Body by Astoria, Community, Event, Fitness, Living, Parks, Weekend
Nov 01, 2019

10 Local Astorians On Running the NYC Marathon This Weekend – And Where to Spectate Locally!

The 49th Annual TCS NYC Marathon is THIS Sunday, November 3! The iconic race is a huge part of NYC culture, and was run by over 50,000 people from 129 (…)

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The 49th Annual TCS NYC Marathon is THIS Sunday, November 3! The iconic race is a huge part of NYC culture, and was run by over 50,000 people from 129 countries last year.

We decided to highlight some local Astorians who are running this weekend — many for the first time. Wish them luck and read their advice on spectating! They highlight some of the best places to watch the race from nearby, and how to be the ultimate cheer squad.

PATRICIA CONNELLY (@pattypeeps)

Patricia grew up in Jackson Heights and moved to Astoria about ten years ago. She has always loved Astoria and “truly thinks there is no other place like it.” Her favorite spots are Nino’s AQ, Bohemian Beer Garden, and The Thirsty Koala. She also loves Astoria Park and says the brand new Astoria Park Running Track is beautiful!
# marathon: Sixth! I never played sports growing up and decided to pick up running when I turned 30, in 2015.
How they feel: Even though it’s my sixth marathon I’m always nervous, NYC is one hell of course.
Where they’re celebrating: I can’t wait to celebrate at Nino’s AQ with my husband and best friend.

STEVE LAZICKAS

Steve ran in Astoria Park to train for the marathon and on his longer runs, heads to Randall’s Island. Before the renovations, he used the Astoria Park track extensively for his training! He is currently a graduate student and lives near Ditmars. “As long as I live in the City, Astoria will be my home,” he says. “The amazing food, wonderful people, and welcoming and diverse community make it unthinkable to leave. I can’t pick a favorite place to go in Astoria because every time I go somewhere new, I’m convinced it’s my new favorite (but we do take, Squid, our Jack Russell Terrier, to the new dog park quite often!).”

# marathon: Second!

How they feel: I feel confident about the race! I know what to expect, as I ran last year and I’ve prepared much more thoroughly.

If you’re spectating: When I ran last year, I felt a burst of extra energy whenever a hand stuck out from the sidelines to give me a high-five. I also really enjoyed the creative and supportive signs people made! The spectators that really helped me push through the tougher parts were those who cheered us on specifically: spectators would pick out an identifying feature of our outfits and say things like “Go pink shirt!” or they would read the names of the organizations the charity team folks were running for.

My advice would be to always be positive, be loud, and cheer on as many specific people as you can (they’ll know and appreciate it!). As for where to cheer near Astoria — the marathon runs through Long Island City to the Queensboro Bridge! There are lot of great spots on the route in LIC to cheer the runners on.

MARGE LINDNER

Years ago, Marge’s best friend was leaving her studio apartment to move in with her boyfriend (also an Astorian), so she took over her old apartment. She’s loved it so much here that she’s never left!

# marathon: Second! But my first time running the NYC Marathon.

How their feeling: I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see the crowds cheering us on, the views along the course, and obviously…and to cross that finish line!

Training in Astoria: Astoria is a great place to train! Astoria Park offers a (newly renovated) track for intervals, hills for hill training, and it’s access to the bridges and other neighborhoods which makes distance training easy to plan.

LAUREN PIZZOLLA

Lauren’s father and his family immigrated from Italy to Astoria in 1972. Her father learned English at a public school in Astoria, and now she work at a public school in Ridgewood teaching recently arrived immigrants and foreigners English. She was born in Astoria, raised in Flushing and returned to Astoria seven years ago. Her favorite spots are Astoria Park, Astoria Provisions and Agnanti.
# marathon: First! I’m a FlexFiit Queens member and started incorporating running into my workout routine last October. I’m running with TFK (Team For Kids).
How they feel: I am a mix of nerves and excitement. My goal is to finish the race without injury.
If you’re spectating: Please just show up! Runners, especially us newbies will need all the support we can get! A good spot to spectate that’s close to Astoria is Pulaski Bridge.

Maura is on the right.

MAURA O’REILLY

Maura is a graphic designer who has lived in the Ditmars area for about five years, originally from Massachusetts. Her favorite spots are The Sparrow for food/drinks, and Let Love Inn or Astoria Tavern for a nightcap.

# marathon: First!

How they feel: Very nervous but excited. My family will be here, and I have two friends running as well, I think we’ve been a great support team throughout training and I’m looking forward to celebrating after!

