Is there any better time than Autumn to be in New York? I think not. The mornings are crisp and each one feels like it could be the beginning of the Best Day Ever. College football rules the airwaves (Go Hawks!). The pumpkin ale flows freely (or Coors Light. I’m a team player). The suffocating mask of summer heat is a fever’s dream dismissed, and the inevitability of stepping off a curb into three inches of icy slush is at least a month away.
Also, the marathon! It’s the greatest day of the year in NYC, and I think New Yorkers are all just a little bit better people on the first Sunday in November. I’m sure there are those who are inconvenienced slightly on Marathon Day–maybe they have to move their car off the course (along with 10,000 others) the night before or they can’t get to their brunch place because of the four-deep spectator scrum on First Avenue–but I wager one would be hard pressed to find a New Yorker who 100% dislikes the marathon or what it means to (and for) this city.
My particular oar on this great big boat happens to be the professional athlete fields–those runners (and wheelers) that come from all over the world to win the race. In the grand scheme of 39,000 participants, the 100 or so that I busy myself with is a relatively tiny number, but it’s also a very visable and vitally important piece of this giant event. One of my jobs is figuring out ways to get you–our tens of readers–to care about these incredible athletes (and people). To wit, New York Road Runners is pleased to present to you the first in an occasional series “Better Know a Pro.” Think of it like the Page Six “Blind Item,” except, you know, not trashy. Every day (hopefully, but probably not), I’ll give you a couple of clues about that day’s athlete. The first person to guess the correct athlete in the comments will earn a sweet ING New York City Marathon prize. (Legal Disclosure: This contest is not open to employees of New York Road Runners, or members of the professional athlete field for the ING New York City Marathon 2008. Actual prizes TBD, but they may not be considered “sweet” by all).
OK, here’s today’s athlete:
1. This athlete has four medals from the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
2. This athlete is coached by a former NYC champion.
3. The ING New York City Marathon 2008 will NOT be their first race in NYC this year.