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Team Leader
Amy Freeze
Amy began running at age 8 with her father, and ran cross country and track growing up in Indiana. This will be her 7th marathon. Her first was in the snow.

Follow her on Twitter @AmyFreeze7

Check out her FreezeFront blog!

Technical Coach
Jay Holder
Jay has been running since he realized he was the least-coordinated person on the planet and couldn't possibly play a sport that involved a stick or a ball. He has run 5 marathons with a PR of 2:40:28, finishing in the top 100 of the 2012 Boston Marathon. He is proudest of his 2012 NYC Half-Marathon PR of 1:11:19.

Follow him on Twitter @JayHolder8K

Check out his blog, TheJauntingJournalist

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Raised to Run

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Teamabc7 Many members of the Eyewitness News Team have completed the NYC Marathon over the years - look for their stories and memorable accounts here on the blog. Meteorologist Amy Freeze and Eyewitness News Producer Jay Holder will lead our blog coverage, but we invite you to post comments, send in ideas and share your own marathon stories. Good luck in your 2012 ING NYC Marathon!  


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Raised to Run: Ellen Hart

I met Ellen Hart while I was living in Denver while I was training for my very first marathon.  She was more than fast.  I admire her for her strength beyond running.  Overcoming obstacles, being a working mother, and always a friend on the race course!  Here is a great article on her and below are her thoughts on running.  This will be her first ING NYC Marathon! 

Ellen Hart

Amy Freeze:  What are the reasons behind your runs?  You have returned to competitive running!

Ellen Hart:  I run because it makes me feel good. Now, not every run feels good, but overall, there is never a day that I don't feel better after I've gone running, than I did before. It makes my body, my mind and my heart feel better. I seldom run with music (only when I'm on a treadmill), so I have lots of time for thinking on a run. Sometimes I have a worry or a problem to figure out, but usually I let my mind wander where it will. It's as if the bucket of stuff gets sorted somehow, settles itself into an order I might not have discovered on my own. I think I was put on the earth for a few reasons. One of them is running--I never have to question the "rightness" of running. When I feel strong and fast, I exult in the capabilities of the human body. When I feel slow and hunched over, I am grateful for the quality of persistence, and the opportunity just to be able to run at all (one of my sisters has MS). When I am in a period of running consistently (there have been injuries and children requiring time off) I like how my body responds to the demands of the activity. I like breathing hard, I like muscles.

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Ellen Hart" »

Raised to Run: Chris Meadows

Last year, my marathon training partner was Curt Nuncio. You can read what I wrote about him last year before our race. READ about CURT HERE
There are those that will be missed on the course during this year's race for many reasons.  Curt is one of them. Curt passed away suddenly in March.  These are some thoughts from his sister. 
Curt Nuncio and Chris Meadows

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Chris Meadows" »

Raised to Run: Swag Hartel

By Amy Freeze

I first started running with my dad - who was a “middle of the packer” but that didn’t keep him for admiring the guys that won the races. My Dad made sure that I learned how to run from the very best.  While "learning to run" might seem like a funny statement.  There are tricks of the trade - and learning them from other runners is an ongoing eneavor for me.  The summer after my first Mini Marathon I attended a running camp put on by the legendary Swag Hartel. I joined other preteens learning form, how to run sprints, drinking just enough water before races and how to chose the right shoes. I still think about the simple, basic tips Swag taught me during that camp that I use today:

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Swag Hartel" »


Raised to Run: Bart Yasso

I love Bart Yasso.  He's a great human being.  I "met" him as a reader of Runners World.  I first saw him in person at a Running Expo in Philadelphia where he was so popular - you had to wait in line to say "Hi!"   Then I was lucky enough to interview him for TV segments. When I invited him to be on our MEDIA RELAY TEAM - he agreed, showed up, and was the life of the party.  If you don't know Bart, your running experience is not complete. Consider this your introduction.  Meet Bart Yasso...

"Running isn’t about how far you go but how far you’ve come"

“The reward is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey.  It’s not only about finishing, it’s about moving forward."

