Faces of AWNY: Mel Bickford preparing to run the 2014 NYC Marathon

AWNY Committee member Mel Bickford jagged an entry for the NY Marathon at short notice. Here are her thoughts on preparing for the big run on Sunday morning. Good luck Mel.

I couldn’t quite believe it when a colleague casually mentioned he could put me in touch with someone who might have a charity bid spot open in the 2014 New York City Marathon.

This has been my dream…since…umm… forever?

I knew this was an opportunity I needed to act on fast. Never mind the fact that the marathon was a mere 69 days out at this point and I’d been existing on a New York diet of too much fun and not enough sleep. Heck, the thought of running 5 miles in one go was daunting.

Knowing I had the experience of completing the Melbourne Marathon 2 years ago did give me some degree of confidence that I could do this though. So I got to work. I connected with Minds Matter NYC, a charity with the mission to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.

I snapped up that charity spot, registered for the race and immediately emailed my incredible running coach back home in Australia. He reminded me I could do this. “Remember though, even if you miss one of your four runs each week, that’s a whole 25% of your training”… The words jumped off the page and literally pushed me out the door to Central Park. Just start with one full lap and take it from there, I thought.

My training regime has been steady over the past couple of months and I’ve gradually built up my long runs. I ran the Hamptons Half Marathon in September to help me prepare. I would highly recommend this as a training race for anyone looking to participate in the NYC Marathon. It’s a great excuse for a vacation weekend while the weather is still nice too.  I’m almost positive I never got to that fourth run each week though. Sorry coach.

From all reports The New York Marathon stops the entire city in its tracks. The course weaves around the five boroughs and the streets are lined with supporters. Over 50,000 people ran in the event last year.

The entire experience so far has felt like such a well oiled machine. There’s even an official TCS New York City Marathon app so your supporters can track your whereabouts as you progress through the course (my race number is 33845). Huge thanks to my wonderful family, friends and colleagues who’ve contributed to my fundraising goal and supported my training.

I’m excited about the 26.2 mile adventure that lies ahead of me this Sunday and it’s an absolute privilege to be running in support of such a worthy cause. Good luck to all other runners!

Find out more about my New York City Marathon journey over on my Crowdrise fundraising page.