Forty-seven-thousand athletes from all over the world will participate in this year’s New York City marathon on November 6. And, there may be 47,000 stories about the runners from this famous race.
It’s like a tsunami of athletes on the first Sunday of every November. They come from every corner of the globe - most not for personal glory, but for the thrill of competing or raising money for charity or honoring their fellow citizens.
Michele King Gonzalez is 30 years old and lives near the start of the race in Staten Island. Gonzalez is back home after being deployed to Iraq three times. She began training for marathon running in Iraq.
"Running while I was deployed also helped me deal with stress and the homesickness of being deployed. It allowed me every day to get up from my desk and go for a run, clear my head and just be alone with my thoughts," she said.
Gonzalez is running in support of injured Iraqi veterans.
Since coming home she married, had a child - A.J.- and uses running to stay fit and relaxed.
In addition, she makes her mother Linda King proud.
“So happy that she’s home safely, so happy for the cause that she’s running. Win or lose this, she’s a winner already always in my eyes just for who she is. Very excited,” King said.
Twenty-four family members of the heroes who lost their lives on United Airlines Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11, will run in this year’s marathon.
One of the marathoners is Christine "Kiki" Homer of New York. Her brother, LeRoy Homer was the co-pilot of Flight 93.
"I draw my inspiration from the collective, from the group. We have come together, reunited by a common cause, there something about Flight 93, and our heroes that bring us together," she said.
Homer says she will be thinking about her brother Le Roy - and what he went through on that day in 2001 - as she puts one foot in front of the other.
And just knowing AJ is waiting for her at the finish line in New York’s Central Park, will motivate Gonzalez to get there as fast as possible.