Corban alumna and Visit Coordinator for the Undergraduate Admissions Office, Rachel Lee (’03), returned to work exhausted but happy in early November: She and her husband Zach finished The ING New York City Marathon. Rachel said she loves Jesus, Zach, travel, and running (“oh, and family is in there somewhere, of course!”)—so she combined her passions and took a new look at the Big Apple where she once lived.
Rachel discovered she liked running after her year in New York, when she worked as a flight attendant, and after she graduated from Corban. She started running when she worked for the Courthouse (a local athletic club) and became familiar with athletic training. Zach, however, “hates running! So he does it for me,” Rachel adds with a smile.
In 2005, Rachel and Zach ran The Portland Marathon together (before they married in ’07—so Zach knew what he was signing up for). To run the NY Marathon, you must be selected by lottery out of over 100,000 applicants. “Zach was chosen by himself the first time we tried to get in, so he cancelled that opportunity so we could try to get in together.”
This fall they were both selected, so they flew to New York for vacation and to participate in one of the world’s greatest road races—what an adrenaline rush! At the start line in Staten Island, Rachel said they were surrounded by a sea of people. (Just under 40,000 people run the race every year.) After the starting gun fired, Lee said she didn’t cross the start line for another ten to fifteen minutes. A chip attached to her shoe, activated at the start line, officially tracked her race.
The marathon, moved out of Central Park in 1976, winds through the five boroughs of New York (Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island). The couple’s goal was to finish together, not running the best time, so they embraced the culture along the way. Over 100 live bands and thousands upon thousands of spectators lined the route. Rachel laughed, “Little kids keep handing you bananas. You feel like you have to keep eating bananas because they’re so cute handing them to you.”
The race itself challenged them. Rachel described the first ten miles as pure adrenaline. In the middle, they took pictures and even stopped a bit, but that was also when the aches and pains began to settle in. When Rachel came to miles 21-25, however, “I wanted to die. The only thing that kept us going was we kept talking about what food we wanted to eat after we were done. Zach wanted pizza and I wanted a slice of pie.”
That last marathon mile, however, was worth all the pain. Spectators cheering and live music blaring and the anticipation of accomplishing such a great feat propelled them through the finish line. Though the couple stayed in the middle of “the pack” for most of the race, they finished near its end. But they did it—joining more than 700,000 past participants in the achievement. Rachel beams, “It was a fun accomplishment—especially with Zach—doing it together.”