VALATIE — On Sunday, runners will take their marks for the forty-ninth annual New York City Marathon. Participants travel from all over the globe to the Big Apple for this infamous test of endurance and willpower each year.
A good number of the runners decide to run with family members and friends to complete this daunting task of twenty-six miles that hits all five boroughs of New York.
They hope to rally around one another to train for and run this incredible race and a large number of the people take pride in just finishing the race.
Derek Grout, 47, of Harvest Spirits (Golden Harvest Farms) has been training for seven months since he and his brother, David, decided to run together this November. Derek had run the NYC Marathon before, back when he was 19, but he says he did not properly prepare for it then.
“Yeah it was like 15 miles in and I was feeling great,” Grout remembers, “...and then at like mile 16, I just felt like I hit a brick wall and I started getting lactic build-up in my legs. And then I was just basically walking from mile 20 to the end.”
Derek grew up on Golden Harvest Farm with his four brothers, and a mother who had developed an affinity for running in 1979. Jayne Zinke, 76, took up the running mantle forty years ago, just prior to the Olypmic torch coming through Kinderhook, on it’s way to Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Games.
Zinke began racing in marathons in the 1990s, but has not run one in twelve years. But she has been sure of her abilities all of these years since then.
“1991 was actually the first time I ran this one in New York,” Zinke recalls, “and I actually ran in the exact time that I had put down on the application, when they ask you to estimate how long it’s going to take you. I put down three hours and fifty minutes, and that’s what the time was when I crossed the finish line.”
Her sons on the other hand, have only run a combined two marathons in their lives. Derek ran the NYC Marathon back when he was 19, and his brother David just ran his first marathon ever in Moscow, Russia in September.
Jayne actually had gone to Moscow the following spring in after her marathon in New York, and ran the Moscow Marathon to qualify for Boston and run that one too.
Derek said that he and Dave were actually the first ones in the family to sign up for the race this year, and their mother Jayne and another one of their brothers, Doug, who has never run any marathon before, decided to sign up afterwards.
They will not be trying to keep pace with the other brothers, but will just be hanging back and enjoying the race as they just try to finish at their own pace.
One of the big sponsors for the race this year is the New York Apple Association and they played a vital role in getting Jayne and her sons, into this race without having to pass qualifying.
The NYAA helps out local apple growers in promoting their product and helping raise awareness for these local farms that cultivate their own produce. Derek shrugs and laughs that, admittedly, even though the NYAA does help in the process, “people here in NY really already know to go upstate for the good stuff.”
He says that ultimately, the whole training process and support from the NYAA, has done the family a great service by keeping them united toward one common goal of running this marathon on Sunday. And that they’re bond as a family has only been strengthened as a result of this collective effort.
Derek then revealed that after the race is finished, they have to walk even further, just to get some ponchos at the end of the race route. In totality, it’s a 25 block walk back to the hotel they’re staying at, so they can take showers and change their inevitably uncomfortable clothing after the marathon.
At the race’s end, Derek and David are planning on trying to keep pace with one another, are shooting for a time around 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish the race together as they’ve been keeping each other accountable in the training process.
“I just don’t want to get to a point where we start actually trying to pull in front of each other,” Derek says, “because I don’t want to hit that wall like I did last time. But just to keep pace and try not to strain too much and finish with that decent time would be the ultimate goal.”