Too Far?

One of my favorite quotes comes from T.S. Eliot. It reads, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Until 2002, I never thought I’d run a marathon. There was no way I thought I could run or walk (or run and walk) 26.2 miles. No way.

Still, something compelled me to apply for the New York City Marathon lottery that year. I got in. And the rest is history.

I ran New York in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021, and 2022. Whew!

I have also run Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Disney World, and the Marine Corps Marathon.

I’ve run the New Jersey Marathon, the Hartford Marathon, the Run for the Red Poconos Marathon, the Lehigh Valley Marathon, and the D&L Trail Marathon. A few of those (and Disney) I’ve done more than once.

Yesterday, May 7, 2023, I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon.

It was my 24th Marathon.


I ran Pittsburgh with my son Ryan. We had a fantastic weekend together. It was, simply, THE BEST. I has such a great time with him – driving to Pittsburgh, visiting the race expo, walking the city, going to a Pirates game, running the race, and so much more. It was great.

I loved every minute.

Without spoiling the story to come, in a weekend of great moments, the best was when I saw Ryan as I left the finisher’s area after the race. I was exhausted, sore, and tired. It had just started raining. I was preparing for a long walk back to the hotel. I also didn’t quite know how to get there.

I figured Ryan was already there as he finished before me.

But there he was, as I excited the area. Ryan was standing there waiting for his dad. He wore a big smile. He gave me the biggest of hugs.

Yeah, I cried a bit. That was the best moment of the entire weekend.


The Pittsburgh Marathon was a challenging one.

That being said, I ran my fastest marathon since 2016 – since before I had surgery (in 2020) to repair my torn Achilles.

I wasn’t fast, but for a 54-year-old guy (I’ll be 55 very soon), a 4:34:17 finish time is pretty good.

Heck, a 4:34:17 finish time is great, for any age.

Especially in Pittsburgh.

Have you ever seen those hills?!


I thought a lot about the T.S. Eliot quote in the second half of the race yesterday. I broke two hours without running hard for the first half. I also hadn’t done that since 2016. I was stride-for-stride with Ryan and we were running a great race.

I was doing great, and I felt great.

And then the hills came.

To be fair, those weren’t hills, they were mountains. Everest, I am sure, is smaller than that one hill.

Those hills killed me.

Yeah, I walked a bit.

And a bit more.

It was a TOUGH race. Those back hills, outside of downtown are a killer.

And as I kept pushing myself to run, as best as I could, as my legs hurt, and my left foot hurt, and my right arm hurt, I kept thinking of that quote.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

I told myself and convinced myself that I had fulfilled that quote. I had pushed my body, over a few decades, as far as it could go.

I told myself dozens of times, maybe hundreds, and possibly thousands of times, that I was done with marathons.

I’ve been miserable in races before, it’s part of the sport, but, this was different. The end seemed so clear to me.

I figured that I finally found how far I could go.

I was done.

As I struggled over that second half of the race, I retired from marathoning time and time and time again.

It was over.

And I was glad.


Each marathon season is a risk. It’s a challenge. The races is only the last part of a long 16-week (or longer) effort. I run hundreds of miles in training. I spend a lot of time alone on the roads and on my treadmill. Training is a grind. It hurts. It’s not always fun. It’s often lonely.

I challenged myself for decades to be a marathoner.

And as I struggled in the second half of that race, I was convinced that I figured out, absolutely, how far I could go.

24 marathons.

That was it for me.

I was content.


Ryan and I have talked a lot about yesterday.

“I had a blast,” he said.

“Me too.”

“I didn’t love the race. It was a killer. Those hills! But the weekend was an absolute blast.”

“We need to do this again.”


And I think I will.

I guess I didn’t quite go as far as I can go.

New York is calling. November is only six months away. They need me at that race. And I need to be there.

I’d love to run another race with Ryan.

And I’d love to run races with my sons Alex and Ethan too.

I guess I can’t quit until I’ve done at least one with each of them.


Life goes on.

As will my marathons…


3 thoughts on “Too Far?

  1. Steve Steinberg recommended I buy your book after I sent him a copy of my “Sips of Coffee” project on obscure Yankees that had their Yankee appearance as their only major league experience. It mapped right on with your book. I do have some photos that were not available to you, eg a Walter Bernhardt Conlon in a NYY uni, a Thorne photo of Newark as a Yankee etc. If you want a copy, please email me. I have had a long term interest in getting a card, photo or autograph of all 80 1 game Yankees, but this subset – including a couple with no apparent minor league record is really interesting.
    In any event, great book. I never knew Verdi was shot in Cuba, nor that Newkirk was both traded for and played with Dimaggio on the same team after the trade.


      1. See attached 646 573-6996

        Let me know if you would like to see any of the original photos that are part of my little project. I am working the entire set of 1 game Yankees as part of goal to get a card, original photo and/or autograph of everyone who has played for Yankees Only been trying for 40+ years! Buzz


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s