Top 10 Moments of 2018


#7: Sayville Fire Department – Suffolk County Marathon

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much during a race in my life. The guy in the sunglasses is John, a volunteer firefighter for the Sayville Fire Department. He was using his megaphone all throughout the race to encourage the runners – and to “bust my balls”, as the expression goes. “Ben – did you get that shot?” “You MISSED it Ben!! Do your job!” It was definitely one of those “you had to be there” situations but I included a clip of him blaring his siren. I don’t know why I still haven’t purchased a megaphone…

I’m pretty sure most Long Islanders are born with the funny gene, which totally exists (don’t mind that the article was published on April Fools’ Day).

#6: Hitching A Ride – Broad Street Run

Students Run Philly Style is a mentoring program for youths in Philadelphia and Camden. When students train for and complete races with their mentors, they emerge more confident in their abilities to set and meet life goals. Lots of their runners participated in the Broad Street Run – the largest 10 mile road race in the country. It’s a fast course, especially in the mostly-downhill latter half. While many runners are looking to run fast and set personal records, others just want to enjoy the experience. Participants in Students Run Philly Style fit into both categories, and here we see an example of the latter. Nothing says pure, wholesome fun like piggyback rides in car-free streets! I took this photo on my walk up towards City Hall against the flow of race traffic (north to south). I was lucky to be able to capture this moment – and luck is enough to cement this photo into the number 6 spot!

#5: Un Petit Monde – Paris Marathon

I just had to include the Paris Marathon in my top 5 experiences. I was there for work and scheduled to leave town on a Saturday, but my flight was cancelled and rebooked to Sunday evening. This meant I could cheer at the Paris Marathon Sunday morning! My first (and only, thus far) race abroad!

I looked out for New Yorkers, and saw some Central Park Track club and North Brooklyn runners. I saw the word “Brooklyn” on this person’s shirt and yelled “Let’s Go Brooklyn!” and got a photo. It turns out she’s Cassie Wangsness – a coach for the NYRR Group Training sessions in Prospect Park! She left the following comment on my blog post about the race:

Hi there! THANK YOU for coming out to cheer – I’m the woman in the Brooklyn singlet on that top picture 🙂 This was definitely not my favorite marathon, due largely to lack of water, cyclists and rollerbladers throughout the course, and the number of times I was pushed by others along the course. Not what I’m used to! But as always, the love from spectators makes SUCH a difference when fighting through tough runs! Thank you for being there, for cheering, and for giving us love!!!!

So cool! Such a small world. And that puts this experience in the number 5 position!

#4: BRKTHRU – Chicago Marathon

This is definitely the most “viral” picture I’ve posted to date due to a certain famous comedian/runner in the frame. I didn’t realize it was Kevin Hart until I was going through my photos the following day. Anyone who knows me and my love of puns understands how excited I was to post the words “Kevin’s Got Hart”.

But the story here doesn’t stop with Kevin. It also includes his running buddy L. Ryan Shaffer – the guy next to him wearing the BRKTHRU shirt. Somebody tagged him in the comments and I went on Google curious about what BRKTHRU was. It’s a nonprofit whose purpose is to promote “mental fitness” among individuals who are battling mental disorders. Shaffer was shocked and saddened by the death of his good friend Yusuf Neville, who took his own life in January of 2014. BRKTHRU aims to connect with people like Yusuf, whose struggle with mental illness was largely hidden from those around him. The group encourages running among its participants not only because it’s a natural mood booster, but because Yusuf was an avid runner himself.

It’s true that this picture probably would have made the top 10 even without the context above. It’s not often I accidentally get a photo of a celebrity among tens of thousands of runners. But every runner has a story – a unique motivation for doing what they do – and that rings especially true in this case. Whenever I see this photo, I mainly think about the friendship behind a movement that helps people recognize their value and place in the world.


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