Tips from Bart Yasso on Race Preparations

  • Try to get to bed early Friday. If you’re unable to sleep well Saturday night, don’t worry about it. You might even be less groggy if you’ve been awake for hours before start of a marathon.
  •  Eat several smaller meals throughout the day on Saturday. Leave a banana or energy bar out the night before the race. If you do wake up at 3 a.m., take a bite and go back to sleep.
  • When you get to the starting line, take a minute to think how fortunate you are to be able to run a marathon, both physically and culturally.

BartYAssoAMY FREEZE:  Bart!  You are the undisputed King of Road Racing?  Everyone loves you and knows you on the racing circuit. How did u start running?

BART YASSO:  When I started running I started dreaming about what I wanted most out of life. I knew I wanted to travel around the world, experience exotic locations and different cultures. Did you run in High School? I didn’t run in high school. I played lots other sports in my younger years but I made a critical error and chose the path of alcohol and drugs. I was very lucky to gravitate towards in 1977 which could have saved my life.

AMY FREEZE:  You travel so muh and are always on the go! What are your current current running habits

BART YASSO:  I have running goals but none of them are related to racing. My goals are to motivate and engage people that never thought they would be a runner.

AMY FREEZE:  I'm convinced you have run every race on the planet... what's your most favorite of all your favorites?!?

BART YASSO: Comrades ultra marathon in South Africa. The oldest and largest ultra marathon in the world.

AMY FREEZE:  You'v faced your own adversity in life... how have the health challenges affected your training and running?  And what advice do you have for those who must overcome challenges?

BART YASSO: I contracted Lyme disease twice, in 1990 and again in 1997. Running never helped my Lyme disease. Living with chronic Lyme is very painful. Doctors compare the symptoms to rheumatoid arthritis. My legs swell I limp around the office most days. I am still trying to figure out how to be a runner dealing with Lyme disease.

AMY FREEZE:  It might seem like a silly question but when you meet non runners they might sk you 'Why do you run?'

BART YASSO:  I know I feel more like myself when I run, even if it’s only a few miles, or at least I feel like the self I like best.

BART's Website HERE





Raised to Run: Des Davila

DESIREE DAVILA has had huge highs and certain lows in her running in the last two years... she got the fastest Boston time ever for an American woman and qualified for the Olympics but an injury forced her out of the race, a DNF in London.  One thing is clear, she's young and tough and has a great running career in front of her!  I hope we see her back at ING NYC Marathon in the future! Watching Des and hearing about her career is a huge motivation to take everything in stride.  One day you can be at your fastest PR, the next your dodging injuries... running is all about the journey.
I'm in the photo below on the far left, Des is just in front of me as we took a jog for this photo in Central Park to support the NYRR.  In 2011, Des finished in 2nd place at the Boston Marathon and set a 4 minute personal record. Her time of 2:22:38 is the fastest time ever run by an American woman in the Boston Marathon!

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Des Davila" »

Raised to Run: Scott Jurek

Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek

26.2 is childs play for this guy...

He's not just a marathoner.  He is an Ultramarathoner. And his secret to many miles is probably found in what he eats! I've watched hours of You Tube footage of Scott Jurek. There are loads of clips about how to do long trail running right with proper form... but most of the time I'm watching the clips I just wonder... how can someone run for 100 miles?  I'm in awe.

And he not only does it.  He is fast at it.  He has won the Western States Marathon 7 times... a 100 mile run, he's won SEVEN times. Personally, I think some people are born to run, Scott is one of them.  But I also see his free spirit as a huge bonus in this sport. Don't mistake his jubulation for flipancy... he is also crazy smart and has studied (degree in Physical therapy) how to use his body very efficiently.  He looks effortless when he runs!  I read the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall which chronicles the 2006 trip where Jurek traveled to Mexico's remote Copper Canyon to participate in a race against the native Tarahumara tribe. Jurek narrowly lost to the fastest Tarahumara runner, Arnulfo Quimare, but in 2007 Jurek returned to win the race.  The book is excellent!

