Although the prestige of the Boston Marathon lures in plenty of non-qualifying celebs, the NYC Marathon is arguably the most star-studded of all the races. When running the NYCM there is a chance you will be following in the rich and famous footsteps of a celebrity runner. Actually, the odds are good that they will be following your middle-class and less widely known footsteps to the finish line. There hasn’t been much buzz about the upcoming red carpet runners, but I assume someone of acting/singing fame will don a bib not secured through a random lottery drawing to test their physical and mental will on the streets of NYC. Last year rumours swirled about Victoria Beckham, but on race day she failed to materialize. Maybe 2009 is her year. Superman’s son is reportedly running as part of the fundraising Team Reeve. With six months to go it is a little early for celebrity runners (or “celebrity” runners) to promote, I mean for a friend to accidentally-on-purpose leak, their running intentions to their adoring fans and entertainment shows. A lot can go wrong in six months. The safer strategy is the 11th hour entry, Katies Holmes style, that way you are saved from the humiliating ‘but why aren’t you running’ if your plans flop.
When it comes to celebrities in running shoes there is really only one question on my mind: how will my NYC victory lap measure up against that of the Hollywood stars? I may never match their wealth or their fame, but maybe I can best their finish time. This could be a reality TV show: Are you faster than a celebrity? From the hare to the tortoise here is a sampling of the NYCM celebrity race results. [If I missed star power from past runnings of the please pass the names and race info along. ]
Are you faster than a celebrity?
- Lance Armstrong, 2006, 2007 (2:46:42). Crazy fast cyclist takes on the world of running and wins. An incredible achievement, but I quickly grew weary of Lance Armstrong stories monopolizing the pages and covers of my running magazines.
- Billy Baldwin, 1992 (3:24:29). At first this surprised me, mostly because I mix up all the Baldwin Brothers and I thought Billy was the one of Celebrity Fit Club/Celebrity Rehab/I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here fame. Turns out that’s Daniel, the reality TV brother. I obviously have no idea who Billy is, but well done.
- Tom Cavanagh, 2006 (3:29:31). TV’s Mr. Nice Guy funnels his childhood spent running the plains of Africa (before achieving Northern fame starring in Labatt Beer commercials) into a decent debut marathon.
- Haruki Murakami,1991,1998, 2000, 2005 (3:31:26). He doesn’t just write about what he talks about when he talks about running, he can run too.
- Ryan Reynolds, 2008 (3:50:22). More than another Alanis Morisette ex, but not one in her Dear John Unsent list, this rising leading man and self described “running joke” ran for a cause, which is eloquently summarized in his pledge letter. In the great Ryan Reynolds tradition, Husband joined Team Fox this year. Go Husband.
- Kim Alexis, model, 1992+4 (PB: 3:52:00). Eight time marathoner including five in New York. A Runner’s World cover in the 1980s. Gorgeous and athletic. Probably smart too. Next.
- Peter Weller, 1988 (3:51:26). Does it surprise anyone that Robocop ran a sub-4 hour marathon? I’d be even more impressed if he ran it in full robo-armour.
- Vanessa Carlton, 2005 (3:56:20). Was her hit song A Thousand Miles about more than a lost love?
- Meredith Baxter, 1982 (4:08:30). Beloved ex-hippy TV mom to the even more lovable Alex P. Keaton ran a marathon way back in 1982. That was before marathoning was a women’s Olympic event. She’s a celebrity trailblazer.
- Sean Combs, 2002 (4:14:54). His one goal was to beat Oprah, which he did with the aid of an umbrella wielding manservant.
- Beth Ostrosky, 2008 (4:15:39). In my “research” for this article her name popped up. I admit, I had to google her to uncover her celebrity credentials. More so than her modelling, her marriage to Howard Stern lands her a spot on this fame-friendly list.
- Will Ferrell, 2001 (5:01:06). Not bad for a man known for being the out-of-shape funny guy. He has also run sub-4, in Boston of all places.
- Katie Holmes, 2007 (5:29:58). Post-Suri birth little Joey Potter and her famously non-supportive sports top crossed the finish line. I’d take up running too. You know what I mean.
- David Lee Roth, 1987 (6:04:43). I don’t even want to know. I suspect his pitstops involved more than just a pee break.
- Barney Stinson, 2006 (time unknown). This fictional character on How I Met Your Mother ran the NYCM as a bet. His exploits really are, wait for it, legendary: my review of his race is my most popular blog entry to date.
Title Reference: David Bowie – Fame. From the album Young Americans. 1975.