Training in Astoria: The track being closed was disappointing as that is a good spot at night, especially. But Astoria Park is great! For longer runs, I’ve made it down to LIC via Vernon Blvd, or over the RFK through Randalls Island to Central Park. And you constantly see runners on those routes, which is really motivating. Added bonus, so many brunch options after a long run.

JENNY WILKINS

Jenny has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 10 years, and one of her favorite places to go is Astoria Park–whether it’s to run, take photos, or just relax and soak it all in (shout-out to Astoria Park Alliance!). She works as a social media manager and photographer.
# marathon: First!
How the feel: I’m having lots of feelings about the race — but mostly excitement! Anytime I start to get scared or have doubts, I remind myself this is a celebration of all the hard training I’ve done over the past few months, in the best city in the world.
If you’re spectating: There’s a misconception that the Queens stretch of the marathon is boring and not as exciting. Find a spot along the course that leads up to the Queensboro bridge, either 44th Dr or Crescent, and prove these naysayers wrong! Funny or clever signs, high fives, encouraging words and cute dogs are always appreciated!

MIKE TSAMIS

Mike Tsamis has lived in Astoria for his entire life, and has seen a change A LOT since he was a kid. His favorite places to go in include the neighborhood’s wonderful coffee shops. On weekend mornings, he’ll either be reading a book with a black coffee at Moa Coffee or taking Duke, his English Bulldog, to Chateau le Woof where he can play with other dogs while Mike enjoys a cortado.
# marathon: First!
How they feel: I’m both excited and nervous! Fortunately, I have friends who’ve ran it before and have given me solid advice.
Where in Astoria they’re celebrating: I always get a burger, sweet potato fries and an IPA at Bareburger after nearly all my races!

SARAH OTTOSEN

Sarah has lived in Astoria for 10 years, and one of her secret talents is that she’s a pro at milking cows! Sanfords is her favorite place, as she used to live next door. “It’s still the first place I want to go when I’ve been out of town for a while,” she says. “Don’t tell Sanfords, I plan on carbo-loading at Gastroteca on Saturday!”
# marathon: Third! I always used to watch my dad run marathons and think, I would NEVER run a marathon, but I loved spectating. Then for Christmas one year, my dad signed me up for a half marathon…the rest is history!
How they feel: I’ve done several half marathons, two triathlons and this will be my third full! Running gives me peace of mind.
Training in Astoria makes me feel at home. I love passing through my old neighborhoods. I have read that a low point during the marathon for a lot of runners is the Queensboro Bridge. It’s mostly uphill and there are no spectators. To me, that’s MY bridge. I know it so well. I’ve run across it probably 100 times and it leads me back to my hood! Now I live close to Astoria Park and I plan on checking out the new track tomorrow for my final run before the race.

NICOLE LASTRES

Nicole’s great grandparents purchased a house in Astoria in 1936, back when there were farms and company parties at The Steinway mansion, and it has been in her family ever since. She’s the fourth generation living there, in the Ditmars area! Her favorite places to go are “hands-down” The Pomeroy and The Ditty.

# marathon: First! Though she has run six half marathons.

How they feel: I’m feeling anxiously excited about running my first marathon. I’m running to raise money for Common Point Queens in memory of my Aunt Deborah.

Where they’re celebrating: I cannot wait to go to Milkflower after the race!

COLLEEN O’CONNOR (@collweiner)

Colleen is originally from Texas, and her best friend moved to NYC two months before her. When she came to find an apartment, her friend insisted Astoria was the best neighborhood to live in. Ten years later, they both are still living here! She’s a teaching artist and actor at the nonprofit, The Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY), which she calls the “best job ever!”

# marathon: First! I ran a half marathon in April but Sunday will be a day of a lot of firsts!

How they feel: I have so many emotions as the race approaches…I set the goal of running a marathon a year ago because I was stuck in a life rut. I’ve had a complicated relationship with my body and wanted to commit to seeing all the wonderful things my body could do instead of focusing on what my body wasn’t. It’s been a 350-mile training journey of the body and mind. Probably going to cry like a baby when I cross the finish line. And when I say “probably” I do mean “definitely.”

Training in Astoria has been great. My friends who have run the marathon before have talked about how difficult running over the Queensboro Bridge is during mile 16. Because I often ran home or into Manhattan during training, I feel like I know that bridge and it’s hills like the back of my hand!

Will you be cheering them on this weekend?

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