Running Happy in New York

With the out of shape among us gazing in wonder, many agency folks turned out to run the New York Marathon on Nov. 5. Some even finished it.

“You feel like you’re at the center of a parade,” says Neil Powell of the last mile of the race, which he ran in 2:53, faster than his four previous runs. With fans bellowing his name (he had penned it on his shirt), the 33-year-old Fallon managing partner soaked up the flavor, from the Latin music in Brooklyn to the quiet watchfulness of the Hasidic Jews in Williams burg. He did a double take in Harlem when someone yelled his last name. Turning, he saw Fallon creative chief Jamie Barrett and his wife Beth urging him on.

A salt bagel and a new shirt at mile 13 helped Young & Rubicam’s Andy Gregory finish his first marathon at 4:15. Gregory, 29, a financial business manager, played shamelessly to the crowd, switching devilishly from a Giants football cap to a Mets cap in the Bronx. In Long Island City, he stopped briefly to chat with the priest who married him and his wife.

The madness brought out-of-towners, too. “I love New York, I’ve always watched the race and have even passed out oranges,” says Annie Pruitt of Trahan, Bruden & Charles in Baltimore, who ran her first New York Marathon in 4:25. Pruitt loved the nutty fans, who “embarrassed runners of every walk of life,” but doesn’t see a repeat performance in the cards. “It was a perfect day, tons of fun, I was not injured and nothing will ever top it,” she says.

Mark Rockett of The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with his wife in about four and a half hours. It was his first marathon and her fifth. Along the way they saw newlyweds, Elvis and Superman impersonators and a man dressed as a cigarette with a pillow made to look like a patch. “I don’t know what his message was,” Rockett says.

Will he do it again? “I don’t know if the body is meant to run that far,” he admits wearily. ARCHIVE PHOTOS/PICTURE QUEST