After two years of preparing and telling everyone that I was going to run in the 2009 New York City Marathon, qualified by completed all the preparatory qualifying races and volunteerism necessary to be guaranteed as an entrant then; could not enter for several reasons.

Though not competing, but love the excitement of the event, decided to volunteer again, first spot was at the "EXPO," at the Javits Conference Center, for one of the days the runners pick up their bib number and are hosted by a myriad of sponsors related to the sport industry. and also volunteer for the 3rd year to assist at Start Village on Staten Island, where all the runners queue up and are served hot tea and coffee, bagels, “Power Bars” and “Gatorade and Solar blankets to keep warm.”

While at the SOLUTION DESK, at the EXPO, observed a handsome Spanish gentlemen, standing with his wife, he was clearly fit for the race, well groomed, dressed in shorts, waiting for assistance with his marathon entry. I looked down and he had no legs, was wearing two titanium legs, hinges for knees. carbonite feet that had running shoes on them!

It's impossible to ignore the inspiration, enthusiasm, camaraderie and healthy buzz when you are around runners who come from all over the world to compete or participate.

When the Marathon morning came had to be up around 2 am, to be on the East side of midtown at 3:15 am, to catch the bus to be taken to Staten Island, late start, transportation troubles, missed the bus. Then I walked to the West side of Central Park to the finish line to seek out a volunteer coordinator for reassignment.

Was disappointed, but decided to find another job, and was told the volunteers for Central Park Marshaling et al, weren’t expected for another 2 hours it was raining softly, and it was warm, but decided to let the marathon take care of itself this year my feet were very sore, thought had sacrificed what I had left in me and spent the last of my money too.

I hit my own wall.

An effort to advance a career in the worst of all potential market economies in a world financial capital requires all the persistence, determination, drive and commitment it takes to run a 26.2 mile race.
With this ever present on my mind, out of work since July, with two horrible years of business in a commercial mortgage profession that got worse and worse and finally virtually failed altogether because of the economic downturn and banking debacle, I thought maybe it would be best to go home and work on my career.

Going home was another challenge with early Sunday morning long waits all kinds of missed transportation connections and wrong turns.

I allowed myself, for a moment, to feel that I was a loser. So far failed in an effort to launch a new career, missed my chance of being in the Marathon, and out of cash.

Since August of this year, I stood on Wall Street and Broadway for 12 weeks, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, with a poster saying “HIRE ME! (See the attachment.)

I held the belief, with all my heart FATHER will send the exact right someone who would see me standing on the corner, see the innovative method and desire for a career change and hire me, and this is the vision I still hold in my imagination.

Running, especially long distance running, which many find to be an addiction, is a challenge much like boxing or collegiate wrestling, it's just you and the other guy, except in running; IT'S JUST YOU! Starting or building a business, or a new career, is no different.


Then I heard that clear small voice, that reminded me that to be in competition with myself for a career in New York City, has been the REAL marathon. In business, just like the winners and anyone who finishes the Marathon, you have to believe in yourself, KNOW that you can do it, and see yourself as a finisher.

In the financial capital of the world where everyone is reaching for the top of their profession and game, with nothing left, feeling defeated, thoughts of taking a train to Rochester to the home of my kids, work out a payment arrangement with my land lady, find a way to bring a truck back and pick up my things and move home to Rochester. But, would still be faced with the same problem and have to start over again and still secure a career.

Suddenly I was awakened to the realization that I must keep going. Remembered at the toughest point, the finish line is just around the corner; remembered this is a real test of my spirit, commitment and against all the apparent negative odds; then it struck me, and refocused and remembered; NEVER QUIT!

I couldn't help but think of all the other categories of entrants, like the oldest runner this year who is 88, and all the ladies and men older than I in their late 60's and 70's who are running 8 and 10 minute miles. The people who are here to cheer on their family and friends, and the entrants who are disabled for all types of reasons, some blind, some with no legs, some with Downs Syndrome, or Ceribral Palsy, and the inspiration of the volunteers, of the ACHILLES CLUB, who run with them,.


This year was one of the most exciting and inspiring of all, from home watched the coverage of the marathon and felt tears well up as as Ethiopian Derartu Tulu won her first New York City marathon pulling away from Russia’s Ludmila Petrova in the last mile to finish in two hours 28 minutes 52 seconds. France’s Christelle Daunay was third while race favourite and world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, endured but fell back finished fourth.

Meb Keflezighi, 34, won with a time of two hours, nine minutes and 15 seconds after pulling away from Kenyan Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot in the last few miles. Third place went to Moroccan Jaouad Gharib.
Meb Keflezighi First American winner in 27 years, after grueling recovery from stress fractures that had him crawling just to make it to the bathroom, after which made a come-back after he had to undergo therapy 8 hours a day, every day, then the long road back to fitness for this race.

As a relatively new resident, of New York City, and fan, I am truly inspired by being witness to several World class events that unfold in this city.

