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Runners gear up for the 44th annual New York Marathon

The race goes down this Sunday.

On Sunday, New Yorkers from all walks will join together to participate in the 44th Annual TCS New York City Marathon.

One of the country's most iconic and longest-running sporting events, the NYC Marathon draws athletes from across the globe, allowing them the opportunity to see all of the city's five beautiful boroughs in one stunning, 26-mile run.

With over 50,000 runners expected to finish this year, 8,500 of whom are running for charity, the Marathon hopes to raise between $25-$30 million "to help hundreds of nonprofit organizations support their missions and services."

“The TCS New York City Marnathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners, and one of the City’s most iconic days," says Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of running organization Road Runners New York. "From the world’s top professional athletes to thousands of charity runners, volunteers, and spectators, the TCS New York City Marathon is filled with community spirit, spreading positivity throughout the five boroughs and the world.”

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While past celebrity runners have included the likes of Edward Norton, Al Roker, Christy Turlington Burns, Pamela Anderson and Diddy, the real heroes of the New York Marathon are the regular New Yorkers who overcome fear and adversity to compete in the race.

From a social media-savvy New York transplant running for the first time to a Yankee pitcher's wife excited to raise money for her charity to a 79-year-old inspired by the birth of his first grandson, every New Yorker has a different reason to run. Here, Metro previews the TCS NYC Marathon by profiling five city-dwellers who are gearing up for Sunday.

Name: Robert Alexander

Age: 29

First Time Running NYC Marathon?: Yes

What Makes It Special:The marathon brings people together - we're all strangers but during this race we lift each other up and have something we share. I'vealso been living in New York for 10 years and have never seen all five boroughs. In one day,I'll accomplish that.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?: Imade a list of thingsIwanted to do by the timeIturned 30, including running a marathon. On the day before my 30th birthday,Iwill have doneeverythingon my list.

Cause/Charity: Livestrong. So many people have lost loved ones to cancer and are personally fighting it every day.For me, it's an amazing opportunity todirectlysupport a great cause.

Name: Kelly Roberts

Age:25

First Time Running NYC Marathon?:Yes

What Makes It Special:The course and the people: from the bridges to the streets of New York to the people cheering in the different boroughs. And then to finish in Central Park is exhilarating.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?:Very recent. I only started running two years ago. But running saved my life. Running gave me a purpose and a sense of self. I never thought I would be able to run a marathon, and here I am about to run my second.

Charity: Team for Kids. I allowed my body image to consume me from a very young age. I struggled emotionally and don’t think children should ever have to worry about their weight. TFK provides programs to more than 200,000 kids and teaches them how to be physically fit for life. I am just excited to be a part of that.

Name: Alexander Woo

Age:79

First Time Running NYC Marathon?: No (2nd)

What Makes It Special:My family is all here and is so excited to be here to cheer me on. In addition, it’s so inspiring to see people from all neighborhoods coming out to volunteer and cheer for us.It's really one of those moments where you feel everyone's love for the city.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?:My wife passed away from breast cancer many years ago, but the birth of my grandson has given me a new perspective on life.He has given me the motivation to stay in shape, exercise and be as healthy as I can be.

Charity: None, but as I said, the birth of my grandson five years ago has given my life new meaning.

Name: Lauren Turner

Age: 30

First Time Running NYC Marathon?:Yes

What Makes It Special: New York was so kind to me while I was in [cancer] treatment - no one looked twice at my scarf-wrapped head or even when I rocked the buzz cut. I was just another New Yorker, although my appearance may have said I was sick.Training in New York was great.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?: I can't say it has been a lifelong goal, but it will be a goal of a lifetime. I never believed I could actually do it.

Charity: I decided to run "unattached" from a cause. Emotionally, I was not ready for it.If I were, I would be supporting the ovarian cancer world. Ovarian cancer needs more research, especially to develop a reliable screening tool.

Name: Richard L. Feinstein

Age: 71

First Time Running NYC Marathon?: No (35th)

What Makes It Special: It is the greatest way to see NYC on a day the city shows off its best. You run through some of richest and poorest sections and you get to see the changes. The faces, attire, skin color and accents change throughout the course, but one thing remains the same - the people. The enthusiasm exhibited by the spectators and the joy of the runners is souplifting.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?: Based on my longevity and my glee, each year, perhaps it is both. Or, maybe it's neither - it is just what I do.

Charity: I am not running for a specific charity. I do, however, like to think that I am running for people who, for one reason or another, can't anymore, or never could. Mostly, though, I do it because I can.

Name: Amber Sabathia

Age:33

First Time Running NYC Marathon?Yes

What Makes It Special:You always hear about how the NYC community comes together to cheer the runners on. I saw this as an opportunity to not only run for myself, but for my charity.

Lifelong Goal or Recent Whim?:I started this venture because I could no longer ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. However, as I began training, a new reason for participating began to evolve for me. I realized I was doing this to give back, to teach my children that any goal is reachable, but most importantly I was doing this for ME!

Charity: PitCCh In Foundation – the charity I co-founded with CC in 2008 to help inner city youth raise their self-esteem through educational and athletic activities. No child should have to go without enriching opportunities, especially ones that will motivate their dreams.

 
 
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