November 4, 2018 – Come on Manisha….You could do this. I was at mile 20 and you know prior to the marathon a lot of people told me that those last couple of miles are the most excruciating in terms of pain. It is more of a battle of the mind than the body. How crazy does that sound?

At mile 20 you would assume that you have overcome the biggest hurdle – the first 20 miles, but you are definitely in for a surprise with the remaining last couple of miles. I felt my right foot giving in towards mile 21, but you know when they say people are presented to you at certain times in your life for very specific reasons. Well, that is exactly what happened.

As the other marathoners and I were coming off of the bridge into the Bronx at mile 21 I saw a lady standing with a sign which read “If You need a Hug , I am here for You.”

At that point I broke down…literally I broke down because of the pain I was in. With each step I was finding inner inspiration to push forward. As soon as I saw the lady standing there with the sign, I collapsed into her arms and expressed how much I really needed her hug.

As I continued my run – the crowd kept saying “You got this girl,” “Keep Pushing,” “You are going to make it,” etc. I was amazed with the support I was receiving. Partly because I did not know any of these people. Some people had cut up oranges for the marathoners, while others had pre-made peanut butter sandwiches for us to fuel up on. People always talk about New York City as being the city that never sleeps and always driven by their day to day lives (basically always saying -how New Yorkers are so mean). Well, let me tell you, that day I realized that the unity that exists in New York is far beyond what anyone can ever imagine. It is amazing to see everyone coming out for a cause  – literally standing there from the morning until the evening time without a drop in energy levels.

As I continued to push through the last couple of miles I bumped into a few people who were experiencing major muscle cramps, and also, struggling to make it to the finish line.

One such man was a cop in the Police force – I could tell he was in a lot of pain so I slowly ran up to him to make sure if there was anything I could do to help him. He pointed to his knee and told me that his knee bone had popped. As he said this, I saw that he did not even hesitate for even a second and kept walking as fast as he could. In my mind, I said – Manisha if you stop now…You will always regret it. Just keep pushing forward.

As I continued, I bumped into another lady who felt that she had displaced her hip, but even through the pain she continued to push forward. As I pushed through my own pain – I was in utter shock. I was shocked by the amazing will power that these people possessed. I was inspired. That is the best way to describe my experience.

The mental part- – I get it now. I get that it is all mental. Physical – yes. You need to be in shape to run 26.2 miles, but at the same time your mind needs to fully believe that this is possible. In the last 6 miles – I grew stronger. I won the battle in my mind between the two voices playing tug-of-war and telling me that I could not possibly finish this race and the other one telling me that I got this.

I grew stronger – pain is ultimately the best teacher.

Thank you for all your support – I can’t wait to run again next year.

Inspired. That is the best word to describe that day.

Sending a lot of positive vibes your way,

Manisha Sareen


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