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Five Oyster Bay Women Competed in the ING NYC Marathon 2009

Five Oyster Bay women took part in the New York Marathon on Nov. 1. Friends, they started their training in August. The women are Maryann Santos, Cara Baugh, Adrianne Faranda, Angela Sesti and Colleen Puccio.

Angela Sesti said, “It was the first time four of us have run the Marathon. Cara Baugh has already done marathons. We all raised money for Parkinson’s, Dystonia and cancer causes to gain entry into the marathon.”

Entry into the NYC Marathon is limited but being involved running for a charity is a priority for the organizers and guarantees a space.

“The picture was taken Friday night, Nov. 6, with our medals as we celebrated the completion of the run. We got our medals as we crossed the finish line. It was a lot of hard work but a big reward. It was an absolutely amazing experience to run this race.

“All of us completed the marathon in less than 5 hours,” she said.

They all started off in the Marathon together. Ms. Sesti said, “Because there were five of us, some were in the second wave and some in the third wave. [Because of the thousands of people who run in the Marathon, 36,000 in 2009, there were several starts – or waves of runners. To enter the Marathon you have to apply and there is a lottery to determine who will run. If you lose three years in a row, you have priority for the next time around.]

“We opted to start together so we were in the third wave. We all wanted to run together. It was very, very exciting. It was unbelievable. I can’t even describe it,” said Ms. Sesti.

“I sit at my desk and say ‘I can’t believe I did it.’

“We ran together for the first six miles and I had some cramps and slacked off and another one did too. No one finished together but we all started together.

“I had a whole group, my husband and two sons and family all cheering me on and waiting at the finish line with a party on the street,” she said.

The ladies have been running together for several years. “We run in the morning and then we all go to work. It’s just a great group of women to run with. It’s always nice to have company and conversations.

“Training was very time-consuming. We ran weekends during the fall and were running for hours. You have to train to get into something like this, definitely. We basically started running a couple of days a week for five miles, then seven and eight miles. On the weekends we would do 10, then 12 and 15 and then a couple of 18 and 20s. The most I got up to was 22 miles. The Marathon is 26.2 miles.

“When you hit the 22 mile mark in the Bronx, the next few miles seem like nothing but they are very grueling. You say ‘four miles is not a lot’, but in the Bronx, it’s all uphill. You are almost done but there are another four miles to go and it is all uphill. It’s tough, but the crowds were amazing. In all the different boroughs there was all types of music being played and all kinds of ethnicity in the crowds. [There were 100 live bands along the route.]”

As Ms. Sesti said, they are all working mothers. “I run a family business and two are attorneys; Colleen is a school teacher and Adrianne does real estate. We just met Cara a year ago. The rest have known each other probably for about eight years.

“We all had talked about trying to run the marathon and Maryann’s nephew was with Parkinson’s and running from Chicago said they had a few spots open and she said it was time to try, and wouldn’t it be fun; and misery loves company!

“Maryann put the training schedule together and pushed us along. When you have someone to do it with it makes it go better. We said if we had to do it alone we wouldn’t. Having conversations while running passed the time passed quickly.”

Together the women have a total of 17 children from ages 2 to 20. “Colleen has three; Cara has three; and I have two; Adrianne has two and Maryann has four,” she said. “They are all very proud of us. The families all came into New York to see the moms run.

“My husband Rich made T-shirts for the family group of sisters, neices, children and all their friends – 12 of them. They were on the sidelines cheering. Bob Santos, Maryann’s husband brought snacks to give to runners as they passed by. Adrianne’s brother from North Caroline came up to take pictures. Everybody was involved,” said Angela Sesti.

The logical next question was “Would they do it again?”

“It’s very funny you should ask. Maryann and I just ran again. I said I wouldn’t run the Marathon this year, but next year. Cara is signed up for this year already. Adrianne and Colleen are thinking of next year possibly.”

FYI: According to the NYC Marathon website: Guaranteed entry applications will be accepted from January 25, 2010 at noon until March 5, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.

To put the race into context, according to their website, “The ING New York City Marathon provides you with an opportunity to transform lives in a direct and meaningful way. Our charity program offers runners guaranteed entry and a chance to give back to the community. It’s simple. Just commit to raising money for any of the charities listed on our website and you’re in!

“The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world’s great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants annually.

“The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before 2 million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the more than 700,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime.”

Now five women from Oyster Bay know that is true!