Voice of the fan: 2016 New York City Marathon

Approximately 50,000 runners took to the streets of New York City's five boroughs Sunday for the city's 40th marathon since the race expanded from Central Park to being the world's largest block party. The sunny fall weather brought out an even greater number of spectators, who eagerly lined the blocks for a glimpse of the wheelchair racers, elites and weekend warriors. Here's a look at a few of them, all of whom conceded that it's far easier to watch a marathon than to run one.

Mary Pilon

Ciara O'Sullivan, Jeannine Marotta, Elizabeth Marotta and Jon Barratt

espnW: What brought you out today?

Jeannine Marotta: We're here for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, an amazing cause. We're here to support the runners and cyclists.

Ciara O'Sullivan: I'm just a volunteer.

Elizabeth Marotta: I'm here for moral support! I live in the area [Park Slope] and we come every year.

Jeannine Marotta: Will Reeve is running this year in honor of his parents, so we're here to support him too.

Jon Barratt: Did you see that guy go by? Look how fast he's going!

Elizabeth Marotta: That's insane.

Mary Pilon

Kevin Collier and Dan Finklang

Finklang: My wife is running today. This is her 30th marathon.

espnW: What?

Finklang: Yeah, she's incredible. We're from St. Louis.

Collier: My girlfriend is running it today, and I'm a running coach in St. Louis. So the people that are running from St. Louis, we're cheering for them. I think in our group there's five or six people running today.

espnW: What's your strategy for spectating today?

Collier: We're going to watch the elites here (in Brooklyn), then we'll head up to mile 16.

Finklang: When they come off the bridge, it's really loud there. There's so much energy.

espnW: From a coaching perspective, what are the best and worst parts of the race?

Collier: I think for many people, this will be their first major race where they've ran with this many people and they are used to; I think their big thing is they're going to get overwhelmed with the crowd support. I remember when I ran Chicago, it was the second time I ran it this year and even for me, it gets your heart beating, you get the adrenaline. The big thing I tell people is to keep your pace even, keep within yourself. Acknowledge the crowd because that's part of the experience, but keep within yourself otherwise you'll blow out your energy and you still have the rest of the race to go.

The other sneaky thing is because people think Manhattan is an island that it's not going to be hilly, but I think there are some sneaky hills here that can take away your strength. They've been training for it, but overall I think it's the sheer amount of runners. 

Finklang: Logistics are also difficult. My wife was on the bus at 6 a.m. and doesn't start running until 10:30 a.m. With our normal training, she's done at 10:30. It's a beautiful day though, so that makes it easier. Everyone is just so excited for the race. You go to some places, they don't know there's a race going on, but here, everywhere you see, people are wearing jackets, running.

Collier: As runners, we really appreciate cities that embrace the craziness that is marathon running, so it's great to see all these people out.

Finklang: We're meeting so many people here from all over. We're from St. Louis, but they're from really far away.

espnW: What are the celebration plans?

Finklang: We're staying near Times Square, so there are many fun places to walk around.

espnW: You're going to make them walk after this?

Finklang: It's only one more mile! We can sit down and have a drink after too.

Collier: I don't think it will hit them right away. They'll be so amped up. Tomorrow on the plane ride home, they'll probably be very sore and stiff.

Mary Pilon

Alexandra Jamieson and Laken Spurlock

espnW: Who are you cheering for today?

Jamieson: We're cheering for everybody. We didn't have anyone in specific we came out for. We live in the neighborhood. We watched his grandmother run a couple of years ago.

espnW: How did you guys get ready this morning?

Jamieson: Why did I make you get up so early?

Spurlock: Um, I don't remember.

Jamieson: We had a big breakfast. Waffles and bacon. I want to see the wheelchair racers because it reminds me there are no f---ing excuses.

Spurlock: Mom! You owe me a dollar!

Jamieson: I get choked up about it! They inspire me!

Spurlock: Still, you owe me a dollar. No cursing, Mom, remember?

Jamieson: Sorry, I get excited.

espnW: What's the furthest you've ever run?

Spurlock: Half a mile.

espnW: Do you know how long a marathon is?

Spurlock: 24 miles?

espnW: Close. It's 26.2 miles. Do you think you could run that?

Spurlock: No!

Jamieson: No, just not yet!

Mary Pilon

Donna and Don Caravella

espnW: Who is Jeff?

Don Caravella: He's our son and this is his first marathon. He lives in Boston, actually. We live in Connecticut. We came for the day and just got off the train. We have three planned stops. We're in Brooklyn, First and 66th and Fifth Ave and 86th Street.

espnW: Has either of you run a marathon?

Don and Donna Caravella: No.

espnW: Do you think your son is crazy?

Don and Donna Caravella: Yes!

Don Caravella: He does triathlons, so this is an extension of that. We've caffeinated, we'll pick up some food along the way. We got up at 4:30 this morning. We're going to meet him back at his hotel and going to eat. He's going to be starving.

espnW: What's the Syracuse connection?

Don Caravella: He went to Syracuse.

Donna Caravella: We paid a lot of money to be able to wear these sweatshirts.

Mary Pilon

Lorrine and John O'Kane

Lorrine O'Kane: What's going on?

espnW: The New York Marathon.

Lorrine: Oh! We're just visiting from Ireland. We wanted to see Central Park.

John O'Kane: Just here for vacation. Five days.

espnW: Do you think you'd ever run a marathon?

John O'Kane: Possibly. Maybe.

Lorrine O'Kane: Oh, I don't know. We have the Dublin Marathon. But this is much bigger.

espnW: Is it more inspirational to watch the elite Olympic runners? Or the everyday weekend warriors?

Lorrine O'Kane: Definitely the everyday people. They're just like us. And they're running a marathon? It makes me feel hopeful.

Mary Pilon

Elizabeth Medhin

Medhin: I'm here for Ghirmay Ghebreslassie. He won the world championships in China last year and was fourth in Brazil. I'm an American, but originally from Eritrea. It's a big day. [Note: Ghebreslassie won the race with a time of 2:07:51.]

espnW: Do you run?

Medhin: I used to, when I was young. Never a marathon though.

espnW: How did you get into the sport as a spectator?

Medhin: It's a famous sport in my country. I love watching it, and I love watching Meb Keflezighi. I'm a fan of his. He's from Eritrea. I come every year. I never miss the marathon.

espnW: How many years?

Medhin: Ten. And I always come to the same spot, near the finish line.

espnW: How has it changed over the years?

Medhin: Nothing. The fun is still there.

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