Marathon man: Lynch runs 26.2 miles in New York City

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Physics teacher Mike Lynch waves to the crowd as he approaches the midway point of the New York City Marathon November 1, his first full marathon. “This definetly held special meaning to me because I was running for the national MS society.” (Photo courtesy Mike Lynch).
Physics teacher Mike Lynch waves to the crowd as he approaches the midway point of the New York City Marathon November 1, his first full marathon. (Photo courtesy Mike Lynch).

The TCS New York City Marathon is a 26.219 mile run that takes place across the five boroughs of New York City.

Alongside other World Marathon Major cities like Boston and Chicago, the New York City Marathon is currently the largest marathon in the world with 50,386 finishers in 2014.

It is an amazing achievement to be entered into the race at all due to the rigorous sign up and lottery system in place for choosing competitors.

A large number of the runners are chosen by a lottery; other competitors and members of the New York Road Runners club can meet qualifications for guaranteed entry, or get a nomination.

Physics Teacher and alumni of St. Thomas Mike Lynch competed in and finished the Marathon in New York on November 1, a little over a month ago.

“That’s the thing about that race and about marathons, is the number of amazing stories and reasons people run is just amazing.” 

Thomas Mike Lynch, Physics teacher/marathon runner

Lynch has experience running long distances having competed in many half marathons in places like Austin, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Omaha and Houston, although this past race would have been the first full marathon for him.

Lynch started running long distance races about five years ago. When he heard the news that he had been selected to run Lynch was excited and decided in March that he would compete.

Running races is a big part of his life and holds special meaning to him as he talks about his experiences.

Training for the marathon is a very rigorous and tolling feat that takes years of discipline and practice to accomplish. Lynch’s training intensified after he committed which meant more running, and for longer distances, eventually building routine runs sometimes as long as 20 miles.

Lynch is affected by a disease called Multiple Sclerosis or MS. It is a long term disease that affects the central nervous system and deteriorates nerve endings. The symptoms of MS can range from anything to numbness or tingling in extremities, to severe long term nerve damage that can restrain the patient’s ability to move certain limbs. He entered into the race as one of 35 other members of the National MS society.

Almost in spite of the condition he has, Lynch trained, focused and put in many tough hours, sometimes keeping him from his family, yet he never let the disease get the best of him or shake him from his goal. He described the moments before the race: “The anticipation is definitely different from a normal marathon.”

Because of the sheer number of racers flocking to the Staten Island Bridge, he got to the starting line a slim 30 minutes before his race, leaving little time to warm up. Aside from running a good portion of the race with a friendly man from Ireland, who he befriended on the ferry ride to the start line, Lynch described the first 17 or so miles as easy-going and enjoyable.

“During that 26 miles I went through all emotions possible and just had nothing left after the race. My favorite part was experiencing it all with a smile on my face, seeing the crowd lining the streets cheering me on. Being able to get through the pain and the exhaustion when it got tough.”  

Thomas Mike Lynch, Physics teacher/marathon runner

Around the 20th mile he started experiencing severe knee pain but mustered a surge of perseverance brought on by a familiar crowd of cheering people that included other members of the NMSS, his two children and girlfriend, and his best friend. Lynch said that during the race he was focusing on enjoying it and living in the moment, whether it was the more casual and easy first few miles or the struggle of dealing with exhaustion, pain and soreness. He said he savored every second of it.

Being such a large scale and long lasting event, it can be assumed that there are many cherishable moments a racer goes through during the race. This is especially true for Lynch because of his inspiring accomplishments, noble cause and difficulty of obstacles overcome.

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John Culwell is a senior at St. Thomas who is currently winning his fantasy football league. He is a Scorpio and loves getting brunch with his mother on weekend mornings. Among the elite Eagle and Aquin editors at St. Thomas John is a preferred walk on starter and has verbally committed to play running back for Louisiana State University.

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