Cheer Force One!! (Or, cheering the ING NYC Marathon)

My running club, Front Runners, calls our cheer groups at various races Cheer Force One. šŸ™‚ And today, I got to drive it!! Can I tell you how much I love the fact that the girl who NEVER made the cheerleading squad (yes, I did actually try out. once.) was the leader of the cheerleaders today?!?!?!?!?

It was the 2013 ING NYC Marathon, and we take over Mile 24 for the water stop! And over the past few years (well, clearly not last year) we’ve added a zone for Cheer Force One. I was the cheer zone capatin, appointed by one of our Mile 24 co-captains. I was pumped!!

I woke up with my first alarms, but decided to doze until the second set. And, well, leave it to me to oversleep the night we get an hour back! OOPS!!! I opened my eyes at 6:45 and flipped out. I was supposed to meet Doreen at Starbucks at 86th and Lex in an hour!! I threw on my clothes – jeans, two long-sleeved tech shirts, a hoodie, compression socks, shoes, and a hat and gloves – brushed my teeth, grabbed my bags which I’d thankfully set up before going to bed, and headed out.

And in spite of missing the first train I could have gotten – it was pulling out as I was going into the station – I actually beat both Doreen AND Ruth (who I didn’t know was meeting us but I adore her, so clearly it was fine) there! Ruth arrived a few minutes after me, and we joked about how Doreen lives closer to there than either of us, and we both beat her. HAHA! We got caffeinated up and headed over to get our assignments and get started.

Soon, we were assembled

and ready for the wheelchairs to go by. They are always soooo inspiring!! No amputees in this bunch today, but later on I did see some running with Achilles.

Then the elite women came by…

(Those are just some of them.)

And then the elite men…

Mutai…our eventual winner. Looking like a friggin gazelle. Beautiful!!

In the green is Yuki Kawauchi, a favorite on Marathon Talk. He looked so happy!

Meb!!! Truly one of my heroes. He is running with Cassidy, an elite from Staten Island. They finished in 22 (Cassidy) and 23 (Meb) side by side. Meb is truly a class act and committed to the sport and all who participate, not just those times when he can win. Check this out…

I absolutely adore him!!!!

There was definitely a presence of security this year – most on display in the helicopters that repeatedly flew over, some very low…

This one we could actually feel the wind from the blades and it knocked leaves off of some trees.

The local elites went by after that, and we went NUTS for our teammate Ruth who finished in 3:10 and change, pretty much (I think I’m remembering correctly) obliterating the existing club records. She is awesome and humble!! And then the masses started pouring through and didn’t stop. And neither did we. Cheering all on to the best of our ability!

I saw Dahlia and she took a Twinkie (it’s ok if you tossed it hon!). Was tracking Scoops and Amy and Amanda – but somehow never saw Scoops in the crowd!! šŸ˜¦ V sad about that, but she KILLED it!!!! She is awesome!! I saw Amy, but she was in a pack and I couldn’t get to her. It turned out ok as she couldn’t have taken one anyway. Amanda found me for a hug, no Twinkie (totally cool!). And then someone…I am SOOOOOOO sorry but I am blanking on the name…else came up and asked if I was Beth. We kept cheering and cheering. I only got louder and more enthusiastic as the day went on. In fact, during the last hour an Italian family was next to us, and the father loved my cheering. He proclaimed me “adorable” and insisted on taking a picture with me. (That’s on their camera…I don’t have it.) A couple of us stayed at the cheer zone until the “the support ends here” vehicles came by, cheering my head off!!

I got to leave shortly after that, after finishing up cleaning up the zone. I was cold, my throat is a bit raw, and I have very little voice…and I’m pooped. But it was a great, great day!!

I may have no desire to run NYC…but I’ll support and cheer every year!!


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