With the chanting of her name growing closer, native Long Islander Katie DiCamillo crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, a reality which she said felt like a dream.
After training for six months, the 2005 graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville finished the women’s marathon 15th overall -- and second-highest finishing American woman -- in 2:40:03.
DiCamillo, who in high school set 10 school records and still holds the Nassau Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association Cross-Country record with a time of 14:29.6 for a 2.5-mile course, said what got her through it was the support from the crowds.
“Everyone was chanting my name, so I was pumped the whole way,” said DiCamillo, 26, who now lives in Providence, R.I., and as an elite runner had her last name on her marathon bib instead of a number. “They were cheering as if they knew me. Even when I was alone, I never felt alone because there were so many people right there with me, chanting me on.”
DiCamillo ran at Providence College in Rhode Island, and in February 2011 was named USA Track & Field New England’s Athlete of the Month. As a warm-up for the New York City Marathon, she took fourth in the USA 20 KM Championships in New Haven, Conn. Sept. 2.
“These past two years, I’ve been trying to get into a lot of races and be a top-10 U.S. runner,” said DiCamillo, who runs for New Balance Boston as part of a team sponsorship. “I’d love to run marathons in other countries, but my ultimate dream is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic team.”
Last year’s New York City Marathon was supposed to be her first marathon, but after it was canceled due to superstorm Sandy, she ran in the Philadelphia Marathon, finishing with a time of 2:38:50.
“I was relieved to be able to make up for missing it and finish well this year,” said DiCamillo, who grew up in Garden City South. “It felt really good in the beginning and I tried to stay as relaxed as I could, but I tried to push it the last six miles. It was tough.”
When she reached the finish line, she saw her father’s face and felt overwhelming relief. Her father, John DiCamillo, 57, who also ran the New York City Marathon years back, influenced her to get into running.
“The entire way, I felt like I was in 30th place, so I told myself I was just going to run and survive this race,” she said. “But, when I saw my dad at the finish line and he was freaking out, screaming ‘15th place’ I knew everything was OK and I did better than I thought.”