My New York Tribe

" People all over the world have a weird misconception about what it is to live in Manhattan, let alone run in it. So, from upstate country girl turned multi-marathon Manhattanite, please allow me to set the record straight. "

New Yorkers are a tough crowd. We’re direct, territorial, and usually a little pissed off by the time we’ve ever even made it outside a steel frame into whatever “outdoors” we can get our hands on. But I will be damned if anyone ever tried to hate on my running community. Maybe I’m suffering the side effects of summer humidity, or maybe I’m just protective of my urban oasis, but there’s a sacred understanding among the athletes of New York that we’re just out there surviving together.

“Woah, girl – slow down. Where is this coming from?”

Okay, I feel you. This post had a strong opening so let me back it up with some substance. I recently read an article slashing my dreams that the high hills of Boulder, CO are any less magical than they are in my empty threats to leave Manhattan’s crowded streets for the sacred promise land. Admittedly, the article hit some nails on the head around what it’s probably like to try to tackle the Flatirons with a band of genetically gifted Tarahumara-like “dirt bags” on your heels. It further dredged up some pretty alarming facts about the outdoorsy pissing matches that happen right on the very trails you’re trying to enjoy. Anyway .. if you’re interested, check out “The Gore-Tex Vortex” on outsideonline.com.

It got me thinking, “are people talking about my hometown like this?” I know they are. People all over the world have a weird misconception about what it is to live in Manhattan, let alone run in it. So, from upstate country girl turned multi-marathon Manhattanite, please allow me to set the record straight.

" Here there are elites, there are beginners, there are mothers, charity runners, and multi-sport athletes all sharing the course with nothing but love for each other. There’s no room for entitlement, because in true New York fashion, no matter how you’re acting, we honestly don’t give a sh*t. "

The New York running community is like nothing I could have possibly imagined. It’s a group of exceedingly diverse, multi-leveled, pretty freaking weird souls all out on the pavement just trying to survive. The very concept of the “everyday athlete” – a term I’ve often used to describe the basis on which the Happy Runner Diaries was created – seems to have been born in New York. Here there are elites, there are beginners, there are mothers, charity runners, and multi-sport athletes all sharing the course with nothing but love for each other. There’s no room for entitlement, because in true New York fashion, no matter how you’re acting, we honestly don’t give a sh*t.

So come in, ride your high horse, cruise past us, try to make us feel bad… we won’t really get it. We’re out there for the smiles, for the shared experience of using our sneakers like a magic carpet to escape to the land of good sweat and endorphins.

It’s this attitude New Yorkers must carry straight from the park to the course. On multiple occasions I’ve been brought close to tears by the kindness of the New York runner.

… stay with me

Don’t give up…

… get it girl

You dropped your phone…

…I was trying to catch you

You crushed it…

Above all the phrases I’ve personally experienced during New York races, I’ve also been witness to people stopping in their tracks to help a runner even though they were on course to PR. I’ve watched men carry others over the finish line when injury struck so close to the end. I’ve made friends in the baggage truck lines when NYRR’s inevitably can’t find the late truck (ha! Sorry). New York racers become your tribe race morning. No one seems too busy to pat your back, pick you up when you're down, or find help if you look like you're in need. 

 

Maybe we’re bound together by the fact that in a place where every single human lives a different story less than 6 miles from your own tiny apartment window, you can’t be so consumed by your progress against anyone else’s.

No matter the cause, I will fight to protect and defend this incredible community. I’ll preach and praise it’s sacred sentiment and everyone that contributes to the magic. I’ll return to the road with smiles, no more patient or accepting that I’ve been before – um, hello, still a New Yorker – but also not trying to be better or above anyone else. I’ll call out the pregnant ladies, the boom box carriers, the never-to-retire veterans, the jugglers, the superhero capes, and the people that refuse to believe that some shorts are just too short. You make the streets special, and I can’t thank you enough.

If you're interested in joining my very special tribe of New York Runners, click here to learn more about Fred's Team. We have entries to this year's New York City marathon and Marine Corps Marathon. Sign up and join the journey. 

<3 The Happy Runner