out trying to help out an “old” classmate, Jeannie, and in the end, an eye-opener. It’s about all that we can do to help….thanks! xoxo YGB~ Jeanne

  4. Comment by Kimmy T — May 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm  

    Hey Jeff, Lisa and I will be armed w/ our cameras & some “pellets” for you on the sidelines lol. take care, run strong, play hard, enjoy…ygb !!!

  5. Comment by Kristen Hallock-Waters — May 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm  

    While it will be difficult to be on the sidelines this year, I plan to be there sporting Team McGraw red, cheering you on, snapping pictures, and will even hand you one Sport Bean at a time if you need me to. You’ll do awesome…as always. Looking forward to celebrating your personal best!

  6. Comment by Timposter Drops Costume and Runs For Real « Road Dog RunnerMay 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    […] I love that I used doppelganger.  I crack myself up.  Lee prefers tribute artist; more often than not, I’ve come to refer to him instead as our team Timposter. (Rhymes with imposter.) Yep…after a few months of training and quiet deliberation, he’s signed up and ready to run the New York City Marathon with me and the rest of Team McGraw! […]

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