Editor's note: This story originally appeared at Runnersworld.com.
If Game 4 of the World Series goes as long as Game 1 did on Tuesday night -- finishing past 1 a.m. ET after 14 innings -- David Cohen will be lucky to catch a couple of hours of sleep before he heads to the New York City Marathon starting line on Staten Island.
Cohen, 49, is the executive vice president and general counsel for the New York Mets. Game 4 of the MLB championship series between the Mets and the Kansas City Royals is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday on the Mets’ home turf of Citi Field in Queens, New York.
Watching the game from his home in New Rochelle, New York -- a 25-minute drive from the stadium -- is not an option, even if the team’s late-season rally wreaks havoc on Cohen’s plans to do his first marathon in nearly 20 years.
“Back when I signed up for a fall marathon, people weren’t expecting us to make the playoffs,” Cohen told Runner’s World. Then the trade deadline at the end of July changed everything for the Mets.
The team made several strong roster moves, picking up key players like outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. By early August, the Mets swept their East Division rivals, the Washington Nationals, and moved into a tie for first place.
“Then I knew I had a marathon problem,” Cohen said.
Cohen’s originally scheduled fall race was the Hartford Marathon on Oct. 10. He realized in September that Hartford was looking unlikely because of the team’s hot streak, and he turned out to be correct, because the Mets played the Los Angeles Dodgers that day in a National League Division Series game, in Los Angeles. (He is fortunate to travel with the team for some postseason trips.)
So Cohen reached out to his friend, Jessica Berman, who is a vice president and deputy general counsel for the National Hockey League. Berman helps organize her charity team, Train the Brain, to support the Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, New York, with the purpose of promoting brain health through exercise and funding research and treatment for brain repair.
Fortunately for Cohen, Berman was down a member of her charity team in 2015 because of an injury, so a spot was open. Cohen’s only hesitation was running the NYC Marathon again.
“It was horrible. So painful,” Cohen said about his past two NYC Marathons in 1995 (3:42) and 1996 (3:44). “I had the unfortunate timing of running what had to be two of the coldest NYC Marathons on record.” (In 1995, it was the coldest race on record with a low of 5 degrees Fahrenheit.)
When he finished the second one -- also freezing -- he told his future wife, Erika, to promise that she’d never let him run another 26.2. She kept that promise for 19 years.
Running the NYC Marathon for a great cause. It's also Gm 5 of the WS. https://t.co/bAetiwzz56. Gonna be a long day!!!— Dave Berni (@DBerni33) October 24, 2015
Marathons might have been out of the question, but the lifelong runner never stopped training. Cohen, who has three kids, always squeezed in weekend runs of 6 to 10 miles. When he heard that Berman had resolved to run the marathon last year, it spurred him on to try going the distance one more time before he turns 50 next month.
When he committed back in January to do a fall race, Cohen pulled out his old training plans from 20 years ago and started logging longer runs. He kicked up his training six months out and says he feels in great shape for the race. He’d like to run between 4:00 and 4:15.
Cohen isn’t the only Mets employee facing the same game-time decision concerning an early-morning race. The New York Daily News reported earlier this week that an assistant clubhouse manager, David Berni, is slated to run.
Like a lot of Mets fans, Cohen would love to see an ace like Steven Matz, the probable starting pitcher for the Mets on Saturday, mow down the Royals in quick order. If Cohen times it right -- or leaves before the final out -- he can beat traffic and race home for, at best, four to five hours of sleep.
“I could also wind up here until 2 a.m,” he said. “If that happens, I’ll be a tired runner, but hopefully the adrenaline will kick in for the race.”
In case there’s another extra-inning thriller, he knows it’s best to have his gear packed and ready.