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Queens Chronicle

First-time marathoner crosses the finish line

Pat McGovern of Middle Village raised funds in order to participate

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:33 am, Thu Nov 14, 2013.

Screaming. This is what is heard through Force Fitness in Middle Village, on a chilly Wednesday evening while marathon hopeful Pat McGovern works at the gym. The gym is not only his place of work; it is also where he trains for the New York City Marathon.

So when McGovern takes someone on a tour of the gym, he knows what he’s talking about.

“When I train here, it’s mostly CrossFit training,” he said.

The screaming comes from a giant of a man who is deadlifting with an outrageous amount of weight. As he lifts, the weight contorts his face from the pressure of the weight he is putting on his entire body. Then, just as he reaches a standing position, a scream bursts out of him like a steam whistle ready to blow.

“These machines really help with legs as well as cardio,” McGovern said.

The gym has become McGovern’s home away from home since he entered the NYC Marathon.

“Initially I got into running as a challenge,” he said. “It was something I was used to.”

He was a wrestler in high school, looking for a challenge. “With running I was able to get in the shape I wanted to be,” McGovern said.

He has run multiple races in different areas, but so far not a marathon. “There’s no one better than the New York City [Marathon],” McGovern said about his choice to enter the New York City Marathon.

“I frankly thought he was crazy,” said his father, Mike McGovern.

When trying to enter the marathon, there are only a few ways that one can be guaranteed entry. These include the 9+$1K program, being a previous runner and time qualifiers, according to the marathon’s official website.

The 9+$1K program is handled through the New York Road Runners Club, where a runner had to have completed nine scored, qualifying runs in 2013 and to have volunteered at one NYRR event during the year or donated $1,000 to NYRR’s Youth and Community Service Programs.

Someone can also be guaranteed entry if he or she has already completed 15 NYC Marathons.

Lastly, runners can be guaranteed entry if they meet the time requirements as listed on the marathon’s website.

Everyone else must hope to get picked randomly.

But McGovern went about getting into the marathon a different way.

“I had to choose a charity to earn money for,” he said, “and be a member of their team and represent them.”

McGovern chose Team In Training, which is the official team of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To secure his spot in the marathon, he had to raise $3,900. As of the day of the marathon, he had raised $4,000.

To complete his fundraising, he asked friends who are DJs to promote events and collaborated with bars to offer open bars to raise money.

With his fundraising done, his spot in the marathon ensured and the support of his parents, McGovern had everything in order. Then there was the matter of what to expect during the marathon.

“First mile or so they are not going to feel a whole lot,” said Stephen Chantry, a long distance runner for Manhattan College. “Eventually you start to mentally break down.”

Chantry, who has been running since he was in 8th grade and is a member of the Manhattan College Cross Country and Track Team, is an expert on the topic of long-distance running.

He explained how at the beginning of the race, everyone is pulled along, that the tempo of the crowd and the adrenaline will keep most people moving.

“After that settles, you start to think about saying, ‘Oh man, I got 20 miles to go,’” Chantry said. “Some people run a marathon and then say ‘Man, I’m never doing this again.’”

With the marathon completed and results in, McGovern finished with a time of 5:00:47.

“For an average guy who hasn’t been training for a very long time, that’s pretty good,” Chantry said.

Overall, McGovern finished as the 38,772th runner to cross the finish line. According to the official marathon website, he kept a pace of 11:29 per mile, just under the ideal 12-minute mile.

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