By Meg Partington Wearing shoes designed by his 6-year-old daughter and a shirt bearing the name of his home state, Jarred Spataro crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon after almost 4 ½ straight hours of running. “Everything lined up perfectly,” including the weather, the 36-year-old Martinsburg resident said. His aqua sneakers with orange-pink swooshes and matching laces led him through many training runs and helped him complete the 26.2-mile event on Nov. 7 in 4:29:02. He averaged 10:16 per mile, placing 12,237th out of 24,940 runners. He shaved more than 30 minutes off his time from the 2019 marathon in the Big Apple and more than an hour off his debut marathon — the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall of 2018 in the Washington, D.C., area. Spataro’s blue and gold tank top reading “West Virginia” caused many shouts of “Let’s Go, Mountaineers” and “Go Dub-V,” as well as some singing of “Country Roads” by spectators along the course, which winds through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. “It is really, really, really packed,” Spataro said of the streets along the course. “It’s basically a 26-mile party,” including bands and DJs. “It’s crazy that total strangers are out there cheering you on.” There also were people dear to him there to encourage him as the span of miles sprawled before him. His wife, Kristin; daughter Kelsey, who is in Mrs. Stedman’s kindergarten class at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg; and his parents, John and Valerie Spataro, made their presence known at miles 8 and 17 ½, and right before the finish line. His father waved a 9-foot yellow flag to get the attention of the man wearing bib No. 25948. “For me, it was just getting from point to point,” said Jarred, who attended St. Joseph School from kindergarten to second grade. A 60-year-old man from New Hampshire was a pacer for those aiming to finish in about 4:30, and was with him the whole way. “He was a machine,” Spataro said. “He was great.” There were some tough times along the course. At around the 14-mile mark, one of his shoes got splashed after a nearby runner stepped on a cup on the ground that had water in it, but his steady stride helped it dry in about a mile. And the hill from mile 22 ½ to 23 ½ “basically took everything out of me. The last 2 ½ miles was pure misery.” A few days after the race, he said the sore quadricep muscles he was still nursing were worth it, even if they caused him to have to walk backward down steps for a few more days. “It was a lot of fun, relatively speaking,” he said of pushing himself past a physical breaking point. He trained for about 16 weeks to prepare for the event, doing long runs on Mondays (his longest was 21 miles), as well as interval training and hill workouts. He also did strength training and stretching with friend and SJS alumni Nate Sowers. “I just felt like I was in a better position this time,” Spataro said. He hopes to set an example for his daughter, “to work for something you want to do.” “I just hope one day she understands if you put your mind to something,” you can achieve it, he said. Once he has fully recovered, he hopes not to lose the fit base he has built. Spataro is not a fan of running in the cold and treadmills don’t hold his interest, but he hopes to log some miles on a stationary bike at home. He already signed up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2023, for which he might prepare with the fall 2022 half- marathon event in the Baltimore Running Festival or perhaps a second go at the Marine Corps Marathon. Spataro didn’t start running until 2017, after wanting to shed some pounds after a beach vacation. While new to pounding the pavement for recreation, Spataro is a lifelong athlete, his first sport being baseball. “As soon as I could pick up a bat, my dad was pitching to me,” Spataro said. A 2004 graduate of Martinsburg High School, he was a wide receiver and kicker for the Bulldogs’ football team and a catcher in baseball. “I missed competing,” he said, though not so much against others, but himself. “I wish I’d done this a long time ago.”
Courtesy Photo Jarred Spataro of Martinsburg is pictured with his family after the New York City Marathon. With him are his wife Kristin; daughter Kelsey, who is in kindergarten at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg; and his parents, John and Valerie Spataro.