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Running in memory of loved ones at New York City Marathon

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 9:56 PM

Sofia Russo poses for a photo after finishing the New York City Marathon.Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

Sofia Russo poses for a photo after finishing the New York City Marathon.

Sofia Russo, 29, became emotional as she crossed the New York City Marathon’s finish line carrying the memory of her 4-year-old daughter, Ariel, who was killed by an unlicensed driver fleeing from police in 2013.

“I just feel like when I go run, she’s with me,” Russo said as she was greeted by her husband, Alan, 30, and children, Jacob, 5, and James, 1, in Central Park.

The green space was Ariel’s favorite spot in the city, Russo recalled.

“When I was going through dealing with the loss, all the sadness and all the emotions, I used to go to the park and just run,” she said.

Winning the lottery to participate in the marathon was a divine signal, she said.

“I felt like this is a sign (that) Ariel’s gonna be with me,” Russo remembered. “Running has helped me connect with her and with my emotions.”

At the finish line, tears streamed down Sofia’s mother’s face.

“Every step she makes, she thinks of Ariel,” said the mother, Katia Gutierrez.

Russo — who finished in 5 hours, 32 minutes, 13 seconds — wasn’t the only one running to honor a loved one.

Jennifer Kosakowski wears her Transportation Alternative T-shirt. Courtesy of Jennifer Kosakowski

Jennifer Kosakowski wears her Transportation Alternative T-shirt.

Enlarge Doohee Cho who was killed in a fatal hit and run on Sept. 28, 2014. Handout

Doohee Cho who was killed in a fatal hit and run on Sept. 28, 2014.

Enlarge

Jennifer Kosakowski, 33, ran to remember her fiancé, a General Electric executive killed in a hit-and-run a block away from Union Square last October.

Her fiancé, Doohee Cho, 33, was mowed down by Macgyver Beltran, 25, around Fifth Ave. and W. 15th St., according to authorities.

Kosakowski, a literature professor, met Cho at Rutgers, which they both attended.

Her run helped raise more than $ 10,000 for Transportation Alternatives, a safe-streets advocacy group.

Ethan Hawke, and his wife, Ryan Hawke poses for a photo after finishing the New York City Marathon.Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

Ethan Hawke, and his wife, Ryan Hawke poses for a photo after finishing the New York City Marathon.

But a foot injury stopped her from finishing the 26.2-mile race.

“I ran so fewer families and individuals have to suffer the tragic loss of a loved one,” she said after her race was cut short. “I felt helpless after Doohee’s death.”

She was joined by 50,000 runners, including celebrities Alicia Keys, Ethan Hawke and James Blake.

Blake crossed the finish line in 3 hours, 51 minutes.

The former tennis star was handed a chocolate shake from two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka at the end of the race.

“I was nervous at the start,” he said. “About halfway through I didn’t think I would get through four hours. I just kept telling myself I have to keep running and not stop and walk.”

But he doesn’t have any plans of running it again.

“No, no. Leave it to the pros,” he said. “Leave it to the people who can train a little more and have this kind of energy. I don’t know if I’ll have this kind of energy again.”

There were hundreds of civil servants in the race, including firefighter Joe Scotto, who was ecstatic as he crossed the finish line.

“You grew up wanting to be a Yankee and it doesn’t happen,” said Scotto, who is based at Engine 92 in the Bronx. “The only way you have 50,000 people cheer for you is to run the New York City Marathon.”

Gee Chamorin, 60, from the Bronx, ran with the Van Cortlandt Track Club.

“We all came together,” he said, referring to the running team. “We’re afraid together. It’s better to do it with other people.”

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Spike Lee, the grand marshal of the New York City Marathon waves to the crowd.

Chamorin proudly finished his 17th marathon, including eight in New York. He’s looking forward to the next race with the team.

“They’re going to wake up the next morning and say, ‘I think I can do better than this,’” he said.

Ebonny Fowler, 40, from Harlem, ran her first marathon Sunday.

“I feel amazing,” she said at the finish line. “The New York City crowd is amazing. All the borough they made me feel so good. It’s nothing like it.”

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New York Manhattan Upper East Side 89 St and 1 Ave, Nov 1, 2015.

As for the winners, Kenyans grabbed the two top spots at the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Stanley Biwott won his first major marathon and fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany became the first woman to repeat since Paula Radcliffe in 2008. Bitwott crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 34 seconds, beating compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor by a mere 14 seconds.

Keitany finished in 2:24:25, defeating Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia by 67 seconds for the largest margin of victory since Radcliffe’s 2008 win. She pulled away around the 21-mile mark to became the eighth woman to win more than once in New York.

rblau@nydailynews.com

Prepare yourself today for the fields of tomorrow


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