Finishing the NYC Marathon (my first ever), One Year After Open Heart Surgery

My surgeon is proud.  John Ritter would be too.

I finished the NYC Marathon in 4 hours and 23 minutes.  It was the first and only Marathon I've ever run in.  In my book "Barefoot in November", I talk about what prompted me to want to run the marathon a year after having open heart surgery, and what the healing, and training were like.  The book concludes with a synopsis of marathon day.  It was a surreal experience, and anyone who reads it will get a first hand account of what is so special about running a marathon.  The book will be released at the end of November. 

I was brought almost to tears at the start of the race.  My wife and I ran side by side among thousands of people on the Verazzano bridge.  Millions of footsteps could be heard all around, and as I looked up at the soaring peaks of the bridge on this beautiful sunny day; all I could think of is lying in the hospital bed last year at columbia-presbyterian; lifeless, and half-conscious on morphine.  "How did I make it from there to here?", I asked myself.  I looked over at Nicole running next to me, Sal in front of me, and Dr. Stewart, my surgeon who was behind us.  Then I thought about our friends and family on the sidelines and the ones at home watching us on TV.  That explained everything.

We Did it

Our Welcome Home Signs

Our friend Sal also ran in the Marathon

Our Biggest Fans


Open Heart Surgery has been a life-altering experience, but so has running the NYC Marathon, raising money for the American Heart Association, and helping create a larger awareness of aortic disease in the legacy of John Ritter.  It has strengthened me.


laurie hersh said...

I am so grateful to have been a part of this aawesome life changing experience. Watching you cross the finish line with Nicole holding your hand brought me to tears. Ben,the last time I felt so exhilerated was the day I gave birth to you. I didn't think you could ever make me feel that way again. I was wrong. When you crossed that finish line I was left breathless, laughing and crying at the same time!

Joyce Narciso-Raikos said...

Congrats Ben! What a great thing to accomplish as a couple! I don't know how you two do it with 3 kiddies. I can barely go to the gym with my 2!

Moriah M. Niblack said...

WOW! Your video brought tears to my eyes. CONGRATS!

Kelly Coleman said...

I remember running back in my earlier days, and it did give me a quick high, and i felt great afterwards, but in no way possible could I ever achieve what you have done. You guys should be so proud of yourself. I wrote a nice post about you ...guys running this marathon on my blog @ Check it out if you can. When I saw on the back of the T Shirt "In memory of John Ritter", that made me cry. You truly are doing so much to help others. John Ritter wasn't as lucky as you to get the medical care before it was to late. Your words and wisdom will help many people out there. Don't think that doctor that ran with you don't have you high up on a pedestal now, because he does, and he will use you as an example to overcome things as you have to his patients. I think that you should go on Dr. Oz, and tell him about the wonderful recovery, and how you bounced back so quick. You're a hero to me, and proud like you wouldn't believe is how I feel about you both. Hope you feel o.k. afterwards. God Bless !! Great job!! What is the date that your book is out for sale??

Jeanne Carey said...

both of u did a great job. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Catherine Dickson said...

Wow, fantastic feat!!!! Great going Benjamin, exciting!!!!

Roxanne Lester said...

way to go ben i had surgery on my heart in albany med they had to do a pericardium infusion they were great there to but i am soooooo not ready to run a marathon lol good job

Barbara Schwenker said...

Thats great !!!! Congratulations, what a great accomplishment.

Virginia Neill-Meade said...

less than one year ago...your life together was turned upside down by both joy and fear. you two have shown the world that anything is possible!

milan was so proud to wear your medals at school. what great role models you are for your three children. may the blessings continue for you all.

Allan Stewart said...

Ben and Nicole:

What an amazing experience! Thanks to both of you for encouraging me to enter. It was exhilarating! I was never a runner before age 41, so it was a very different experience. I did most of my training on a treadmill, which was not comparative to that journey! What an awesome trip through Brooklyn and over the 59th street bridge! I am a little sore today but it was worth it! I am proud of you both.

Ed Hersh said...

We are back upstate but still feeling the excitement from the marathon. The weather was beautiful and the crowd roared as over 45,000 runners filled the streets through NYC. I've seen the NYC marathon a number of times but nothing compares to watching your own children run. I was never so proud as to watch Ben & Nicole run across the finish line in central park. It was something I will never forget.

MrsNicoleCarey said...

It's the unexpected experiences in life that sometimes mean the most. When you choose a partner, you know for sure you will experience bonding over children and birth, milestones and special events. What you don't expect is to run 26.2 miles with your lifelong long friend and soulmate, a year after they had major open heart surgery. The gruesome prepararation for this was worth every ounce of sweat, anxiety and tears. I don't think there is anything in the world that we can't do. Any doubts are now replaced with dreams of the events to come. Its one thing to have a life with someone, its another to actually live it! Many thanks to you Ben; without you I may never have known that limitations are mental blocks, and that where there is a will and faith there is always a way. Thanks to all of our friends and family who stood by us and have made it possible for us to attain such lofty goals!


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