NORWICH – On Sunday, Norwich resident Diane DiStefano will line up with 45,000 runners from across the world to take part in 40th annual New York City Marathon.
A crowd of more than two million people is expected to cheer her on, along with the Olympic athletes, celebrities and thousands of others who will race the 26.2 mile marathon through each of the city’s five boroughs.
“When I make my bucket list in 20 years, I’ll get to cross this one off. It’s a race like no other, running through all the five boroughs, between the rich and poor areas and the diverse cultural communities. It’s more like traveling through different countries,” said DiStefano.
Being one of the largest and perhaps the most famous marathons in the nation, the event annually draws more than 100,000 applicants each year with organizers admitting about a third of those requests. DiStefano applied to participate in the race in January and was accepted through a public lottery in April.
“I checked my e-mail and I was like ‘Oh my God I got in.’ I know people who have tried for years to get in,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the sights and sounds of the city. You’ll see things during the race that you wouldn’t be able to see if you were just sight seeing, and there will be more people than I’ll ever see in my life.”
In an effort to get more exercise, DiStefano began running casually in March 2009 with no intention of ever participating in a marathon. A full-time practicing attorney and a married mother of two, the 39-year-old seems surprised to be telling loved ones she’s currently in “the best shape of her life.”
DiStefano now finds her recreational activity moving to the center of her personal life. She is often joined in her runs by her 10-year-old son Parker and her two step-daughters, 21-year-old Mary Frances Dean and 18-year-old Abby Dean. The daughters hope to participate in their own marathons in the near future, said DiStefano.
She said her husband, also an attorney, Aaron Dean, has long offered his support for her running passion. After a recent death in the family, she now finds Sunday’s event bringing her loved ones even closer together...