A Tale of Two Races

Published by Amy Ko on

A Tale of Two Races

Amy KT (阿蜜果)

Race 1:  My Race


Every marathoner has a story, so it is said. Mine is incredibly unremarkable. An 18 years hiatus from the first and last marathon in NYC, I thought that door 🚪 was welded and eternally sealed for me. My story then was also rather forgettable — heartbroken from a broken relationship, the marathon was supposed to heal my hurt and keep it under wraps. So I ran a marathon despite having only partake in a 5k prior to that. Sadly, the broken heart was not mended but the legs were undoubtedly broken. Cramps lasted from mile 20-26.2 and my visits to the medical tents outnumbered my entire life put together. My time was proudly 5 hours 6 mins 49 seconds.

Fast forward 18 years, I was running recreationally and mindlessly for most parts before a chance encounter with my running group. I needed company and a purpose. It offered support and motivation. We were a match made on pavements. One group run led to a race which then turned in 9+1 NYRR races. After breaking my piggy bank  on running shoes, gears and races, hitting the pre-dawn snooze button and lugging myself to the starting line countless times, NYCM and I finally meet again, strangely and virtually.

It was decided that NYCM and I would meet at the Rockland State Park.  What I had not foreseen was my Dream Team — from the uninterrupted army of scheduled and unplanned pacers (more on a pacer later) to the always-ahead replenishment station volunteers to the radiant cheering squads.  It was guaranteed that “I Will Be Moved” so I moved. Faster than I did 18 years ago. Like a lot faster.  Like an hour 28 minutes 58 seconds faster. This might have set the record for the most improved performance within my club — a testimony to anyone who is looking to peak in the sports that an 18-year wait may catapult one from any physical and emotional abyss.

Mile 1 – Mile 14 – Swooped Up by Aeolus

Mile 14 – Mile 20 – Guarded by the Queen of the [Edge]Water & Empress of  the Mont[vale]

Mile 14 – Mile 26.2 – Under the King’s Watch

Mile 20 – Mile 26.2 – The Statesman Seals the Deal

Side Stories

Having finished the 2002 marathon in solitude, I vowed to have my parents present for this one.  Mom didn’t quite get the cheers down; she cautioned me to slow down on the last lap.

Hubby had gifted this framed artwork to me last Christmas as an inspiration to best myself at this year’s NYC marathon.  Glad I didn’t disappoint the intent of the artwork (and the hubby)

Dressed up my bib and inscribed the target times on my arm so I won’t go unleashed at the start (9:10 at mile 1, 8:55 at mile 2, 8:50 at mile 3 then cruise at 8:40)


Race 2: His Pace  


This weekend was the second virtual NYCM for my running group. My role was reversed — I was supposed to reciprocate everything I have learned that helped me the week before and trial-and-error’ed on the runners. Tasked to man a station for the first half and pace a runner for the second half, I thought my resume was very strong.  After all, I had volunteered at the finisher medals’ station in the 2019 NYCM.  Well, I discovered my resume as a water station volunteer had more holes than the swiss 🧀 cheese. The first wave of runners were running so fast that I either could not made out what they said , did not have what they need readily available (like gel with caffeine or salt tablet) or worst, could not run fast enough from my rested state to accelerate and hand them the replenishment requested. I clearly also overestimated my ability to multitask — taking snapshots of the race for the runners AND tending to their needs as they whisked through my station. Thankfully I consoled myself with an overly-decorated Halloween theme station, festive headpiece and tutu skirt. My day was saved.

The week before a fellow runner from my running group, seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and accompanied me for the last 12 miles of my race. I can’t really put a figure to this but I think his presence attributed to close to 100% of how I did not drop my pace in the last 6 miles. Before this, I knew his name, his nickname, King, and that he sports a pretty cool pair of glasses and that was about it. We had some cordial exchanges afterwards and I confided in him my fear for cramps in the last 6 miles. He shared his own tribulations with me — a few weeks ago his attempt at the first marathon ended with cramps at mile 18. As we neared the race, I asked if I could run with him and he accepted.

After 3 miles of warm up, I joined King at Mile 18 and ran at the pace he indicated. 9.2 miles later we arrived at the finish, albeit a scare of cramps and the phantom of a repeat.

His time 3 hour 38 minutes 20 seconds.

We finished the race one after another — and our stories are linked.

Side Stories

Station 3 Cheering Props

More Cheering Props

Inspirators and Partners-in-Crime

Categories: Race Story