It was our first marathon experience, and one we chose to take on together.
My sister Christina and I are not marathon runners, but fitness enthusiasts who believe you can do whatever you put your mind to do! This was our motto that led us to the finish line.
A couple months before the New York City Marathon, our parents Paul and Gail Caruso, members of the Rotary Club of New York, asked us if we would be interested in running the marathon for team NY Rotary. Our parents have been avid members of Rotary for more than 25 years. We needed to raise $5,000 between us, which would be donated to Rotary’s polio eradication efforts and other charities including Gift of Life, the Ronald McDonald House, Prosthetic Hands, and the New York Rotary Club Foundation.
We only had a couple months to prepare, so we did as much as we could, taking tips from experienced runners. We learned how to put vaseline between our toes so we wouldn’t get blisters; buy the right running gear to stay dry, cool, and comfortable; and eat what we call “magic jelly beans” that fuel the body while running. We did some long runs together to prepare.
The night before the big day, our family had dinner with other team NY Rotary members at the Ronald McDonald house in Manhattan. They loaded us up with carbs and inspired us with speeches.
Our parents dropped us off at the starting line as if it was our first day of school again. We did not know what to expect and were filled with excitement and nervousness. But we had each other. Our plan was to run together so we could cross the finish line together and not compete with each other. We wanted this triumphant accomplishment to be something we experienced together, as a team.
We paced ourselves and hydrated as much as possible during the run. We were cheered on by thousands of onlookers. At the final stretch, our family was there shouting words of inspiration and encouragement, giving us the final boost we needed. We ran side by side and held hands as we crossed the finish line. We did it! And we did it together!
What a tremendous accomplishment this was for us and one of the most amazing experiences we have shared together.