You will remember my friend Ashley. She is a running buddy of mine who moved to Nashville a couple of years ago.
In 2006, Ashley paced me the last ten miles to my then-PR at the NYCM. She also enabled me to finish the infamous Chicago 26.2 mile "Fun Run" in 2007 by finding me walking disconsolately at MP 24, barely ahead of the No-More-Running Police who were out on the course, and jogging me the rest of the way in. (I was sick when I ran that marathon, which didn't help with the 90 degree heat that day.) I hated her for the 17 minutes it took us to go the last two miles, but loved her afterwards for finding me and bringing me home.
Overcoming a continuing spate of injuries, and despite a current injury, Ashley ran her first marathon last weekend at the NYCM. She threw down a 4:14 while thoroughly enjoying her run, stopping to take pictures, text, high-five people, etc. She feels she could have gone faster (she was injured) but that's a good ground floor if she continues on in marathoning.
She had a wonderful experience, and who wouldn't at the NYCM? It is my favorite marathon, bar none. But there's more to the story.
Two posts ago I indicated how excited I was to hear that an American had won at New York for the first time since 1982. An American, Meb Keflezighi, who ran shoulder-to-shoulder with the best Kenyan in the world at MP 24 and then vanquished him in Central Park. Meb won convincingly in a PR of 2:09:15.
In my post, I included a picture of me with Meb a few days after he ran a sub-2:10 at this year's London Marathon. Meb is back.
At a post-race party in New York, Ashley met Meb herself. She said it was utterly thrilling. Ashley is the one on the left.