Rosalind Leslie, 53, of Ottawa, Canada cheered for as many runners as she could at the NYC Marathon, at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Photo by Charles Li

On the corner of Bay Ridge and 4th Avenues in Brooklyn, Rosalind Leslie, 53, grinned as her husband Don Leslie pulled a yellow, jagged-edged sign out of a kitchen garbage bag. The sign read, “Trip to NYC $1000 – Watching our beautiful daughter run NYC – Priceless.”

The Leslies flew into New York from Ottawa, Canada on Thursday to support their daughter Heather, 29, who had been picked by a Canadian lottery to run in her first ever New York City Marathon. The Canadian parents rented an apartment near South Ferry for four days – at the price of $255 per night – because “Heather wanted to live close to the Marathon’s starting point on Staten Island,” said Rosalind Leslie.

“My daughter’s kindergarten teacher wrote on her first report card that she’s a leader who likes to run, and I thought that was really cool,” she said. “I’m going to support her competitive spirit no matter what the price tag is.”

On Saturday Rosalind Leslie made the yellow, jagged-edged sign with hope that it will help Heather find her parents during the 26-mile endurance race. This morning the Leslies took turns holding up that sign on the sidewalk, from the instant they saw the first group of runners appear over the horizon on 4th Avenue, until Heather Leslie appeared in front of them two and a half hours later.

Rosalind Leslie cheered as though every competitor was her family member.

“Way to go John,” she yelled, “and I love New Zealand!” A runner with New Zealand’s national flag embroidered on his tank top waved both of his arms at her.

“Good morning handsome,” she called out to a handicapped man laboriously jogging with an artificial leg. “You’re doing an awesome job!”

“It might be the cold weather,” Rosalind Leslie whispered to her husband, who was jovially waving little Canadian flags. “I have almost no voice left.” She put on a pair of white, woolen gloves then covered her mouth while she coughed.

She said a lot of runners experience a bad zone at this distance, but would break out of it if they heard loud cheers.

But Rosalind Leslie had no interest in heading to the finish line after the runners past the mile three marker.

“It’s hard to watch because they just look like they’re dying by then,” she said.