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Scott Jurek" »


Raised to Run: Sarah Reinertsen


Always Tri

I was on my couch when I was first introduced to Sarah Reinertsen. It was the 2004 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon on TV. The single leg amputee from Huntington Long Island was one of the motivational features of the Triathlon's televised special... the broadcasters told the back story of how when she was just 7-years-old she had her leg amputated due to a tissue disorder.  She loved sports but because of her disability she was usually last to be chosen and struggled to compete. But the young Sarah had a fierce desire to try.  She became competitive with an individual sport - as a runner - going for her own Personal Best.  At the age of 21 she did her first NYC Marathon... the program I was watching was the 140-mile swim/bike/run IRONMAN HAWAII!  She did the swim, then the bike!  ...then the broadcast turned to a crushing disappointment as Sarah was disqualified when she failed to meet the qualifying time for the bike segment - over the time limit by just 15 minutes.  But.  Her story did not end there.  She tried again, and in 2005 came back to finish IRONMAN HAWAII in just over 15 hours. The first female single amputee to ever complete the race. Tri! 

I met Sarah in person the following year while she was in Chicago for a race. I introduced myself to her in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.  She was just as happy and spirited as I imagined she would be. Recently, I caught up her in NYC while she was training for this year's NYC ING Marathon which she will run with her husband.


It’s ironic talking to Sarah Reinertsen about obstacles that runners face in training.  Afterall, her challenge would prevent most people from ever entering a race.  Sarah told me. “I had to frame my life in a certain way.  I had a choice.  I  could sit and feel sorry for myself. It’s like the old adage glass half empty or half full I knew I had to live my life with the glass half full.” Because of a tissue disease, her leg was amputated when she was seven.   Sarah learned to run at the age of 11 when another amputee taught her.  And by the age of 21 – the NY native who grew up watching the great race every November - entered her first NYC marathon.  “The first time I did it on my walking  leg, it’s all I had.  I didn’t have a special leg.” Sarah says now she has a 36-thousand dollar specially made, custom leg.  Even though she lives in California with her husband, the Huntington native routinely come to get her leg adjusted through a company which is on Long Island close to where she grew up.   “I m still being raised in NY I guess you could say.”

The leg has a “c” curve. It’s designed like cheetah which is the fastest land animal.  The curved part is where is pushes off… it’s built just for running.”  Sarah says she also has legs for biking and high heels!  A fitting combination for Ironman Finisher – that’s the 140-mile swim bike run race in Hawaii if you were wondering.  “No woman on one leg had done it.  That became my throw down.   I wanted to show that a girl with one leg can do that too!”   It’s true.  Her can-do, always-tri, nothing is impossible attitude is how she began her first 26.2 mile race.  But she says the lessons she gets from a lifestyle on the run… are as precious as the race itself.  “They parallel the lessons of life.  We all have tough days in life.  But sometimes you just have to push through wall and  move forward.  And then come through on the other side. Just like in a marathon.”  Not surprising she wants a personal best for this marathon.  But she’s also running for the Challenged Athletes Foundationwhich funds athletes who need prostetic limbs. “I would like to go faster than 5 hours 27 minutes but my goal is to have others get into the race!”

SarahIf you run into challenges in training, Sarah’s advice:


  • Make a Goal and Stick to your Plan   
  • Stay Committed by Find a training buddy
  • Listen to your body - aches and pains
  • Don’t lose sight of your goal 
  • If you have injuries, Talk to your Doctor
  • Use equipment that works for your body



Sarah on why she works with the Challenged Athlete Foundation:

“I know the difference it (running) has made in my life. The power of sport is not about running a race better human being a fit strong person.”


Amy interviews Sarah

AMY:  What attracts you to the Marathon?

SARAH:  “The

 greater the distance, the greater the glory. That’s what makes crossing the finish line in Central Park so special.  It’s quite a long journey.  We always talk about race day, those 26 miles.  But it’s really all the miles you do during training.  When there are no crowds, when no one is cheering you on.  That is the hard part." 


AMY:  How do you stay motivated? Overcome Challenges? What inspires you to go on when you hit a wall?  

“Everybody has bad days.  we all have bad days  but you won’t experience great highs if you don’t go through a few lows. That’s part of the journey. That’s what the marathon is about, it’s about the total journey to get there. Marathoning gives us life lessons... the training, the injuries, the race.  They parallel the lessons of life.  We all have tough days in life.  But sometimes you just have to push through wall and  move forward.  And then come through on the other side. Just like in a marathon.” 

AMY:  Most people would see your situation as an obstacle.  Where does your light, your energy, your drive come from?

