Life is not about how fast you finish the race but that you keep running to the finish line.
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When it comes to the New York City Marathon, no participant is left behind thanks to Project Finish. The group of fellow racers and attendees cheers on everyone in the race, especially those who might need more time to complete those 26.2 miles.
Stephanie Pennington finished the marathon with a time of six hours and 39 minutes. But the event was far from over for her. Less than three hours later, the founder of Project Finish, returned to Central Park to gather volunteers for a cheering party that is unmatched in the marathoning world.
Project Finish is in its sixth year, and the goal remains the same: to make sure the final finishers of the race receive the cheers and fanfare they deserve after trekking through the city’s five boroughs.
The purpose of Project Finish is well stated by actor/emcee G.K. Williams. He says the group is primarily there to make each and every runner “feel like a champion.” It is fair to say that for the sixth consecutive year, the people behind Project Finish accomplished their mission!
This year, G.K., along with his co-host, were in charge of keeping the crowd engaged as the hours got a little later. They gave shout-outs to those who finished and stayed around to cheer others on to maintain momentum. After all, it’s about teamwork. They also had singalongs to Taylor Swift songs, and even made a famous Soul Train line.
It’s clear they did whatever it took to keep participants motivated to finish. And what a great finish they had! Veronica Molloy from Ireland needed a little assistance but that didn’t stop her stride. She cried tears of appreciation at the level of support she received from strangers – simply amazing!
Danil Farkash had a race time of: 10:26:05. The 86-year-old looked a lot stronger than someone half his age – he smiled as he strode confidently to the finish. And despite the finish line being officially closed at 7:30 p.m., race director Ted Metellus assured the The Village Voice that everyone completing the race would receive an official time.
A little after 10 p.m., the crowd dwindled as expected. There were about 100 people left and five racers on the course. Given the hour, it was also determined that the DJ would need to stop the music out of consideration for the neighbors.
But the loss of music was no match for the loud cheering and celebrating going on. It was just enough love for the last runner of this marathon: 75-year-old Rozanna Radakovich. Supported by two of her Achilles International guides, she crossed the marathon finish line for the 36th time, at 11:32 p.m.
Project Finish got the job done. There until the end, Stephanie told the Voice she credits the success of the group to the “power of social media” and “the kindness of humanity.”
We love to see efforts like the one behind Project Finish that are just full of energy, kindness and inspiration!
Watch Rozanna Radakovich crossing the finish line below, and don’t forget to share this story with a friend.
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