Greg Waters feels unprepared for the New York Marathon, but there’s no way the JPMorgan executive director is going to miss this opportunity to run his first marathon.
“There is going to be something a bit more special about the 2013 marathon because there was no marathon last year and also because of the Boston tragedy. All eyes will be on this marathon and I would hate to have had a chance to do it and then just wimp out last minute,” he said.
And so Waters, a born and raised New Yorker, will be one of 48,000 runners in the famous 26.2-mile race on Sunday, even though he says he isn’t really an athlete.
“I’m carrying 10 more pounds than I should, I’ve continued to drink socially, and I’ve cut short a few training runs,” he said.
Greg picked up running back in 2008 in order to lose weight. Convinced by a friend to take on longer distances, he signed up for the Queens half marathon in 2011, and that’s when he got really into running.
“It’s funny because I remember running and not thinking I could. I finished it and got the bug to run more. So I started running 5k’s and half marathons and then I started volunteering at races,” he said.
Waters applied to run in the New York Marathon and was surprised when he qualified. He thought about deferring until 2014 because he was not consistent enough with his training, but considering the significance of the first NY Marathon after the Hurricane Sandy cancelation in 2012 and the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, he decided to go for it.
“Boston will be on my mind so will the cancelation of last year’s NYC Marathon. Boston was such a tragedy but it hasn’t deterred me or my friends from running this year. If anything, it motivates us to perform better, and work harder,” he said.
Waters found a training schedule online and used that as a guideline to keep him on track for marathon Sunday.
“I compete against myself every time I run. I am always looking to one up myself. I keep a log of all the races I run in and my finishing times on a little excel spreadsheet. It’s helpful because prior to a race I can look at my history and I tell myself ‘OK, you have got to do better,'” he said.
Whenever he felt at most risk of dropping out of the marathon he visited this list and looked at all the miles he had already logged thus far.
“I realised that for every mile that I already ran would have just been a wasted mile if I didn’t do what I am going to do on Sunday,” he said.
At least the Marathon has roaring crowds to inspire the runners and incredible sights along the way.
“What I’m very excited about with this whole race is that I know I am going to see more of the city than I have in 4 hours than my entire life. I’ll go through neighborhoods that I use to live in and neighborhoods that I’ve only ever visited to bar hop at night. I think I’ll appreciate living in this city a lot more than I ever have after this marathon.”
Ready or not, Waters is going to do his best.
“Marathon Sunday is here and I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I will be among 48,000 other runners this Sunday some of whom are the best athletes in the world and others who have inspirational stories to tell. I am humbled to race with them all,” he wrote on a Facebook post.
Below is an image of his training calendar, with missed days in red and partial days in yellow.