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    Posted November 22, 2008

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Meet our Marathoners - JIMMY LUDWIG

Jimmy Ludwig

For the third straight year, AEA Principal Councillor Jimmy Ludwig ran the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd.

He also was given the opportunity to sing America the Beautiful for the start of the wheelchair race and "did some hanging out with Mayor Bloomberg at the start line." He also ran his best time in three years, 3:45:11, even after having knee surgery just 10 months ago.

"This year was all about that for me. I had a terrible feeling that because of the surgery I would be a step slower, you know, 'you've run your fastest, the fastest you'll ever go.' Truth is, these days age really doesn't matter much, if you train hard enough. The woman who took second is 40! The woman who won the Olympic marathon this year is 38! I'll be 41 in a week or so, and if you're willing to work hard enough, age is truly just a number. I'm already planning training for next year, even though they say that you can't even THINK about your next marathon until you can forget the pain of the last one... I mentioned this to my sister in law once, and she said, "Oh! It's just like childbirth!"

Jimmy's interest in participating in this event peaked while he was working on Broadway as a standby in SPAMALOT. He heard through a connection they had with the Mayor's office that the Sports Commissioner wanted the Broadway community to get involved. Jimmy, who was a runner in high school, had not run seriously in over 10 years. "I run at the gym sometimes however, I hadn't run seriously in more than 10 years prior to my first marathon. I kind of caught the bug after my first race and got into it. You either get into it to cross it off your life list or you do it and you catch the bug. Once I did one I figured I could do this again."

Official marathon training begins approximately 4 months prior to the race. Before beginning your first week's schedule, it is recommended that you are at least at a 15 mile a week base. First-time marathoners training can range from 3 to 20 miles a day depending on what week you are in your training. "You can't cheat marathon training," Jimmy explained when asked how he would juggle his long Saturday morning runs with doing two performances that day. He would hope that no one would be out that day and that he wouldn't have to go on after those 18-20 mile runs however, he wasn't always so lucky. "There were a couple times, one in particular, where I ran one of my first 20 milers and was wrecked. I got the call that I was on for 2 shows and a tap track. I remember thinking 'how in God's name am I going to pull this off.' But you put one foot in front of the other and you get through the day. "

Being an actor has helped Jimmy succeed as a marathon trainer in more ways than one. Jimmy believes that for a lot of actors, marathon training fits into the structure. "I was taught that as an actor you are a small business owner. You have to hit the street and audition etc and that does take a lot of discipline. You know you are the one in the morning that says you have to get up and train."

All of the hard work and training was worth the pain. Jimmy remembers vividly crossing that finish line for the first time. "I remember that I felt enormous relief and an intense feeling of accomplishment. It was incredibly emotional. I think I cried for no reason. I walked it off and sat down and just burst into tears. All this stuff is built into you and you are in disbelief. An amazing thing about making NYC your first marathon is that there are about 2.5 million people watching you and screaming their heads off for you. You can high five people until your arm falls off. I'm not an elite athlete and yet on that day I get to compete on this elite course with 40,000 runners. I don't know of any other sporting event where you are able to compete on the same field with the elites on the same day as the elites and feel like you are a part of the same thing. And no one does it like NY! It's amazing how being a New Yorker, your pride level goes through the roof! It's very intense."

  Marathoners overview page

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