Samatha Romero (left), Elizabeth Guess (center) and Katie Schmelcer (right) held signs and cheered on strangers at the NYC Marathon Sunday night. Photo By Jordyn Rolling

With her hands cupped around her mouth, Samantha Romero stood with a small group of friends and leaned over the barricades belting uplifting words and calling out runners by name.

Like many, Romero, a native of Miami, Fla., stood on the sidelines of the 2015 New York City Marathon on Sunday night near the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park to lend her support to friends, strangers and her mother.

“She’s in her 50s and killing it,” Romero said. “I’m very excited for her.”

Romero’s mother was one of the 14,326 lottery applicants selected to run in the marathon.

“She started running in her 40s,” Romero said. “She’s never been athletic in her life. She was just inspired by this movement and if someone her age can get up and do that it’s pretty amazing to see.”

Over 80,080 runners applied for the lottery, with only around 18 percent being accepted. Runners could also by submitting previous marathon times that met the marathon’s qualifying standards.

What made this race so special to Romero and her mother is the fact that she had never pushed through a total of 26.2 straight grueling miles before.

“She’s done a bunch of halves and this is her first time,’ she said. “She’s so excited.
Romero’s friend, Elizabeth Guess, was cheering by her side.

“It’s just the most supportive environment you’ll ever find yourself in,” Guess said.

If you didn’t realize the runners names were printed on their chests, you might think Guess knew every participant forging through to the finish line. Her voice carried above the crowd noise, one name after another.

Guess herself recently conquered the Chicago Marathon a few weeks before.

“All of these people have any number of goals, ultimately crossing the finish line, and it’s just an incredible feat,” she said.

A live band performed loudly across the street turned racetrack, encouraging runners as they approached their final destination.

In total, more than 50,000 people from across the world ran, and in their own way, won the NYC Marathon.