Finally the day had come. I had been training for months to be able to run in the biggest running event in the world.
It was the 1st of November and even though it was well into autumn already, the sun was burning like it was midsummer at the start of the New York Marathon. 42.195 kilometers were ahead of me and the start less then 5 minutes off. I was getting nervous now, not sure if I would make the finish line. For the last time I went over all my preparations. Were my shoelaces tied properly, did I have enough to drink until the first checkpoint, was I well protected against the relentless burning sun? Well, if anything, I could rest assured on the latter. My sunscreen was by Paul Penders. Natural organic sunscreen with SPF 22. No worries there.
And then off we were. Together with 44,176 other runners, all of them completely unknown to me, but feeling like one huge family, I started my first (and very possibly last) New York Marathon. Later I found out that from that big family, only 4 were actually called Brenda, one of them being me. Funny how internet reveals all those stats.
While running that was however not on my mind at all. I so desperately wanted to make the finish line that that was all I could think of. At least, that was all I could think for the first 5 kilometers or so. After that my mind became numb and empty and running just a trance. My legs went automatically for the next 25 kilometers. That was about as much as I had done in training.
The last 12.195 kilometers became more and more hell on earth.
Everything hurt, from the tips of my toes (obviously) to the ends of my hair (which I actually donâ€™t use for running). Again my mind was full of reaching the finish and I started to envy my husband who had chosen to spend his time, not running, but eating and drinking away at “The Finish Line Banquet.” I just hoped he would not be too occupied with that to miss my finish for I would kill him if he did just that.
Then finally, there it was. I could see the entrance of Central Park and knew I would make it. The Park was even more crowded with spectators then the rest of the course. Everybody was cheering and waving and encouraging the runners and all of a sudden all the pain and fatigue left my body. It almost felt as if I could do another marathon right after this one. I could now actually see the finish line and there, in between all the others, I saw that one person I most wanted to see. He was holding a glass of champagne. For me.