Today, it’s easier than ever to watch a sporting event on TV. But despite that, the allure of being at a stadium or on the sidelines of an event to watch the action unfold live still very much exists. What is it that keeps bringing us back? Is it the atmosphere? Is it the people? Is it the food? Maybe it’s all of these things, and a few more that can’t quite be put into words. The Players’ Tribune wanted to get a closer look at the people surrounding sporting events that serve a vital role in creating the experience.
This is ‘From Where I See It,’ and for our second entry, we went behind the scenes of the 45th annual New York City Marathon and traveled throughout the city to get stories from the people working, watching and, of course, running the race.
Deputy Chief Charles Scholl, Patrol Borough Brooklyn South | 36 New York City Marathons
“I’ve been with the NYPD for 36 years and I’ve seen every race since I was a rookie. And as I get promoted, I get a better perspective of it. We usually see the elite runners pass and then we get to a television to see them finish.
Canceling the marathon after Hurricane Sandy, that was a big decision. We thought they were going go ahead with the race, but we just had so much else going on. We had police officers that lost their lives and the loss of life throughout the city. It was a real tough call, but it was the right call at the time. We missed it, and it was hard for the people who came from all over the globe not to run. But the race returned, and we bounced back.”
Alan Dumain, Spectator | 45 New York City Marathons
“Our daughter is running her third New York City Marathon. She’s run New York, Boston, Philadelphia. Boston was very emotional, she wasn’t there for the bombing, but she ran the year after. She ran New York last year in 3:26. She’s looking to do 3:20 and she’s on that pace now. We watched her at Mile 8 and then we’ll watch her at the finish line.
Once she passes by, we jump in the subway, and then see her at the finish line. I’d like to one year figure out how to see her coming across the Queensboro Bridge, but the timing’s too tight. We used to live in the city and watch on the Upper East Side in the 1970s, cheering for whomever. That’s the beauty of New York.”
Earnestine Bridges, Harlem Resident | 15 New York City Marathons
“I don’t stay out all day anymore like I did. I’ll get up early to see the first runners and then come back out. It’s exciting to see people from all over the world come to the city. It motivates me to do more exercising. I like walking — my doctor says I shouldn’t do anything too strenuous. No running, although I wish I could.”
Maria Alonso, Runner | First New York City Marathon
“I just traveled here with my three sisters from Spain. It was my sister’s 50th birthday, so this was a present for her, and we decided to come and run it, too. We ran the half marathon in Madrid twice, but this is my first marathon. New York is the best marathon in the world. People love it so much. And now I think we’ll have to come back!”
Kai Koenig, Volunteer | First New York City Marathon
“This is my first time helping out. I wear gloves so my hands don’t get wet. I was like, ‘Oh! This is going to be tiring for my arms!’ But that’s why I have two hands. My favorite part is giving out water and them pouring it on their heads.”
Jaqueline Kaddatz, Volunteer/Runner | Second New York City Marathon
“I’d always wanted to run the marathon, but didn’t get into running until I was 53, so I’m a late bloomer. I started with 5K’s and would see marathoners and never thought I could do it. But you take it step by step.
So I ran it last year, and now I’m back as a volunteer and I know exactly what they’re going through — and I’m a little jealous! Going through Staten Island, the silence of coming off the Queensboro Bridge. The minute you get into Brooklyn and see all those people, it’s the closest you get to feeling like a rock star. And I decided anyone who called my name, I’d give them a high-five or at least wave, so I was very slow. It was one of the best days of my life.”
Chiarina Budhram, Brooklyn Resident | 45 New York City Marathons
“I’ve watched all of them. I’m from Court Street and my brother-in-law ran it about 32 years ago and we all came up and watched it. I made T-shirts. I watch it every year. Rain, snow — I watch it. One year it was so windy, but I loved it.
It’s like a big block party. The biggest in the world. Years ago, they used to have jugglers and all kinds of costumes. I try and stay and watch the whole thing. Once the big runners go by, a lot of people leave, but to me, they’re all winners. If it takes you two hours, if it takes you six hours, I salute you.”
Darryn Ross, Runner | First New York City Marathon
“I’ve always done halves, never a full, so this was just the next step. And a lot of my mates are runners and said, if you’re gonna do one, it has to be New York. I ended up rolling my ankle two weeks ago and ran on it today. I wasn’t going to miss it. So this is just a flare up from putting 26.2 miles on it. It was brutally painful, but it was absolutely worth it. And I’ve already qualified for next year, so I’ll 100 percent be back.”
Don Williams (R), Harlem Resident | 15 New York City Marathons
“My wife and I have been in Harlem for the last 15 years, so I’ve been watching since then. Harlem really celebrates the marathon. It’s one of the highlights of the year. My wife knows a young lady running and, actually, we’re trying to find her on the app. We smoke a salmon and then we have some healthy food, for a healthy day.”
Ted Finley (L), Harlem Resident | Second New York City Marathon
“This is my second time watching. It’s just an accomplishment for them to be out there running.”
Mike Moran, Runner | Fourth New York City Marathon (31st marathon ran)
“I actually ran the Long Island Marathon in 1983 on a dare from my college buddies. Swore I would never do it again, eventually got married and had kids. They’d always see a photo from that race and ask about it and want me to run another. So in 2000, I ran Detroit in just over four hours and said, never again. But the next spring, I thought, what if I try to get under four hours? So I did Detroit and broke four hours and said, never again. But my youngest, Patrick, when he was about eight years old, told his Little League coach, ‘My dad runs marathons.’ So I had to at least do one more, because that’s how my son sees me. And I’ve been doing them ever since.
Patrick’s 22 now, and he calls me before every race and says, ‘Dad, you don’t have to do it for me anymore. It’s OK.’ I’ve run 30 marathons since 2000 — four times in New York. Yeah, it’s psychotic.”
Jayne Neal, New York Resident | First New York City Marathon
“My daughter is the lead singer for one of the bands playing, and I wanted to see a New York City Marathon — so I’m thrilled to death. She got to sing and I got to see the race. We’re from Washington, D.C., but she’s been living here and she moved me up here after my husband died. It’ll probably be a tradition. I’ve got my little chair and a great spot to listen to music.”