NOT too many runners get their first start in the biggest marathon in the world, raced in the city that never sleeps.
But when Orange distance runner Nathan Sutherland takes his first steps in the famous New York City Marathon early next month, he will know he is alive.
He might not know it until the 32km mark when his calves start screaming, when his thighs start burning, but as he continues to thump the New York City pavement, the Orange product will love every painstaking stride.
“It’s a dream come true,” Sutherland, 20, said ahead of the 42.2m event.
“It’s been a pretty tough year because we’ve had to do all the camps and stuff like that but it’s definitely worthwhile, I’m running my first marathon. I don’t know what to expect, really. It’s a long way.”
Sutherland flies out from Sydney on November 2 for a week.
He’ll run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6.
It’s the most anticipated marathon of the year, with the first New York event held back in 1970.
Back then just 127 people took part in the race.
But close to 70,000 runners are expected to take part in this year’s event.
It’s a moment Sutherland has been working towards for close to six months.
Selected in the Robert de Castella Marathon Project back in May, Sutherland has run in the Sydney City2Surf, the Perth City to Surf and participated in camps in both Alice Springs and Coogee to earn selection for New York.
Sutherland believes he is ready for the challenge.
“I’ve improved my running, definitely,” the Orange Runners’ Club member said.
“Especially when I won at Ayers Rock. That was a great achievement for me, running on the red desert sand. It was a new experience and I’ve learned a lot.
“It’s enjoyable and I can’t believe it. I didn’t think I would run a marathon until I was 25.
“I feel myself getting faster and getting better endurance.”
Having never run a marathon before, Sutherland is going to have to train hard in the next three weeks before he takes off for the USA.
He anticipates churning out over 150km a week in the lead-up to the race.
“The furthest I’ve run before is 30km. It’s another 12km,” he said.
“In another two or three weeks I’ll do the marathon distance to get used to it.”
He is prepared for the pain.
“Rob de Castella has just told us it’s the last 10km that really hurts and that’s when the marathon starts,” Sutherland said.
“He just said to take it comfortably for the first 32km and the last 10km try and put it on.”
Sutherland has set himself the goal of running the marathon in under three hours.
“That’ll be a good achievement for me,” he said.
But November’s New York Marathon is all part of the bigger picture.
The Rob de Castella Marathon Project was designed to train an Indigenous runner to represent Australia in a marathon for the first time at an Olympics.
Sutherland is eyeing off the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.
“Hopefully I can reach that. That’s my goal,” he said.
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