The plethora of media coverage Donald Trump has garnered in his feisty presidential campaign appears to have yielded some rather unexpected results; polls now show that Trump is not only neck-and-neck with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House, but that he is actually favored to win yet another upcoming race: the New York City Marathon.
"I didn't even realize he was running!" said Bronx resident Wanda Cooke. "But now that I do, I'll definitely support him. It would be great to see an American win. And a New Yorker at that!"
The news that Trump was competing in the race came as a surprise to many because, generally, in order to compete in the New York City Marathon, runners must either be selected through a lottery process or must complete another documented marathon within a relatively stringent "qualifying" time. Trump, who has never before run a marathon, is clearly not a "qualified" runner.
As Trump himself noted jokingly, however, "Come on. When has not being qualified ever stopped me from doing anything?"
Fortunately for Trump, New York City Marathon rules permit non-qualified runners to compete on behalf of a charity, provided they raise a certain amount for the organization. While Trump is hardly known for his philanthropy, it seems that his past contributions to his own charitable foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, enabled him to register as a charitable runner.
"I won't be running for the Clinton Foundation, I can tell you that," he added wryly.
And now, following a plethora of sporty television commercials, a coveted endorsement by Nike, and a double-page ad in the Daily News proclaiming his athletic prowess, Trump is a clear favorite to win the race. If Trump does indeed take the race, he'll be the first American man to win the New York City Marathon since Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi in 2009 - although Trump himself doesn't consider that win a true American victory, given that Keflezihi was born in the African country of Eritrea.
"Meb's a great runner, but he's not an American," avowed Trump. "No more so than Obama is."
Waxing philosophical during a training break yesterday, Trump told a group of Manhattanites enjoying the unseasonably warm weather along New York's East River, "For me, this race is symbolic. The original marathon happened when a soldier ran from Marathon, Greece, to Athens to carry the message of Greece's victory over Persia. On marathon day - and then again on Election Day - I'll be carrying that same message of victory to the American people."
One of the onlookers pointed out that Pheidippides, the original marathon messenger, collapsed and died after delivering his victory message.
"I don't plan to do that," laughed Trump. "I plan to last at least until the following Tuesday. Plus another four years."