NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, October 22, 2015, 6:07 PM
Unlike most marathoners, the “knitting runner” powers through with a stitch in his side.
Every marathoner does their darndest – but this guy spins one hell of a yarn.
Meet David Babcock, a.k.a. “the knitting runner,” who will crochet flowers while weaving through all 26.2 miles of the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 1 and hand them out to spectators for Alzheimer’s awareness.
“I don’t need publicity, but a good cause like Alzheimer’s really does,” says Babcock, 43, from Missouri, who holds the Guinness World Record for knitting the longest scarf while running a marathon with the 12-foot by 2-foot monster he finished during the 2013 Kansas City Marathon.
He’s following in the footsteps of U.K. marathon knitter Susie Hewer, who held the previous world record, by completing these crafty challenges to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
“As long as I can keep raising money for Alzheimer’s, I’ll keep doing crazy runs,” he says.
He raised just under $ 10,000 last year, when he ran the New York City Marathon for the first time in just under four hours – a personal best – while double-knitting a six-foot scarf with the words “I’ll Remember For You.”
“I didn’t have any knitting needles, because New York is very strict with security. No tools, just my fingers,” he says. “But the nice thing is, I can do things by touch better. I don’t have to be always look at every single loop and hook and yarn over; I can feel what’s going on with the yarn, and see more of what is going on around me at the race.
“The marathon has an opportunity to be a very social race: to talk to the person next to you, to encourage each other,” he adds, “and I’d really like New York to be more that way.”
He’s switching things up this year by finger-crocheting six-inch flowers, which are symbolic to the people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, and handing them out along the course.
“The Alzheimer’s Association does a promise garden as part of their Walks to End Alzheimer’s where everyone holds up a flower that represents their connection to the disease: blue if you have Alzheimer’s, purple if you’ve lost someone, yellow if you’re a caregiver, and orange if you just support the cause,” he explains.
“So I thought bringing that idea back into the context of the marathon would be very visual, and finger-crocheting the flowers in these different colors, and giving them to people that are spectating, would be a good, symbolic way to reinforce we can all support Alzheimer’s treatment.”
Babcock will craft crochet flowers for Alzheimer’s awareness during this year’s race.
He’s been practicing running while crocheting on a treadmill, and can now craft one palm-sized flower every 11 to 12 minutes. He plans to spool the yarn around his arms, like armwarmers, and carry extra inside a fanny pack.
He’s aiming to complete at least 20 before finishing the marathon in a projected five or five-and-a-half hours, factoring in water breaks and pit stops.
And he delights in keeping his fellow runners in stitches.
“Last year in New York, I had one runner I passed say, ‘I hate you!’ because running a marathon is hard enough without someone like me doing something extra on top of it,” he laughs.
“But I like to support my fellow runners. I cheer them on, or I do something to make them smile while they run. And hey, maybe my knitting gives them something to distract themselves from all of the running.”
Babcock just completed the Kansas City Marathon by darning a giant doily..
To support David Babcock’s run, see knittingrunner.com or follow him on social media @donotstaple.
Meet the Knitting Runner
Lion Brand Yarn is hosting David Babcock at a couple of events leading up to the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.
Thu., Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.: Learn to finger-crochet flowers while moving, like David Babcock! Join runner David Babcock for an hour-long, easy-paced walk and talk in Central Park. Lion Brand will have yarn supply on hand. Meet at the Daniel Webster Statue on the west side of 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park. Free. No rain date.
Thu., Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.: Babcock gives a talk at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and demonstrates his finger crochet technique. 34 W. 15th St., Manhattan. Space is limited. RSVP at lionbrandyarnstudio.com.
Sun., Nov. 1, Marathon Day: Watch for Babcock at the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association’s cheering station at Mile 22 (110th St. & 5th Ave.).