One of my goals for 2018 was to gain entry into the TCS New York City Marathon. On an absolutely freezing cold New Years Eve, I completed my last race requirement to fulfill NYRR’s 9 + 1 program. Even though I could barely feel a single body part, I was so excited crossing the finish line, knowing I’d already achieved this major goal, less than an hour into the New Year.

On Monday, I accepted my guaranteed entry and made it official. This will be my 3rd New York City Marathon, so I have some idea of what to expect. I am most excited about running my favorite borough, Brooklyn. This past November I volunteered at one of the most boisterous spots along the course in Clinton Hill. My friend Nicole and I worked the Mile 9 fluid station located just outside the best brownstone in all of Brooklyn on race day. And it. was. epic.

These guys have been hosting for 14 years, cooking food, boozing and essentially throwing the best block party of all time in marathon history. It was such a cool experience watching them set up, chatting with them (in the short moments it wasn’t totally crazy), and eventually chowing down on some of the most amazing food. The tenants were out and about, decorating and cooking by 7 am, just as we were building tables and setting up towers of water cups in preparation for the 50,000+ runners. And by the time the first set of wheelchair participants came zooming by, they were out front banging their cowbells, 3 mimosas deep.

They took incredible care of us volunteers, offering waffles and drinks and tons of other ridiculous “block party” noshes. Their crowd is so deep you can barely pass on the sidewalk and they all spill out onto the street, almost encroaching on runners as they shout any name visible to them. 

It’s a whirlwind of people, snare drums, music, cheering, cups, and cowbells and some of the most contagious energy I’ve ever caught. Next year will be their 15th year hosting and instead of standing on the sidelines screaming strangers names like they're family and passing out water, I’ll be one of 50,000 runners racing by.