28 November 2017 |

New York City Marathon: a unique experience to be lived directly

And then there is New York, which is to marathon like Wimbledon is to tennis, St. Andrews to golf, or the 24 Hours of Le Mans to motorsports. That is not a simple marathon, but the Marathon, with a capital letter for all the merits earned on the field in 47 years of honorable and acclaimed “career”.
It’s a totally different race from the others, not only because the skyline of the Big Apple is unique and inimitable, or because at the start you are surrounded by over 50,000 people, but because of something that is very difficult to explain in words, a burst of feelings and emotions that must be experienced directly on the field of play – or better on the road – as told by Germano Tarantino, Scientific Director of PharmaNutra SPA, one of the 50.773 runners who completed the 42 kilometers and 195 meters of the TCS New York City Marathon 2017 on Sunday 5 November.
A first time really hard to forget, and not only, or not so much, for the great performance set by Tarantino (3 hours, 57 minutes and 9 seconds), a passionate sportsman who became runner after a basketball background, but for all the rest. Which then is the true force of this global event.
“The New York marathon is a completely different race from the others. I have participated in many races like that, even abroad, and I know what I am talking about,” he tells us with a voice that still transmits all the emotions of the moment. “But it’s not just a matter of the route, obviously magnificent as it touches all the neighborhoods of the city, or an organization that borders on perfection; it’s all about culture, or better, a cultural approach to the event by the whole citizenry that has no comparison”.
This means roughly the total synergy between thousands of participants from all over the world and a population that not only does not hamper the Marathon, an event that inevitably influences the daily life of a chaotic metropolis, but embraces the values, sharing them with the runners themselves.
“What stands out, in fact, is the external part of the Marathon, a total participation of the city itself and of all New Yorkers”, explains Tarantino. “You can go around during the days before the race, and people stop you, ask you if you will be one of the participants and wish you the best. Then the day of the race is a whole flowering of shows and concerts all along the route. Banners, hand-made posters, people that spur you on, encourage you, and even help you if necessary. And they follow you, as if they were aware of the effort you are making and the sacrifices you made to be there. It’s really incredible. For them, and this year there were over two and a half million people on the street, you’re a hero and nobody cares about the result: you can even take seven hours or more, you can walk it, but if you’ve got to the finish line, you are the top, you just did something ‘less than 1 percent of the world’s population can do’, as I read on a banner during the race”.
It is the spirit of solidarity and the identity of a city that has always had the strength to stand up again, even in face of the most chilling tragedies. And that is what ultimately made and continues to make the difference between New York and the rest of the world, between the Marathon and all the others. 
”Personally, since I started running in 2008, it took me almost ten years to figure it out, after having tried it personally.” concludes Tarantino with a smile. “Everyone told me that the one in New York is a different marathon, that it’s a world apart, but only now, after having experienced it in person, can I really understood what they were trying to say”.