This past Sunday, November 6th, I ran the New York City Marathon. During my training, I learned that each runner has his or her own way of staying motivated and powering through to the finish line. Some people need to listen to a custom playlist on their iPod, others need to know they have friends and family looking out for them at every mile.
I don't use headphones when I run, nor did I map out where everyone I know was stationed along the course. As usual, what kept me going was Brazil. My first experience in Brazil in 2007 was a major motivation for my running the marathon. But seeing and hearing signs of Brazil on race day made the 26.2 miles (or 42 kilometers) fast and fun.
I came up behind these runners along the course. Using my Portuguese, I complimented their shirts and wished them good luck as I passed them and pulled ahead.
I was able to get the above shots on the move, but as I descended from the Queensboro bridge, I ran into wall of screaming green and yellow. The only time I stopped during my 4 hour run was to take a picture of this enthusiastic spectator who was part of that crowd. Her spirit kept me going for the remaining 12 miles.
Even when I didn't see signs of Brazil, I could hear them. During the last leg of the race in Central Park, I heard someone shout "Brazil!" Regrettably, I wasn't wearing any yellow, green or blue, so there must have been a prideful Brazilian on my heels who provoked the salute. Either way, I couldn't help but throw my fist in the air and smile even bigger than I already was. The onlooker might as well have shouted my name. Becca, Brazil, I respond to both.
My handful of Brazilian experiences spread out over New York's five boroughs are by no means an accurate representation of the extent of Brazil's presence in Sunday's race. @ElizondoGabriel, commented on Twitter: "My flight from NY to Sao Paulo today was more than half full of people coming home after running the NYC Marathon over the weekend." He told me even more runners from another New York flight that landed in São Paulo at the same time joined him and his fellow passengers in line at immigration. How could he tell? All were proudly sporting their medals. I forgot to ask if their limps or stiff walks were another give away.