This year represents the 50th “running” anniversary of the New York City Marathon.
“We say running because last year, which was the official 50th anniversary, we did virtually because of Covid,” said Ted Metellus, who is the event’s first Black race director. “This year is going to be the biggest alumni party,” he continued. “Fifty years of people who volunteered, cheered or ran this race.”
Mr. Metellus, 47, who is also the vice president of events and production for New York Road Runners, the organization that owns and operates the marathon, has completed the 26.2-mile race twice. He compared skipping the marathon last year to missing a birthday or a holiday. “We still wanted to celebrate, so we laid a finishing sticker on the ground where the marathon ends and handed out finishing-line tape at 67th Street and Central Park to people who did it on their own because we didn’t want anyone to feel alone,” said Mr. Metellus, a Bronx native who has lived in Washington Heights for 12 years.
His Marathon Sunday will start at 3 a.m. in Staten Island, where he will conduct spot checks and interviews, and it will conclude in Central Park, where he will greet runners crossing the finish line, from the elite competitors in the morning to the never-give-up stragglers until about midnight.
EYES ON THE COURSE I wake myself up around 7 a.m. During the week I’m up at 5:30 to go for a run or the gym. For years my call time has been 2 or 3 a.m. to set up events. Sleeping in is a treat. I’m also beat up from the 20-mile bike ride I did yesterday. This is where me and my team ride the marathon course and do last looks. We look for construction or road damage and put eyes on the course.
AUDIO I grab my work and personal phone and check emails and see what’s happening in the world. Then I make Café Bustelo; it’s a Latin Caribbean coffee that’s really strong. It’s good stuff. I drink it black with one Splenda and listen to 1010 WINS news on my phone for 20 to 30 minutes to get traffic reports and local news. It’s such a good source. Then it’s NPR.
FROM SILENCE TO MUSIC I take a quiet moment in the kitchen and sit by the window or I go into the living room and sit in this comfy chair and listen to some music. I also listen to a music mix I curated. Everything on there makes me smile: “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, “Everything She Wants” by Wham!, “Summer in the City” by Quincy Jones.
BIG BROTHER Around 10 my older brother Paul — I have four siblings, I’m the youngest — will pick me up, unless he finds a spot, and then he’ll park and come up for coffee, which is nice.
VISIT Five or six times a year we visit our mother in the cemetery at St. Raymond Parish, in the Bronx. My mother passed away in December 2016. She had a stroke and couldn’t walk, talk or feed herself. It was incredibly difficult to see someone with so much life slowly decline. She worked in housekeeping at a hotel in Midtown and knew the hotel would get busy during the marathon. She loved that I was part of this big thing, so visiting before the run feels right.
RITUAL I come with a wet rag and wipe down her headstone and clean up the area so it looks cared for. I tell her about my life, then say a prayer — Our Father or Hail Mary. Paul does his thing. Then we FaceTime my brother Pierre in South Carolina. The boys are all together. We catch up and he can see her and say what he needs to. Then Paul drives me home.
HAPPY PLACE I run during the week; Sunday I walk so my muscles get a day off. I do the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park or the Hudson River path, which is underneath the George Washington Bridge, or Highbridge Park. I go over the High Bridge itself. I take pictures of the sun, the cityscape or the bridge and call friends. This is my happy place and gets me centered.
RACE PREP Because it’s close to the marathon, for the next two hours I go through emails, make notes on logistics, think about talking points and check in with the team. I also work closely with the city and the mayor’s office, so I prepare for that.
KICKIN’ IT Around 5 I do an early dinner at Harlem Public, which has great turkey burgers and mac and cheese. There I watch football highlights, text some friends, drink a pumpkin beer and just kick it. If I’m jonesing for heavy carbs I’ll go to The Uptown Garrison for pizza.
MARATHON CENTRAL Five days before the marathon I move into the Sheraton or the Hilton Midtown, something near our office on 56th Street because my days start early at 7 and end late, 7 or 8 at night. I get my gear together for the marathon: official apparel, business suits, toiletries. It’s a week of debriefings, press interviews and meetings. Our biggest is an All Agency Meeting at the N.Y.P.D.
DAYS OF WINE AND ROLLERS By 8 I’m winding down with a glass of wine. I have a foam roller and I stretch to loosen my body up and release tension. I let my mind escape and catch up on some movies. I just finished season two of “His Dark Materials.” Now I’m watching “The Mandalorian.” I hear good things about “Ted Lasso,” so I need to start that.
HIP-HOP LULLABY By 9:30 I’m exhausted and need to power down. Fifteen minutes before bed I listen to the podcast “No Skips with Jinx and Shea,” where the hosts talk about iconic hip-hop albums. Then I take some melatonin and get some sleep.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Ted Metellus on Twitter @TedDeluxe.