Amy F
Great Lawn Central Park

 SARAH:  "Because I grew up with my disability I had to frame my life in a certain way.  I had a choice. I could sit on courch and feel sorry for myself…  oh gosh I’m missing my leg, ohhh poor me. It’s like the old adage. Do you see the glass half full or half empty.  I knew if I wanted to live my life, I had to see it half full.  I couldn’t say I don’t have a leg.  Instead, look I have these two arms  and my other leg and all these positives… this one blemish can’t drag me down. Learning that basic lesson in life,  it has served me well.”

Sarah and Amy in Central Park


Sarah was named a Hero of Running in Runner's World 2004:

The Inspiration: Sarah Reinertsen

"When Sarah Reinertsen was a kid, she was told she'd never be able to run. This year, Reinertsen, 29, became the first female with a prosthetic leg to enter the Hawaii Ironman-which involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. Reinertsen's left leg was amputated above the knee when she was 7 because of a tissue deficiency. She started running when she was 11, and in 1997 she completed her first marathon. After running six more-with a PR of 5:27:04-she started competing in triathlons. In 2003, she won the female leg-amputee division of the International Triathlon Union World Championships in New Zealand. "Athletics have given me the opportunity to prove that I'm just like everyone else," she says. Reinertsen doesn't wear a prosthetic to swim, so she has to hop out of the water and strap on her nine-pound running prosthetic to get to the transition area. There she switches to a prosthetic that has a bike cleat bolted to it. She has to change back to the running one for the marathon. Reinertsen, who lives in Solana Beach, California, works as a program manager at Challenged Athletes Foundation. "I want to help the disabled community break down barriers," she says. "I love my life. I wouldn't want to be any other way.""


The sky during our interview!



Raised to Run: Arturo Montero


77 Years Young Arturo Montero

Only one runner from the original marathon will be running the ING NYC Marathon.  He’s a grandfather from Stamford, CT, meet 77-year old Arturo Montero.  He fininshed the first NYC marathon race in 1970. 

Arturo Montero says he loved running even as a child in Chile before he came to NYC.  So when he heard about a 26.2 mile run through Central Park, he raced to sign up. "The first year it was only one dollar."  A one dollar entry fee paid by each of  the 100 runners that started the race,  only half of them made the distance. "Only 50 finished… we were so tired… there no water stations.  We had a sandwhich and they gave us a Coke."

Continue reading "Raised to Run: Arturo Montero" »

Raised to Run: Creigh Kelley

Update 10/23/12:  Wishing you all the best in a quick, speedy recovery! "Every Dr. and nurse during this adventure has said Creigh's being fit has made a huge difference in his treatment and recovery!"   Hugs.

When I ran my first marathon in Denver, CO I ran several training runs around the area that were directed by Creigh Kelley.  He became a familar face on what I considered weekend "fun runs." Creigh might as well be the mayor of the running circuit in Denver but he's known worldwide among runners. Creigh Kelley  has been a competitor, agent, race director, national consultant, and elected leader in the national and international running community for 30 years.

Creigh Kelley being passed by Marathon Great Greta Waitz

Creigh (seen above) being passed by Grete Waitz at NYCM in the 80's. She was en route to another world record and he says he was being humbled by the 1st time a woman passed me in a race (he quickly follows up "it would not be the last time!!")  Here's how Creigh Kelley is "Raisd to Run."

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Raised to Run: Mary Wittenberg


You can find Mary early in the mornings running with her friends in Central Park. She's a wife and mother raising two boys in Manhattan.  And along with loving her family and her sport, she's passionate about her job.  Mary Wittenberg is the President and CEO of the New York Road Runners. She runs the largest, most influencial running club in the world. 

Mary catches Amy at 5th Ave. Mile

The thing I love most about Mary is that she loves to cheer on runners - from the first time racers to the elite athletes crossing first. Here's a picture she took of me just seconds before the 5th Ave. Mile -- she was there to watch racers take off from the start line... like she is at every NYRR race!  

Based on her efforts with NYRR and the ING New York City Marathon, an article in the New York Times stated that Wittenberg "has transformed the New York City Marathon from traditional to competitive to innovative."

Recently I spent the day with Mary and got to know her better.  We ran in Central Park where she starts every day with her running partners at a little after 5AM. She then spends the work day split between the two NYRR offices in Manhattan.  Chances are good that even if you have seen her on the race circuit, there are few things you may not know about her!

Mary Wittenberg's Family

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