NYC Marathon Runner Feature: Marc Kowalsky

During the NYC Marathon, the biggest and most popular marathon in the world, runners take on 26.2 miles through all five boroughs: starting from Staten Island and then snaking thorough Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx before crossing the finish line in Manhattan. In 2018, more than 52,000 runners participated in the NYC Marathon, where as the Boston Marathon saw less than 30,000.

This highly anticipated event is just around the corner — the 2019 NYC Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2019! As an official community charity for the event, Play Rugby has been given the opportunity to sponsor five runners. Not only is each runner taking on the challenge of completing the marathon, but also pledging to raise at least $2,500 in support our vision: To Create a Better World Through Rugby! We hope you will donate to our marathon team and offer words of encouragement through their fundraising page.

To aid their efforts, we’ll feature each of our runners through the coming weeks. Our runners are a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life and we are so grateful for their support!

First up: Marc!

Name: Marc Kowalsky
Fundraising Page:
Hometown: South Florida
Profession: Orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and shoulder/elbow surgery
Connection to rugby: I went to Dartmouth College, where I initially joined the football team.  I first encountered rugby early in college and it changed my life. I had the fortune to play with some very talented and experienced athletes at Dartmouth, and we had a good run.  I developed some close lifelong relationships, and I have stayed closely connected to the sport since then.  After finishing my residency and fellowship training, I returned to New York to practice, and immediately sought opportunities to get involved in rugby on the medical side.  One of my earliest relationships was with Play Rugby USA, and I served as medical consultant and provided medical care for the high school athletes playing 7s rugby on Randall’s Island on Friday evenings.  

I have sought every opportunity to provide sports medicine care to rugby players at every level of competition.  I currently serve as team physician for Greenwich High School rugby, Iona College rugby, and White Plains Rugby Football Club.  I serve as medical director for the Northeast Academy, and as a team physician for the USA Rugby National Team.  Unfortunately too old, slow, and small to play at this point, sports medicine has allowed me to stay intimately involved in the game that I love.

Reason for running the NYC Marathon: Many of my friends and colleagues had run marathons.  At a point in my life where my rugby days were done, I was looking for a new challenge, and for a way to reinvigorate my athletic self.  Endurance running has allowed me to do this.  When I learned that Play Rugby had a team for the NYC Marathon, there was a fantastic opportunity to continue to push myself, but also to support Play Rugby and its mission.

Last year’s marathon was my first, and at the time I thought my last.  However, as predicted by friends, I have been bitten by the bug.  The NYC marathon was absolutely as amazing as everyone had described, and I look forward to enjoying the experience 

Expectations of this exciting fundraising experience: The benefit of running for such a meaningful charity is not only that I have the opportunity to contribute to its ability to execute on its mission, but also that I am now accountable to the athletes that Play Rugby serves.  I know how hard these young athletes work to seek opportunities on the field and in life, and when I am challenged in training for this race I will always be reminded that these challenges pale in comparison to what some of these athletes face on a daily basis.