Janelle’s Message to First-Time Marathoners: ‘If I Can Do It, So Can You. Enter the Draw.’


It is hard to believe that only two and a half months ago I finished the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.

It really was a day to remember.

My day started with a 6:00 a.m. bus ride to Staten Island from the Plaza Hotel, right beside Central Park, with my training team, the Galloway group.

More than 15 hours later I was back in the park, finishing the race. Peter Ciaccia, the outgoing race director, held my hand, while Jim Heim, the incoming race director held the other hand.

It Moved Me

In the buildup to the 2018 marathon, I was part of NYRR’s Team #MovedMe. I was the final finisher at most NYRR races throughout the year. That was my story,, and it came full circle as I was the final finisher at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.

I started the race at 11:00 a.m. I was in the final corral of Wave 4 and spent the majority of the race with three other runners. We kept each other company and supported one another throughout. Along the way, we had family and friends meet us at different points, encouraging us and seeing if we needed anything.

Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and one of my favorite memories was the sunset over the Queensboro Bridge as we headed toward Manhattan for the last 10 miles.


Come Make Your Own Memories

I knew there would people waiting for us at the finish line. What I didn’t know was how much of a party atmosphere awaited us, especially since it was late in the evening. Coming down that final stretch in the park, we were greeted like we had won the whole thing!

It was an amazing sight. We were greeted by friends, family, and team members, as well as volunteers and NYRR staff—who stayed after their shifts had ended—the Project Finish group, and marathon runners, including some elite runners (Hi, Meb Keflezighi). They had completed their own 26.2-mile journey but came back to see us.

I am so glad I made the decision to do the marathon. That journey to the finish started when I claimed my entry into the race. The TCS New York City Marathon showed me that I am stronger than I think. That one race gave me memories I will never forget.

In the city I have called home for more than 32 years, I went on the best city tour I could have ever imagined.

If you are thinking about entering the drawing for the marathon, but you have doubts about your ability to finish, take my word for it: If I can do it, so can you!

Come and make your own memories in New York City. Find out what it feels like to finish the greatest race there is.

By the way, I will be waiting for you at the finish line this year, as I am volunteering. There will be a hug waiting for you.


Run the race of a lifetime. Apply for a spot in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. The application is open from January 14 through February 14, 2019.

Gary McLaughlin