Friday, December 23, 2011

my dream marathon: part 1 | “i'm in.”

Part 1 of 4 | "I'M IN."

The New York City Marathon. One of the five World Marathon Majors alongside Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin, and, arguably, the biggest marathon in the world. Just a year ago, this was but a dream that seemed absolutely out of reach.

Many have asked me the golden question: “How on earth did you gain entrance?” And a fair question this would be. For those not in the know, NYC Marathon is one of those that require sheer luck—you enter your name into a lottery and pray to the heavens above that it gets picked.

Perhaps I should have prayed harder because I wasn’t amongst the people who were ecstatic on draw day. My running BFF and fellow Original G, Shanaz (who got lucky in 2010), also shared the same fate but everything was about to change when our other BFF and final member of Original G, Nana, gained entry.

Nana, Shanaz & myself took this "gedik" photo at the 
SG Marathon expo in Dec'10. This was the birth of The Gediks, 
these days better known as "The G's" of Kuala Lumpur 
which is now 7 members strong  :)

Shanaz and I lamented the idea of Nana running NYC’11 solo as us three were really hoping to run it together. And so she suggested going down the charity route. We went through the list of charitable organizations on the New York Road Runners website, and each shortlisted a few that caught our eyes.

I initially chose about 8 different ones. After communicating with them, I felt a strong pull towards Shoe4Africa for one simple reason: I’ve always wanted to do something to help out the children of Africa, and this was the perfect chance.

The only thing, though, was that I had to raise a whopping US$2,500 in order to represent any of these charities. Shanaz and I were pretty nervous about this but we decided to just go for it since we had about 6 months to get it together.

I pretty much went straight into fundraising efforts. The first order of the day was to target some people on my Facebook list, and seek their interest and advice. Most of them gave positive feedbacks, citing that my cause of building the very first public hospital for children in Africa was something that they definitely would want to sponsor  ;)

Also, I took advantage of the fact that I work for The Comedy Club Asia. Once a month, we bring international stand-up comedians to entertain hundreds of patrons here in Singapore. My director announced during some of our shows about how I needed to raise moolah to represent Shoe4Africa at the New York Marathon and this gave me almost half of the required amount.

The official badge for those who got into this year's race  ;)

Slowly but surely, the dollars kept piling up and thankfully I hit my targeted amount within the stipulated timeframe. I must give a huge shout-out to my best friend and her hubs, Farah MK and Azmil, who were the highest contributors. I’m still so touched that you guys were generous enough to part with US$500!

Anyway, I eventually got a guaranteed entry invitation from Shoe4Africa, paid the US$285 registration fee (very expensive, I know, but worth every penny!), and the rest, as they say, is history.


Coming up:  Train, Forrest, Train!   

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