Every first Sunday of November, the annual TCS New York City Marathon winds it way through the five boroughs, as thousands upon thousands of runners of all skill levels attempt to accomplish the incredible feat.
And every year, it’s the volunteers at the mile markers that thoroughly enhance the runners’ experience.
For the 15th year, the men’s and women’s track and field/cross-country teams from St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, will be staffing a water and Gatorade station along the route.
The Terriers squads will be set up at Mile 11 in Williamsburg North, close to both the Williamsburg Bridge and not far from the St. Francis College campus on Remsen Street.
Mile 11 is nearly the halfway point of the premiere race, so the student-athletes are eager to give those competing a much-needed boost as they dig down deep to find the strength to keep pushing along.
“It’s going to be interesting in a sense of seeing people do what I do because I run cross-country as well, so it’s good to see them and know that they’re out there,” said Diondra Bryant, a junior who competes in the 800-meter.
“They’re feeling a sense of pain, and I know what they’re feeling.”
On race day, the team will arrive to the designated location by around 7:30 a.m. to set up. During the race, a group of Terriers, wearing their iconic N.Y.C. Marathon ponchos, will be handing out cups of water and Gatorade, while another wave of student-athletes will be furiously filling up more cups.
Helping the runners compete in the race has become a team-building exercise for the Terriers.
“What’s unique about this group is that they’ve been together hanging out and running since day one of the season,” said second-year head coach Christopher Mills. “So to see what some of the professional runners do and how they do it will hopefully motivate them to get to that level.”
The crowds at the race are second to none, and these student-athletes know all about what it means to have spectators supporting them as they compete.
“It pushes me more to finish when you feel like you can’t do it anymore and there’s people cheering you on,” said junior Jomanda Morales, who runs the 800- and 1,000-meter. “It takes a lot to finish a marathon.”
The excitement has been building up the past few weeks for the Terriers, who view their station as a great way to give back to the community that supports them.
For Mills, he said he’s excited to see a number of his former student-athletes running the race and was sure to tell them to stop by Mile 11.
As Mills’ own runners continue to build up their stamina, competing in a marathon may soon be in their future, and he’s the first to encourage them to go for it.
“Anyone can run a marathon,” he tells his runners. “If they can do it, you can do it.”
For now though, priority No. 1 for the Terriers is doing everything they can to ensure this year’s N.Y.C. Marathon runners are properly hydrated, especially after passing Mile 11.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.