With 50,000 runners from around the globe coverging on New York City on Nov. 6 for the 2022 marathon, it’s extremely unlikely you’d see someone you know during the race.
So it came as a big surprise to Marian Miears of Cody when she glanced over at one point and saw someone she recognized.
“I was like ‘Holy smokes,’” she said. “I looked over and out of 50,000 people, there’s Cathy.”
Both Cathy Roes, also of Cody, and Miears had different start times and different entry points to the race, with one starting at the top of Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island and the other below. But somehow, they found each other more than halfway through.
“It was so funny because, we both knew that we were running it, but I just never would have imagined that we would actually wind up running some miles together,” Roes said.
Preparing for a marathon
The journey to the race began many months ago.
Roes took up running more consistently in the past couple years and saw a fundraiser for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
“They were looking for runners for New York City in 2021 and so I reached out said ‘Hey, I’d be interested in running next year’ and they had a charity slot for me.”
Roes chose the charity in honor of her mom, who died of double Stage 4 women’s cancers, she said. She ended up raising about $7,000.
To prepare, Roes used a training app from the New York Road Runners Association. In seven months she walked 581 miles and ran 960 miles.
“I was running all the time,” she said. “I’d get out of a school board meeting and go around the track or go do my speed work.”
Her longest run before the race was 18.5 miles while on vacation in Hawaii.
“It was really hot and hilly and really humid, which as it turns out was kind of beneficial for the actual race because it was really hot,” Roes said.
Miears knew she wanted to run the race after as a child she watch her mom do it twice.
“That was my inspiration because watching her was pretty cool,” she said.
So Miears began looking at charities she’d be interesting in running for and discovered Team for Kids.
“They give all their money back to kids in the community and that’s kind of what I’m about is taking care of the youth,” the middle school teacher and Cody girls soccer coach said. “Without them we are nothing. That’s just my philosophy is helping those lifelong learners.”
Miears used the same app as Roes to prepare and began about six months before the race. Her longest run before the marathon was 14 miles.
“Long runs are hard and just finding the time to do it,” she said. “I was running in the mornings, but finding time to run two hours is difficult especially after being at work all day.
“And then it started getting dark and cold.”
Ready to race
The marathon traverses all five boroughs of New York City – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan. Roes said it was interesting seeing the different culture of each borough.
“There was nothing that could have prepared me for how many people were there and how stoked they were to be there,” she said. “It was millions of people who were really excited to be there and to be part of it.”
Miears described the crowd as unbelievable and said it was their energy that inspired her through the race.
“Like I said, I didn’t train my muscles as much as I should have, but knowing that these people were coming out and encouraging you got me through,” she said. “I mean, you’re talking to millions throughout that 26 miles of people and they’re just so enthusiastic.”
Both just wanted to finish the race, although Roes set a tentative goal of crossing the finish line in five hours. However, unseasonably warm temperatures made the race much more challenging for many. It hit 74 degrees during the race, when the norm for New York City in November is 48 degrees.
“I didn’t make it because once the heat started to set in on me I had to slow down and I was walking more than I thought I was going to,” she said. “New York Road Runners had been warning us a week in advance to slow it down and to not stay attached to a time because they were worried about the heat and rightfully so because a lot of people ended up on stretchers.”
Miears said she felt good the first half of the race, but began to feel the heat during the second part.
“You had to take care of your body,” she said. “I mean you looked around and there was literally people going down.”
Reaching the finish
Even with the struggles due to the heat both managed to complete the race.
Miears said she felt a sense of accomplishment crossing the line.
“I was excited because of the atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone around me was so excited and it’s neat because that city has so much pride for the race.
“It’s cool, because my mom did too. And then to have my boys there and watch me, I hope that one day they’ll try something like that.”
Roes was in tears as she crossed the line thinking about her mom.
“Because of the group that I ran for, and my mom’s love of New York, I just knew that she would have loved every part about the race,” she said. “So the last half mile I’d get to thinking about it and I get really emotional and then I’d start to cry.
“You’ve spent six months of sacrificing your time with your family and your social life and your own body and then it’s done and you can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Both said they hope to run another marathon in the future.
“I want to do it again,” Miears said. “It’s not that I love running. It’s definitely a commitment, but I can’t explain how the atmosphere was just unreal. To have that, I want to do that again.”
Roes agreed, hoping to improve her time and race under better conditions.
“I think I’d like to run another one,” she said. “There are just so many cool places in this country where they do races.”