Many of the famous faces in attendance were running for a cause.
Written by: Cielestia Calbay
Out of the 47,000 runners who took over the streets of New York last weekend in the New York City Marathon, 15 were famous faces, many of which were running for a cause.
Among the athletes in the crowd were Olympic medalists Jennie Finch and Apolo Anton Ohno, both first-time marathoners. The two had said there is a stereotype that Olympians would thrive in any athletic challenge given their elite training background, though both agreed taking on the race was just as an obstacle as anybody new to the 26.2-miler.
Finch, who pitched for the USA national softball team and the Chicago Bandits, partnered with Timex to support the New York Road Runners Youth Programs. Timex donated $1 for every person Finch passed on the course. She crossed the finish line with a time of 4:05:26, passing an estimated 30,000 and raising $30,000 for the organization that serves more than 100,000 children.
“I always told myself I’d run a marathon after softball to continue to keep goals,” said Finch, who welcomed her second child in June. “I didn’t plan for it to be just four months after I gave birth, but it was a great way to kick my body back into shape.”
Finch, who worked with running coach Susan Davis, says her biggest challenge leading up to the race was finding the time to train and getting used to cross-training, which wasn’t part of the norm for softball routines.
For short-track speedskater Ohno, his challenge was going from a white-fiber athlete who focused on intervals to a red-fiber athlete who can endure the miles. Ohno partnered with Subway to support the Special Olympics by raising $26,200 if he finished in under fours. His final time was 3:25:13 — five minutes faster than his original target time of 3:30.
“The last 6.2 miles were killer but the support is what pushes people to go race,” said Ohno.
Other celebrity finishers include: supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, who finished in 4:20:47 for Every Mother Counts; restaurateur Joe Bastianich, who finished in 3:47:03 for Grana Padano; “Survivor” winner Ethan Zohn, who finished in 4:20:46 for Grassroots Soccer; and former Stanley Cup champion Mark Meissier, who finished in 4:14:21 for Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund and Answer the Call.