Thousands of cameras flashed when Stanley Biwott whisked across the finish line in Central Park to win Sunday’s New York City Marathon after just 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 34 seconds. Shortly after, Juan Luis Barrios from Mexico emerged as the best Latino athlete in the endurance race. But for me, the most iconic images of the day were of the more than one million spectators cheering for loved ones and strangers alike. A heartwarming scene unfolded along the route snaking over the Verrazano Bridge to Lafayette St. and passing through Queens and the Bronx.
Holding steaming cups of coffee and homemade signs and dancing to music from portable speakers, the runners heard chants of “Come on buddy you can do it!” “Let’s go Mexico!” and “Just a mile to go, you’re the best! You are a hero!”
NYC Marathon A video posted by Raul Vilchis (@raulvilchiso) on
The more than 50,000 runners were young and old of diverse capabilities from all over the world. Many wore their national flags proudly and the fans routed with equal enthusiasm for all. When Biwott claimed his victory in the 26-mile race, some participants were still plodding along through mile three.
There is no greater example of civility than a marathon in a megacity like New York. The marathon is different than a soccer game in a stadium or an arena. It is a journey. Miles around the city, people volunteer their time just to show solidarity.
Watching people supporting others in their struggle to complete a goal makes me believe in the power that sports has to bring us together. Our love for sports springs from our love for each other.