Nearly everyone in the United States, and of course in New York City, is anxious about this presidential election cycle. I cannot recall a more contentious race, full of anger, vulgar behavior, on the part of candidates, hangers-on and many citizens of this nation. It has been wearing us all down.

The recent major league baseball World Series took our minds off the election, to some extent. As much as I enjoyed watching this ultra-exciting sports contest, my own teams (the New York Mets and the New York Yankees) were not in the final Fall Classic set of games, Sigh. Next year.

But today was the New York City Marathon and that joyous sports event brought my city, and me, a lot of good cheer. Thank goodness for the Marathon, the great tradition of sport!

I knew a few people running in this year's race: Alex T from my synagogue; Scott M, my brother's old pal and a teacher at my daughters' high school; Mark P's wife, and a few others. I didn't actually see them run by but I know all three finished the race.

The NYC Marathon is one of the best sports competitions in the world, and I love it for the fact that the vast majority of participants are average people. It is a very democratic and diverse event: participants include women and men, young and old, people of various ethnicities and creeds and religions. New Yorkers and foreigners, robust athletes and people past their prime or hoping to get there. All types of people run or participate. People with disabilities such as blindness, cerebral palsy, missing limbs and other physical challenges participate by being paired with more-able runners.

The race brings these people together but it also brings together so many thousands of spectators. The race goes through all five boroughs of New York City, so people can watch in one or more neighborhoods. They can also watch coverage on TV or hear it on the radio. People of all types come out to cheer, to watch, take pictures, try to find inspiration. Families and friends cheer for their loved ones.

I came by just past 11AM to 4th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and watched hundreds of runners trot by. A rock band called Steel Wolf had set up across the street, playing loud songs including the 1970s hit "Takin' Care of Business." It was so much fun. And the weather was excellent, sunny with a mild breeze.

I saw a few runners zip by, carrying Israeli flags. People (including me) cheered for them. I saw at least one runner wearing a kippah go by. The Jews Who Run. I have wondered if I could ever participate in the NYC Marathon. Perhaps. I prefer to ride my bike and do tai chi. But I have so much admiration for those who run.

The race is always held on a Sunday. This way it does not interfere with the Shabbat, but I wonder if some Christians don't participate because they are loath to miss church. There is an early morning minyan prior to the race, by the way.

God Bless the NYC Marathon and everyone who runs in it. This year and every year, it brings joy and bonding to our city.

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