Local Bay Ridge runners reflects on 2016 Marathon

It was a beautiful day for a marathon.

Thousands of New Yorkers participated in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6.

Countless spectators from around the five boroughs were on hand along the route to cheer on the brave runners.

“This was just a fantastic day,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of New York Road Runners and race director for the marathon after the race. “We had a record number of starters today, and we think we’re just going to have a record number of finishers as well that will carry through.  So it’s going to be, again, the biggest marathon in the world thus far.”

Brooklyn was well represented during the event. Among the borough residents that took part was Bay Ridgeite and Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams Andrew Gounardes, who completed the 26.2-mile marathon.

“It was my first time doing any full-length marathon and to do it in New York was a great feeling,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do it. I applied through the lottery last year and got in. It was one of the toughest things I’ve done for sure, but I’m glad I finished it.”

Photo courtesy onf Andrew Gounardes
Photo courtesy of Andrew Gounardes

Gounardes had extra incentive to finish the grueling long distance race because he was doing it in the name of charity. “I raised money for Saint Basil Academy, a group home in upstate New York that helps take care of orphans or children that come from broken families,” he said. “It gave me motivation. When I felt that I couldn’t go on any further, I would picture all those kids. Raising money for them pushed me over the edge and to the finish line.”

The Brooklyn resident raised around $9,500 with more coming.

Despite the charity component, it was still difficult to complete one of the country’s most popular marathons. “The last six miles are always the toughest,” he said.  “Once I hit the 21 mile mark, I hit a wall so I dug down deep. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I teared up and got emotional.”

Hometown pride was also important to the racer. “It was fantastic and so exciting to run through the neighborhood,” he said. “I saw friends who were volunteers and kids that made signs of inspiration. My family was there. Being from Bay Ridge, I love it so much.”

Bay Ridge residents also cheered on local teachers who participated in the race.

Bay Ridge Prep teachers Erik Fezzuoglio, Natasha Hazell and Lisa Neesemann finished the race, as did alumnus Patrick McTague who joined his former instructors.

Over at St. Ephrem School, physical education teacher Claudia Nigro, Title I math teacher Camille Mainolfi and mothers Stefanie Fadel and Gadeer Giordano also participated.

According to the school, Mainolfi crossed the finish line in Central Park at 4:43:49, Fadel at 4:51:04, Giordano at 4:51:08, and Nigro at 5:05:04.

Members of the school community had gathered in front of the Mathis home at Bay Ridge Parkway and Seventh Avenue to cheer on the runners.

“I can’t believe it!” said Giordano on her Instagram account. “It was always my dream to run in the NYC Marathon. I can’t begin to thank my St. E’s family for coming and cheering us on today!”



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