money, money, money

I'm heading to NYC for the marathon tomorrow. This trip has been on the calendar for many months. Of course in the last three days New York has endured a devastating storm, so the logistics and tone of the trip had shifted for sure. But none-the-less Sally and I are headed out. Sally will be running the NYC marathon to raise money for Every Mother Counts with Team EMC. And I will be cheering my rogas off!

I called my grandparents while I inched towards home on the parking lot called Aurora/Viaduct the other night. When I told my grandfather, known to me (and therefore you) as Tony, I was headed to watch the NYCmarathon he reminisced that in 1980 he drove with my dad down to NYC. They both ran the marathon. My dad had an elite entry. His dream was to make the Olympic Trials until I surprised both my parents in 1983. Surprise! Anyway, my dad had the elite start and Tony started back in one of the waves.

I wanted some more details on this elite NYCM start, and since my drive was turning out to be an epic crawl, I got my dad on the phone. He laughed at the memory. Ah, he said, the money marathon.

He remembered his place and time, 51st, 2:23. One of his first break-through marathons. There would have been a much faster marathon, but that's the infamous 'vaseline in the shoes' marathon...a running-moral story of "don't try something new on race day". A story for another day.

Anyway, I wondered how much money he'd won in New York. Turns out he wasn't talking about prize money.

The morning of race he left the hotel and headed to the start with a $20 bill to buy a coffee. What he didn't think about until after he had his coffee and now no longer a $20, but a handful of small bills, was what was he going to do with the change? No pockets, and too many bills to slide into a shoe.

So he pinned his 18 loose dollars to his bib number. Neighborhood after neighborhood he said that kids would spot the money fluttering from his bib number and run after him shouting, "money! money! money!" And so NYCM is ... the money marathon.

left: my dad, age 26, racing uphill in central park, mile 23 or 24 into the wind with the money pinned;
right: 1980 NYCM race shirt and photo of lead pack

Three years after this race I arrived on the planet, and 29 years later I'll be watching the "money marathon". I can't wait. Maybe someday it will be my turn to race it....

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@smariemack) for all the updates I can manage!


  1. That is an awesome story! And I love that you can see the money in the picture, too!

    NYC is going to be even more historic this year than usual, thanks to Sandy. Good luck navigating around the city and have fun cheering!

  2. so cool! great story and great time for you dad!! have a great trip! cheer for me if you see me! haha

  3. Aw, what a fantastic story! I got a little teary.. LOL.. I'm such a sap!

  4. What an awesome story! You come from a very talented running family. I have no doubts that someday you WILL be running NYC!

  5. Great story, Mac - love it! My dad was also a runner and I too got in the way of running dreams when (surprise!) I showed up in 1987... it is great to share those running stories with our dads :) Thinking of you and Sally this weekend!! #sistersinsport

  6. love this post Sarah! have a good trip in NYC!

  7. Sorry to hear no cheering as just as soon as it was on, the race was off again. One day you will run it though! Love the story about your dad! #SistersinSport


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