Abby Wambach has been away from professional sports for more than half a decade now, but she’s still a better athlete than anyone reading this, and yes, that includes you, person who thinks they’re better than everyone at everything. On Sunday, Wambach participated in her first marathon, completing the New York City Marathon in impressive time as her wife hilariously supported her, even if she didn’t quite record the fastest time from a former USWNT star.
Wambach retired from soccer in 2015 as the all-time leading goal scorer in international football history (she’s since been passed by Christine Sinclair). She said it was a dream to run a marathon and in 2019 she began training for the 2020 NYC Marathon. That event was canceled, much like most of our plans in 2020. Fast forward to 2021 and she ran in Sunday’s marathon alongside three other former USWNT players.
Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Leslie Osborne and Kate Markgraf all ran the NYC Marathon together in support of the JLH Fund. For those wondering, the JLH Fund is not to support the flagging career of actress Jennifer Love Hewitt; it’s the foundation started by Jrue and Lauren Holiday (for more info, click here).
I could not find a finish time for current USWNT general manager Markgraf, but the three others all turned it super times. Holiday led the way at 3 hours, 40 minutes and 30 seconds followed by Osborne (3:41:33) and Wambach (3:44:25).
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) November 7, 2021
These athletes trained their entire careers to play for 90 minutes, and here they are going strong for nearly four hours long after having retired. In case you’re not properly impressed, that’s running an 8:30 mile 26.2 times without a break; I’d be happy to run a half-marathon in that time. They all finished more than an hour ahead of former NFL running back Tiki Barber (4:47:49). Chelsea Clinton was reported to have finished under an alias in a time of 3:59:09.
Perhaps the best part of the entire race was the support given to Wambach from her wife, Glennon Doyle, a New York Times bestselling author who can’t make up her mind about dinner.
Here’s a step-by-step process of Doyle’s support for Abby at the marathon, during which she transforms from clueless but enthusiastic to professional marathon watcher to woman very glad she did not have to do the running.
Hello loves can you share good ways to support a marathon runner? I already made my "BABE YOU CAN STOP WHENEVER YOU WANT TO" sign @nycmarathon
Hi I'm watching people run a marathon and I will never be the same
Everyone with a hurting heart - please go to watch a marathon. It will remind you that people are beautiful and true. I am all better. I love everyone again. Thank you New York. @nycmarathon
I am no longer a writer - am spending rest of life cheering on marathoners. This new mission combines my two best gifts: enthusiasm and not running. https://t.co/ycvMzR8TVj
I freaking love my wife so freaking much. I think if she can run a marathon without quitting she can love me forever without quitting too @AbbyWambach @nycmarathon #WeCanDoHardThings pic.twitter.com/LR8eJLIrZI
Shout-out to the sign in the background of the above image: “Arthur, run like you forgot today is your wife’s 66th birthday!” But also, get yourself someone who supports you like Glennon supports Abby.
After the race, I think Doyle was more exhausted than Abby.
Don't worry I'm recovering from the marathon now pic.twitter.com/IbjdnzkRur
As hilarious as Doyle’s support was, Jrue Holiday’s response to his role in helping Lauren prepare for the marathon may have been even better.
“I could never do this in my life, ever,” Jrue Holiday said. “Running is not for me.”
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 4, 2021
After all this writing about running, I think it’s time I take a nap.