Was a volunteer participant for the Saturday, November 3, 2007, the November 2008 and was a witness and volunteer for the Olympic Marathon Trials, in Central Park, and the November 4, 2007, NYC Marathon, through the 5 boroughs.

At the Olympic trials, had the honor of being a crossing guard at the 25 mile mark, where we saw Ryan Hall, pass in record time to win, and who represented, along with Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell, the United States in the marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Ryan Hall won Saturday's Olympic marathon qualifier in New York City with a time of two hours, nine minutes and two seconds, while Ritzenheim followed at 2:11:07. Sell was next with a time of 2:11:40, just over a minute ahead of Khalid Khannouchi.

The event, however, was marred by tragedy, as 28 years old champion runner, Ryan Shay collapsed twenty-five and one half miles into the race and died only 50 yards from where we were standing.
One of the most inspirational moments, came with the honor of a chat with Sister Madonna Buder, a nun from Spokane, who started running at the age of 52, and has since run 25 marathons and numerous Iron Man competitions the latest in Hawaii, this past summer. Told her I planned to run in the next NYC Marathon, she sternly coached: “You better start practicing tomorrow!”

Hundreds of volunteers help for the NYC Marathon to assist the success of our city as a host. Some volunteers meet on 89th street near the park to be bused to Staten Island staging area and where we assisted the athletes by passing out bagels, tea, water, a river of Gatorade, Power Bars, Dunkin Donuts served coffee, and all attended to the needs of the pre-dawn vivacious and cheerful crowd, numbering approximately 45,000.

Then as the race is about to start, meet with one of the volunteer team leaders and move into position at the Grand Stand and stood blissfully enthralled and cheered right in front of the starting gate.
Privileged, to stand astride the Start Line, meet and chat with Beth Moras, a world-class marathon champion athlete, from Ridgefield, NJ, mother of three, and her youngest age 8, who further inspired me to compete and prepare for a marathon.

Then the crowd heaves, roars, and applauds, goose bumps rise again as the top professional woman runners of the world are introduced by officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who officiates the start of the race.

Next come the final announcements, The Star Spangled Banner, with Military Honor Guard, and the BOOM of their Howitzer cannon, and The Start for the world class Professional men, the NYPD and NYFD runners, the cannon report, and the massive field behind them and the wave of colorful bodies bobbed across the Verrizano Bridge.

There are literally thousands of stories of overcoming tremendous challenges to run in the marathon. These too are courageous and outstanding athletes with an over-the-top abundance of determination amaze everyone to finish, some with only their arms and the benefit of wheels, clock faster times than most runners.

Don't think I will complain about aching joints too much anymore. We watch in the distance, our hearts touched and tears flowing, as the most courageous entrants, who without legs, and those who had immobilized legs, start 30 minutes ahead of the others in their specially built carbon and titanium hand wheeled, tri-cycles.

In 2007 Marathon, thrilling did not quite capture the feeling, as the men streak by equally competitive, with Martin Lel of Kenya and Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco running side by side into Central Park in the second part of a battle they began last April in London. In the end, it came down to a sprint — and Lel pulled ahead, his winning kick gave him a 12 seconds lead in a stunning triumph!

After the start, as part of our bonus for coming in early to help out, the volunteers were bused to seats at the Finish Line to see the spectacular and most inspirational race to date, where cleared of the field well in the beginning and first and second finishers, 33 year old, Paula Radcliffe of England who gave birth in January, sported a tremendous kick to win over Gete Wami of Ethiopia.

The ladies hug at the finish line in celebration of their respect for each other with Paula Radcliffe, who is threatening to take her fourth NYC ING Marathon this year.

Anyone can be inspired by the skills of the elite, but the most hear
tfelt enthusiasm comes as the stirring finals of all the participants of all ages and time finals with their family, children and supporters cheer from the sidelines. Hearts stirred tears rolled down loving cheeks in a silent almost spiritual celebration.
When you see the determination of others, who have no legs, or they are blind, or the "Achilles Club," volunteers who give their time to assist others through the course, or those who run for family members with a chronic disease, or a related cause, or who started at advanced ages and have completed so many competitive events.

A person I met here in NYC, who I shall refer to as "Sparky," because she was the spark that inspired me to start running again, when I moved to New York City and at the time, with intense knee pain, could barely walk from midtown at 46th street to Central Park at 59th street.

Sparky consistently proves, after over two dozen marathons, as she completed the Marathon again, at the age of 72, it's not chronology - its biology, love of the freedom fitness offers and will power.
Have since run in over 20 races, as a participant, not a racer, and though, for a variety of reasons, missed the goal of running in the 2009 Marathon, have reinstated my goal to start all over, prequalify, get in better shape, overcome the physical obstacles and run in the 2011 NYC Marathon.

The effort required to run a marathon, or even participate in the various qualifying races, gives any aspirant tremendous encouragement, and for us who don't have the calling to be an elite world-class athlete, the reassurance it's not the about speed, it's all about personal determination, inner drive, the Spirit to participate and ultimately the Will to overcome whatever one has to do and above all – FINISH!
Charles Pixley

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