Friday, November 7, 2014

NYC Marathon Sketch

On Sunday my niece, Beth, ran in the NYC Marathon. She was running in memory of one of my husband's cousins (John) who fell to his death a few years ago when he was mountain climbing in Colorado. Beth and John had planned to run the NYC Marathon together when he turned 60 that year. She did it alone this year and did it as a fundraiser for Big Brothers and Sisters, a charity he often worked for. 

A group of us from the family braved the very cold, windy day to watch the race hoping to see her. John's wife had flown in with her new husband from Colorado, and his two brothers came in from Ohio and NC. There also were 5 local family members. We were standing on 3rd Avenue and 92nd Street down the block from her apartment. I brought along my sketchbook because I wanted to sketch the action and turn the sketch into a painting for her (don't let her know...I want to surprise her). I did random figures  that often were combinations of two different runners and a bit of the background. Yes, some of the runners are not quite in proportion but I was freezing while I was sketching and my fingers were numb...and I was missing all the action too. I worked on this for about 25 minutes until we knew she would be near us shortly and then I put it away.

When I got home I worked on refining the figures using photos I took of assorted runners. I also put Beth in the center trying to get as close as I could to the photo I took of her.
Here is the sketch so far. I need to work on a few more of the runners and then I will add some watercolors and ink. Several of the figures standing and watching at the bottom of the sketch were family members who came in for the day.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Beth at mile 18 running with a friend who jumped in to run with her for a while. She was wearing a big apple costume.

Beth hugging John's wife, Dian.

Beth at the end of the race with her mom, Karen.

We all had "Team Boof" t-shirts to wear. Some of us ended up wearing them over our coats.

Here is Beth with her medal and her number. I have to add her number to her shirt in the sketch. She finished the race in under 5 hours...she says next year she plans to do better than that! Go Beth!!!


  1. This post was SO wonderful, Joan. It gave me chills... I love your sketches and such a beautiful tribute in John's memory. My Nephew volunteers every year on Mile 9. He gets medical help for all who needs it. I hope you post the painting when you finish it...She's going to LOVE it.
    (She has such a beautiful smile in the last photo!!!)

  2. Thanks, Hilda. I wonder if that was where she stopped for an Advil when she was running. lol She could have used him at mile 20 when she tripped, fell, and hurt her chin. It didn't stop her.

  3. What a wonderful family event, Joan! Can't wait to see the finished painting!

  4. What a sad story. Anyone who does a marathon has my admiration. Love the sketches too

  5. Thanks Tina and Polly. I think Beth really honored John's spirit by racing.

  6. Despite the cold, it looks like it was a wonderful day! She will be thrilled with your gift, I just know it!

  7. She will be very happy to receive a painting from you Joan! It will make for a treasured reminder the day!