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Ridgeites welcome marathoners warmly

It was off to the race once again!

The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon was yet another big hit among runners from near and far. The competitive race, which featured 50,000 runners, 12,000 volunteers, and legions of supporters from the five boroughs, saw some firsts and continued the city’s storied tradition for the 26.2 miles long race.

Locally, Brooklynites were out in full force supporting the runners.

Bay Ridge’s own Ridge Runners were stationed at 82nd Street and Fourth Avenue offering support and refreshments.

Sunset Park native, military veteran and actor in FOX’s hit show “Gotham” J.W. Cortes participated and finished the race.

“It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done,” he said. “I learned a lot of lessons from my first marathon. At the end of it, I didn’t expect I would feel so many emotions spilling out of me in the way that they did. Brooklyn was represented in a tremendous way. That motivated me and it was great to see fellow Sunset Parkers out there yelling my name. Having my family and my two sons watch me as I crossed the finish line meant a great deal to me and hopefully they’ll remember it and find some inspiration in that.”

Why did Cortes participate? He recalled that he had been asked by the Semper Fi Fund to run in the Marine Corps Marathon on their behalf, but didn’t think he was in shape to run the taxing marathon. Instead he ran in a 10k.

“That didn’t sit well with me and I said I’ve got to do better than this,” he explained. “So I looked at the New York City Marathon and saw that I had 11 weeks to get ready, so I signed up as a member of the Semper Fi Fund team. I decided that if I made it about something else other than me, I could find a way to muster up the strength to endure the 10-plus weeks of training to make a good showing and that’s what I did.”

Cortes said he found motivation in Semper Fi Fund and other veterans. “I was in D.C. with medal of honor recipient Kyle Carpenter who I thought of throughout most of my run,” he said. “He’s the youngest medal of honor recipient who jumped on a grenade.”

He added that  running in the Marathon was a dream of his. “As a young kid, I adored the movie ‘Rocky.’ I remember him running through the streets of Philadelphia,” Cortes said. “I fantasized about that as a youngster. To run through Sunset Park and hear people call my name was a dream come true and to see young people’s faces when they recognized me was awesome. Not only am I planning on doing it again but I want to get a team of Sunset Parkers and Brooklynites in general to run it with me.”

Among the elite runners, on the women’s side, Oregon native and 36-year-old Olympian Shalane Flanagan took top honors with a record time of 2:26:53. This marks the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon since 1977. For the men, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won with a time of 2:10:53.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the Wheelchair Division for a consecutive year with 1:37:21. Manuela Schar, also from Switzerland, won the women’s side with a time of 1:48:09.


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