As a New Yorker, being a runner is almost as fundamental as complaining about your overpriced Con Edison bill. This past weekend was no exception. Over 10,000 women striving for personal achievement took to the pavement of Manhattan’s Central Park to push their minds and bodies to the limit in the More/Fitness Women’s Eighth Annual Half Marathon in conjunction with New York Road Runners.
As the largest women’s-only half marathon in the U.S., Elizabeth Hasselback hosted the event. She finished in an astonishing 1 hour and 44 minutes to raise money for Celiac Disease research, a disease she struggles with personally and is the topic of her book, The G Free Diet. Other famous faces joined the race, such as the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Dr. Regina Benjamin, More Magazine Editor-in-Chief Lesley Jane Seymour and Fitness Magazine Editor-in-Chief Betty Wong.
The morning started out a brisk forty degrees, while the women gathered in pace groups around 7:30 a.m. Most women, coffee in hand, tried their best to warm up as best as possible in the cold weather before the race began promptly at 8 a.m.
Consisting of two and a quarter laps around Central Park, this race was arduous for all the runners, but the encouragement and support was plentiful. The Harlem Hill, located on the upper loop of the race course, tested all of the women’s endurance and tenacity but demonstrated the vocal and emotional support each of the women gave to each other by helping their running partners or even strangers to get through it.
But once the two laps were done and mile 12 was soon to become mile 13, the crowd’s cheers swelled the park, encouraging each runner to make it to the finish line. Sweeping emotions ran through many women as they crossed the finish line—with gasps of “I can’t believe I did that” and embraces of loved ones.