When neighbor Katherine Slingluff crossed the finish line this past Sunday at the TCS New York City Marathon, she knew it was momentous — it was her third marathon, but her first in ten years, so she felt like she was starting all over — but she had no idea how much so. She now holds the title of being the one millionth person to finish the race in its 44-year history.
“It is totally an unexpected honor!” she says. “I did not know they were even looking for the millionth person, so when they called me I thought it might be a joke at first.”
As part of the honor, she’s won guaranteed entry into the race for life and a shopping spree for marathon gear. But for Slingluff, a freelance interiors photographer and mother of two, the experience was more about getting through it successfully. Her goal, “which I’m now realizing was ambitious,” she says, was four hours flat, and her actual time was a still impressive 4:43:35.
“It was a real struggle for me from mile 21-24…those were definitely the toughest miles,” she says. “By the end of the race I was just happy to be able to finish, regardless of my time.”
After the race she met her husband, Andy Stuckey, and after not being able to find a cab, they decided to hop on the subway to get back home to Park Slope.
“It was a brutal commute, but I do think it helped me stretch out my muscles,” Slingluff says. “Had I sat in a cab for an hour getting home I might not have been able to walk.”
After a post-marathon dinner at Bare Burger — a favorite of family, along with Connecticut Muffin — and a good night’s sleep, she said her legs are feeling a lot less sore now. Whether she’ll jump right back into training for another marathon, though, is still a question she’s considering.
“It’s hard to foresee what my plan for next year is,” she says. “My record so far shows me running a marathon just about every 10 years, so for me to start running one a year would be a big change for me. I’d like to think I would do it again next year just to honor the gift…then we’ll see after that.”
Whether she is training for the marathon or just going for herself, the life-long runner, who ran her first marathon when she was right out of college, may be spotted dashing around Prospect Park.
“Living right next to Prospect Park is wonderful for my daily routines,” Slingluff says. “I love not having to dodge around people on sidewalks and worry about misstepping. I can go to Prospect Park and just be on cruise control and really relax while I run.”
Having the park as her backyard isn’t just great for a workout. With a 3-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, having Prospect Park so accessible is incredibly helpful.
“There are so many times when we need to burn off 45 minutes of energy and so we head to the meadow and play tag or kick a ball around,” she says. “The park makes you feel as though you have space to breathe!”
Another aspect of the neighborhood that she appreciates for her family: The wonderful schools, and the way they bring neighbors together.
“My daughter is six and has had a wonderful experience so far at PS 321,” she says. “The schools really build a sense of community, which is comforting.”
Slingluff is also part of a musical community — with her husband, she plays in the band Paper Anniversary, which put out its first album, Signature Confessions, this year, featuring songs they wrote during their first year together. The duo is a bit singer/songwriter, a bit bluegrass, a bit country, and definitely rooted in the scene that’s been growing in Brooklyn.
“We both are involved in the bluegrass music community here in Brooklyn which is really fun!” she says. “Jalopy in Red Hook is our favorite place to perform.”
In fact, this past Friday, Slingluff produced a Halloween-inspired show with her friend Leigh Anderson at Jalopy, featuring a lineup of musicians singing classic country and bluegrass murder ballads. Also a fundraiser, they collected $500 for Girls on the Run, an after-school program designed to teach young girl healthy life choices through a creative running program, which is also the organization she ran the marathon for.
“It really makes the race extra special to know that you’re doing it for a greater cause,” Slingluff says. “Plus they are a built-in team support system for you the day of, which is what you really need! I needed a boost heading up 1st Avenue at around mile 19, and there was my Girls on the Run cheering section! It really helped me a lot during the race.”
Join us in congratulating our neighbor on the honor, and another big congrats to all who ran!