The New York City Marathon is the weekend and for the first time in years, I didn't make the uber competitive lottery and won't be running it (here's my not-too-swift race history).
There's something life changing about the marathon that extends far beyond the simple fact that one has run 26.2 miles.
I was a running coach for years and the people on my teams usually marked their first marathon with a milestone - a significant birthday, a marriage (or divorce), a birth (or death), the survival of a life-threatening illness.
Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais wrote a really wonderful essay for The Huffington Post on how running saved his life. In the piece, Blais tells the tale of an overweight, down-on-his luck chef who started running to woo a girl. Like a good fairy tale, the man wound up happily married, successful, and in shape.
On Sunday, Blais will run to raise money and awareness to
help fight childhood obesity with five other first-time runners (if you
want to donate click here).
Blais isn't the only celebrity chef to pony up to the start line on Sunday. According to the New York Road Runner's Club, Nate Appleman (chef on Chopped All Stars) and Joe Bastianich (restaurateur and MasterChef judge) will join Blais in Staten Island, where the 26.2 mile tour of all five boroughs of New York City begins.
When they reach the finish line, they will join the list of other
celebrity chefs who have completed a marathon including Gordon Ramsay,
who completed ten consecutive London Marathons and Bobby Flay, who completed last year's NYC Marathon with a time of 4:01:37.
If you're counting famous foodies, Jared Fogle, the Subway guy, completed the NYC Marathon last year with a time of 5:13:28.
Running and cooking are a great fit. As Blais writes in his story, "I
highly recommend this to any chefs reading out there. It is nice to get a
little air in the middle of a long shift and the adrenaline propels you
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into dinner service!" Plus it makes it easier to stay in shape after
spending 12 hours tasting food.
If you would like to monitor Richard Blais' progress on the course, check out the NYC Marathon's website here.