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Reservist to compete in marathon in Big Apple

Timothy Marta will head to New York City in less than a month to represent the United Service Organizations in a race he said every runner sets their sights on — the ING New York City Marathon.

The 26.2-mile course winds through every New York City borough — Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx — and ends in Central Park.

Marta, a staff sergeant stationed at the Reserve Center on Macon Road in Columbus, said this will be his first time in the “Big Apple” and will be the perfect time to learn his way around the city he is planning to move to in January 2012.

“It will be overwhelming and breathtaking at the same time to run with so many people from around the world in New York City — I am really excited,” he said. “I have heard the race attracts huge crowds.”

According to the marathon’s website, 127 runners ran in the first New York City

Marathon in 1970. Now, there are millions of spectators with more than 100,000 competitors.

Marta said he has run a marathon before, but he has never ran a race of this caliber.

He ran in the Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, Wis., in 2009. And even though he had a stress fracture in his left foot, he kept going. By the end of the competition, he had a stress fracture in his right foot too, but said he was happy to finish the race.

The 25-year-old’s love for running goes further back than 2009. In third grade, he discovered he loved running and was good at it.

He joined a running club and at age 13, ran his first 10K. Throughout high school he ran track and cross-country.

Running was a family affair, he said. His mom, Pamela, ran with her dad when she was a child. And as an adult, she ran with her husband, David. Timothy started running with his parents at 9.

Pamela remembers Timothy as a young runner. He ran in two to three triathlons a summer and shorter distance races monthly, she said.

“I never told him to run — he was completely self-motivated,” Pamela said. “He was a lifeguard at 15. He would get up and run ten miles, teach swimming lessons at the pool and then bike. He was so disciplined. One summer, he ran two or three hundred miles.”

Pamela said her son still has that same passion and drive for running now. Timothy said he looks at running as therapeutic.

“A lot of people have different outlets to relieve stress or things they are addicted to, running is my addiction and stress reliever,” he said. “If I am stressed or really mad, I’ll just go for a run and it’ll clear my head.”

Timothy said he looks at every race as a race against himself. His goal for the New York City Marathon is to finish in 3 hours and 45 minutes, which is seven minutes faster than the last marathon he ran. He began training for the marathon in August and said he plans to gradually increase the number of miles he runs until the race, which is Nov. 7.

Between now and the race, Marta also has to raise $2,500, which directly benefits the USO. So far, he has raised $800. To donate, go to