Last night we found ourselves "unofficially" kicking off NYC Marathon Weekend with an impromptu gathering of runners and Marathon supporters.

It all started when we got a visit from one of the world's best female distance runners, DESIREE DAVILA, who just happens to be a good friend of one of our regulars from "The Corner".  DAVILA, who recently placed 2nd at the Boston Marathon in a thrilling finish and is currently training for the upcoming 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.  She's here this weekend to support the ING NYC Marathon.  Very down to earth and great to talk to.  We wish her well in her efforts and I'm confident that she'll be representing our country in the 2012 London Olympics!

Later in the evening, I had the opportunity to meet a gentleman by the name of Winston Kenton.  His daughter became a fan of the bar about a year ago and she shared with us about her admiration for Matt Long, through his book, "The Long Run".  She shared the book with her dad, who also happened to be a runner in his own right and he ended up loving the book as well.

When Kree (Winston's daughter) finally met Matt at our holiday party last year, she shared her story about her dad and Matt autographed a FDNY cap, which she gave to her dad.  Her dad loved the gift so much that he wears the cap almost every day.

As it turns out, Mr. Kenton qualified for the NYC Marathon and since he was going to be in the city to run the race, he had to come to the bar, in part because of its connection with Matt Long and the book.  One of his dreams was to meet the man behind the story at some point during the weekend.  Little did he know that his dream was about to come true.

While the family was sitting at one of the tables enjoying a nice dinner from Bareburger, I pointed out to Mr. Kenton that Desiree Davila was sitting nearby.  He immediately perked up and asked to meet her.  So while that meeting took place (she was very nice, btw), I received a text from Matt that he was going to swing by the bar for a bit.  Talk about perfect timing!

I pulled Kree aside and told her that Matt would be making a surprise appearance but not to say anything to her dad, as I wanted to surprise him.  So as the family sat back down to finish their dinner, a few minutes later Matt Long walked in.  As he made his way towards me, I looked at Mr. Kenton's reaction and you would have thought you were looking at a kid seeing Santa Claus.  His reaction was priceless....

The two talked a few minutes and even though the meeting was brief, it meant the world to Mr. Kenton and between meeting Matt and Desiree, it definitely was a highlight of his trip to NYC, and he hadn't even ran the race yet!  Good stuff.

Later in the evening, we got a surprise visit from members of Runner's World and Men's Health magazine.  They are actively involved in the NYC Marathon and I remember these guys from last year's race and they definitely love to have fun!

They definitely kicked the night in high gear and if last night is any indication of what we'll see on Sunday night, it's going to be one hell of a good party!

DON'T FORGET: Matt Long will be hosting a "Meet and Greet" for ING NYC Marathon runners and supporters TONIGHT (7-8pm)!  And while you're here, enjoy our Weekend Kick-Off Happy Hour ($4 Domestic Drafts/Well Drinks), 5-9pm


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