EJ Autism Foundation In The News:

Gangs Of New York : Elites, rabbis, firefighters. The New York City Marathon attracts runners of all kinds, and we've got the photos and audio recordings to prove it

By Ian Chillag

The Track Clubs
The fastest man in the annual competition between local running clubs in the New York City Marathon isn't even all that local. Patrick Gildea, a Long Island native with a 28:38 10k to his name, now calls Tennessee home. Is there a ringer in the ranks of the New York Athletic Club? "I wouldn't say that," Gildea says. "I'm proud when I put on my uniform and it says New York AC on it, just because it's from where I'm from."

There's a lot of pride on the line, and in a sport that's largely individual, a little rivalry can be a big motivator. Barbara Brittan, of the Taconic Masters, sums it up this way: "We all know what everyone else's team uniforms look like."

Nobody's throwing elbows, though. The contest between the local track clubs stays friendly. "On marathon day," says Bea Huste-Petersen of the Warren Street Track Club, "any fellow New Yorker is a teammate."

The Survivors
It was November 6th 2005. There Matthew Farver was, sitting in chemotherapy at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Outside his window, thousands of exhausted runners walked by, their foil capes shimmering in the afternoon sun. The contrast between where he was and where they were had a profound effect on him. "I made it a goal," he says. "If you can survive cancer, you can run a marathon-or do anything that there is to do in this world." Farver would finish the 2006 New York City Marathon in 3:02, no doubt finally getting himself a silver foil cape of his own.

Farver's fellow survivor Lori Esposito had just been diagnosed with cancer the day of last year's New York City Marathon. It was one of the worst days of her life, and she signed up for this year's marathon to try and reclaim the day for something good. When the going gets tough, she'll reach within and remind herself that she's been through worse. "I'm really going to draw on my experiences with cancer. Once you've been through those experiences...a blister at mile 22? Not so bad." Esposito would finish in 4:07. What a difference a year makes.

Runner's World
December 2006

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