One week ago, we celebrated our favorite day of the year -- our Harlem One Miler. What better way to look back on last week by highlighting some of our runners' stories and favorite race moments. This week and next week, we'll share race highlights, and we want to hear yours! Let us know ... What was your favorite thing about the Harlem One Miler?!
Frank, Lisa, & Maxwell
“This is my signature race” – Maxwell, age 8
I started running about 3 years ago. It was one of those things that you say you could never see yourself doing and then all of a sudden, there you are. For me, it began as a mental health exercise and I can honestly say it has changed my life.
Maxwell, who witnesses my love of the sport, and who is obsessed with my medals, was beyond excited to run his first race. I, however, was still reeling from my dismal performance at the Queens 10K the day before. We picked up Frank and headed over to the race, where he also let me know that he had registered me for the Women’s Fast heat. I said, Frank, “I am not fast”. He said, “You’ll be fine”. If you happen to know Frank, you know that this is the end of the conversation. No whining.
Frank ran first. We hooted, we hollered, and Maxwell yelled “Hey! I know that guy!” We were bursting with pride - I had never felt so much joy in watching other runners success. The energy from the crowd, the strength and determination from the runners, and of course the excitement from Maxwell was nothing short of exhilarating.
When the Women's Fast heat was called, my heart dropped. I had never been so nervous, even after running multiple 5K, 10K and half marathons. As we lined up, all the women around me were incredibly supportive. I heard, was “We got this ladies” and “Take a deep breath girls, let’s do this” and “Who run the world? GIRLS!” I felt empowered and incredibly lucky to find myself in this group of women. When I crossed the finish line, out of breath and incredibly thirsty, I checked my running app and realized I just ran my personal best mile.
I thought that there was no way I could beat this feeling. Until the family heat proved me wrong. All morning, Maxwell asked when it was going to be his turn? When would he get his own medal? We lined up with all the other kids and families and psyched each other up. The three of us, walked, ran and talked.
Once we got to the final turn and the last straight away I realized I have a little runner on my hands. He turned the corner and waved at the crowd as he broke away from Frank and I. The crowd literally went wild for him, high fives were flying, cheers were loud and the smile on my face could not have gotten any bigger.Later, as we were on our way home, Maxwell said I am definitely coming back. That was the most fun. This is my signature race.
As I reflect on 6/18/17, I realize it was an exceptionally meaningful day. It was full of excitement, encouragement, and community. People of all ages, women, men, and kids – various paces and abilities - gave their all as they ran the 3rd Annual Harlem One Miler.
In a group filled with so much diversity, on that day, we were one as we shared a united goal to finish with our very best effort. This is very notable during a time in our country where racial and cultural division is at an all-time high.
It was an especially important day for me, as it was my VERY FIRST RACE. EVER. Being a complete novice to the amazing world of running, I started in September of last year as a Run/Walker. When I first heard about the Harlem One Miler, I signed up as sort of a bet to myself. If I can complete the race without having to stop and walk to catch my breath, then it was a good sign for me to continue on with my running goals. After much practice, not only did I achieve that goal, but I also surpassed my expectations and completed with 10:12 min pace time!
Even though I am proud of my finish time, I also realize that I have more work to do, more refinement and personal fit goals to accomplish. And that’s ok. The race is not over, it’s only just begun.