Early yesterday morning, a few costumed stragglers from the Halloween festivities in the city finally returned home. On the subways and ferries sitting next to them, runners, donned in their own special uniforms for the New York City Marathon, were en route to Staten Island.
“What’s really funny is watching all these people that are in Halloween costumes that live in Staten Island taking the ferry back with us,” said David King, 27, a first-time marathoner. “Boy, they must feel like fish out of water.”
Thousands of veteran and first-time marathon runners rode the ferry from the Staten Island Station in Manhattan to Staten Island, where shuttle buses took them to the start at Verrazano Bridge.
As the start of the race inched closer, King, a first-time marathon runner, tried to relax on the top deck of the ferry.
“For any training run or race, you just wake up and go,” he said. “I’m not used to waiting.”
King had to wake up at 4 a.m. to commute from Astoria to the start line at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island.
He raised more than $3,500 in support of the American Cancer Society and is running for his sister, who has ovarian cancer. The money he raised, along with the funds collected by 230 other charity runners, totaled more than $800,000.
King became a charity runner by chance, when a customer at a bar where he works told him he could run the Brooklyn half-marathon and raise $200 for the ACS. A month later, in March of this year, running for ACS became more personal when King learned his older sister Susan, 29, had a cancerous “pineapple-sized cyst” on her ovary.
“It was serendipitous that I was already running for the ACS,” King said. “Once everything happened to my sister, I just thought, ‘Oh, got to keep going.’ She’s my sister. I’d do anything for her.”
Even though this is his first marathon, King is not nervous. He went through his pre-race rituals, which included sleeping in his race clothes and eating a bowl of banana nut crunch cereal.
“I am really surprised at how calm I am,” he said. “I’ve got goals set, and I’ve got a (finishing time) in mind. But at the same time, it’s my first marathon, and it’s New York City. I’m just planning to enjoy it.”