When the first wave of runners left their corral at this year’s ING NYC Marathon
, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played over the loud speakers, sending 15,000 people (the first of a total of 45,000) over the Verrazano Bridge, off to complete one of the most challenging marathons in North America.
For some people marathons are bucket list items, one of those Must-Do-But-Will-I-Ever feats that require a gargantuan amount of will and focus to undertake. And that’s just qualifying for the race. On November 6th, as Frankie Blue Eyes crooned and the world watched wave after wave of determined runners make their way through the big apple, SPEAR sent our own team of volunteers to witness (and help treat) the blood, sweat, and tears first hand.
Waiting at the finish line, volunteers from all four of our locations lent their expertise and encouragement to battle-scarred runners at the medical tent directed by Dr. Stewart Weiss.
Jaclyn Fehrenback, Raymond Delacruz, Helmi Hunin, Vitaly Dvoskin, Kelly Althaus, Sarah Tabia, Jesse Cullen-Dupont, and Aziza Abiodun treated injuries that ran the gamut between blisters, cramping, dehydration, muscle pulls and strains. Kelly Althaus, physical therapist and assistant director of our 56th street location said she couldn’t wait to give back and contribute this year. Having volunteered last year, Kelly considered running this time around but found herself more enthusiastic about being inside the tent. “It was a really rewarding experience,” Kelly said a few days after the marathon, “a few of our patients ran it and it was just such a great feeling helping people who were so grateful.”
Raymond Delacruz, a physical therapist at our 84th street location
, relished the opportunity to meet runners from across the globe. “I loved learning about the different causes that people run the marathon for. Also, despite all the language differences, as a therapist treating these runners you really got a sense of how similar everyone is, how much we have in common.” Raymond remembers treating one patient in particular who ran the marathon for his sons in Mexico. “I wish I knew more languages,” Raymond said, “I would have loved to talk to all the participants and learned what inspired them to run.”
Inspiration came in all shapes and sizes to our therapists that day. Sarah Tabia, a physical therapist at our 56th street location, was most struck by a 70 year-old Japanese man running his 21st marathon. “It was his first time running in New York and he had such a wonderful personality and a great attitude despite the fact that I was treating him for foot blisters and muscle cramping. He seemed to be in amazing shape and was such an inspiration to me.” An avid runner herself, Sarah was so inspired by the event and the runners she treated that she decided to run the marathon next year!
Vitaly Dvoskin, physical therapist and program director of our Madison Avenue location marveled at the dedication and tenacity of every single runner he treated. “It was really surprising. Despite being bruised and battered every single one of them was so happy. None of them regretted a thing.” And for good reason. These runners had just completed one of the toughest marathons in the country, cheered on by the warmest hearts in the biggest city in the world.
Many congratulations to everyone who who ran this year’s marathon and a big thank you to our inspired volunteers, who found you all so inspiring.