The upcoming TCS New York City Marathon will have more than 50,000 participants. Unfortunately, Patrick Powers was not selected in the race’s lottery. That left his dream of running the Nov. 6 race along with his stepson, John Trudgeon, who was picked, in doubt.
Powers was not easily deterred. He applied to join the 10-member team of runners annually assembled by archdiocesan Catholic Charities, saying that he would personally fund the $3,000 in charitable sponsorships that each member is required to collect for Catholic Charities.
When Catholic Charities added Powers to its team, he was off to train with his 29-year-old son in the sunny climate of Orange County, Calif., where they live.
Powers ran the New York City Marathon once before, back in 2008. He recalled the support of New Yorkers of all ages and ethnicities along the route. They even offered their congratulations when they saw him with his race medal in the airport as he prepared to return home.
Music, provided by bands and groups, at regular intervals during the marathon’s 26.2-mile course over the city’s five boroughs, is a welcome distraction from the aches and fatigue that are part of the experience.
“You almost forget that you’re running a marathon—there are so many distractions, in a good way,” said Powers during a phone interview last week from his office at BFS Wealth Management, where he is managing principal.
Powers also wears another hat, or more accurately, a cape. He is vice governor general for North America of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal order whose members are invested as knights and dames.
He asked Victoria Downey, the lieutenant for the Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States, based in Manhattan, if she would appeal to her members to support his endeavor. She agreed, and the lieutenancy’s members have begun responding to the call, because of the good work and services that Catholic Charities provides to New Yorkers and the fact that it is Cardinal Dolan’s “flagship charity,” as Powers noted. The cardinal is also the grand prior of the lieutenancy.
Powers was lieutenant of Holy Sepulchre’s Western Lieutenancy for eight years before he became vice governor general nearly six years ago.
He shared one other special memory from his first New York City Marathon experience. He recalled it as the year that Msgr. Robert Ritchie, the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, first hosted an annual Mass for participating marathoners. The liturgy has grown since then, and now features some 700 marathoners and their supporters. This year’s Mass will be offered on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 5:30 p.m.
Powers remembers the special blessing the runners received from Msgr. Ritchie when he called them up to the cathedral’s sanctuary. “It was like you had angels’ wings on after the Mass,” he said. “It lightened your steps.”
Powers said he has told the story about his uplifting experience at the cathedral many times. About a year ago, he had a chance to tell Msgr. Ritchie about the “huge impact” the Mass and blessing had, when he met the rector at a reception at the Cardinal’s residence.
Marathon training has not gotten any easier. He and his son just finished a 24-mile run the weekend before last. He feels he is well prepared, but also realizes he is unlikely to break his personal-best time. Still, he hopes he will finish with a ‘4’, as in hours, in front of his name.
The only thing he is unprepared for is rain. Spoken like a true Californian.