So, you're running the New York City Marathon. Good for you. I bet you can run really far and fast too. I am not running the marathon, though many of peers are. As a respectably athletic 20-something Manhattanite, I don't like to run around the block, unless it's in pursuit of a truck selling things that are deep-fried. If you're not running the marathon either, that doesn't mean you're not just as impressive as those who are. Countless New Yorkers do the impossible every day, without the help of fancy sneakers. They complete feats of endurance and athleticism that too often go overlooked. I say it's time to change that, because we deserve some respect, corporate sponsors, and t-shirts too.
1. Extreme Public Transportation-ers
Maybe you've taken the subway from Brooklyn to the Bronx on a Sunday, or the bus across Central Park during a parade. Maybe you've waited on an outdoor platform in Queens for upwards of 20 minutes in the middle of February. You too deserve medals. Now, thanks to the MTA's most recent service cuts, it's easier than ever to become an EPT.
2. Rent Control Warriors
For 2 years, I endured cockroaches in the bathroom and experimental theater rehearsals in the living room for a cheap apartment on the Upper West Side. And that's nothing compared to what some people will tolerate for a great apartment. Spend a decade living with an unemployed percussionist, asbestos and a rabid bulldog, then you'll know what perseverance really is.
3. Residents of 4th, 5th or 6th floor walk-ups
Some may scoff, but try living in a place where going outside isn't a just a thing you do, but a calculated life choice. It requires more careful planning and dedication than any training regime.
4. People who wait on line for brunch
You're hungry, you're tired; you're probably hung-over and haven't had a coffee. Yet somehow, you get out of bed, put on semi-formal attire, and stand in the cold for an hour. That takes dedication even I can't comprehend.
5. Times Square Hikers
Do you have to walk through Times Square on a regular basis to get to work or get home? Taking 20 minutes to walk 5 blocks without acquiring an assault record is not a skill, it's an Olympic-worthy talent.
6. The brave souls who shop at Trader Joes. At 6pm. On a Friday.
7. Bravo Marathoners
This one may seem deceptively easy. If you can watch 10 straight hours of The Real Housewives of New York or New Jersey and still have any sense of actual reality in this city, you are a shining example of mental strength.
8. Urban Yogis
That anyone can cram into a sweaty room full overflowing with aggressive amateur yogis and emerge without breaking their neck--and with new-found Zen clarity--amazes me. Makes sprinting along a path in the open air seem pretty easy, doesn't it?
9. Readers of the entire Sunday New York Times
I don't care how many times you can jog around The Reservoir on a Sunday morning. If you're someone who reads every page of every section of the paper--I'm talking Metropolitan, I'm talking Book Review, I'm talking Automobiles--in one sitting, you should be applauded by society.
10. Reluctant Runners
Some of us run around all day long because we don't have a choice. We chase after trains and ever-elusive food trucks; we run to the grocery store and dry cleaner before they close; we dash through the rain without umbrellas. And we do this all without the help of high-tech athletic gear, hamstring stretches or Gatorade. Can you imagine how much money we'd raise for charity if every time a person ran 10 blocks while texting, dodging traffic and carrying 3 bags it garnered a donation?
So to everyone running the marathon tomorrow, I wish you luck. To everyone not running the marathon, I think you're pretty special too.