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For The Final Finishers Of The NYC Marathon, It's More Than A Test Of Fitness

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya may have had the fastest time in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday. He ran it in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 13 seconds. But anyone who finishes can feel like a winner, even if the race is officially over.

CHARLOTTE GIBSON: Every single person that crossed the finish line after the cutoff time, and they were no longer official racers, technically - it didn't really matter to them. It just mattered that they finished.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

That's ESPN reporter Charlotte Gibson. She wrote a piece about the final finishers, people who complete their marathons after the race ends, people like Dave Fraser

(CHEERING)

KELLY: Fraser rolled across the finish after 12 1/2 hours. Born with cerebral palsy, he's finished his many New York Marathons in a wheelchair, rolling backwards most of the way.

CHANG: Gibson says the scene at the finish changes over the course of the day, but even after the race officially ends, the vibe is still plenty upbeat.

GIBSON: Earlier in the day, there are thousands of people sitting in the grandstands at the finish line, sardined together trying to just see any glimpse of someone cross the finish line. Starting at 8 p.m., there's about 150 people there. They try to make sure that it's still a celebration. And it's still - it's a party; it's just a miniparty.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This is Hannah making her way to that TCS New York City Marathon finish line. Let's give her a warm welcome.

KELLY: Hannah Gavios checked in at 11 hours and change on crutches.

GIBSON: Three years ago, she was in a tragic accident in an assault in Thailand. She was racing to get away from a man who tried to assault her, and then she fell off a 150-foot cliff.

KELLY: Gavios was told she would never walk again. Since then, she has completed the New York City Marathon twice. ESPN's Charlotte Gibson says for final finishers like Gavios, the marathon is more than a test of fitness and endurance.

GIBSON: It's not just about running 26.2 miles. It's about facing your fears, pushing past your boundaries.

CHANG: Feeling inspired? Well, you've got just about 12 months to train for the 2020 race, the 50th running of the New York City Marathon.

(SOUNDBITE OF VANGELIS SONG, "TITLES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.