November 02, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) Peppering the route where 50,000 runners have pushed through the 26.2 miles that make up the New York City Marathon are hundreds of signs offering advice, wisdom and humor to keep the runners' spirits up and legs moving. Here are a few of the creative posters designed to brighten the grueling run:

-AWESOME ROSA

''You're not sweating... You're leaking AWESOME'' read the sign held up by Merisa Rosa as she waited for a runner friend a few hundred feet from the Central Park finish line.

The message from the New Jersey elementary school principal went far beyond sports.

Five years ago, she had run in the marathon to raise money for muscular dystrophy, which her mother is fighting.

Two years ago, a friend's husband died of lymphoma.

And on this clear, chilly Manhattan night, the friend, Maureen ''Moe'' Stern of Chicago, was running as part of the TNT team - the Team In Training that raises research funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

''This is awesome for everybody,'' Rosa said as she leaned over a police barricade, raising her voice to cheer her friend under the Central Park trees.

-GRUMPY CAT

Brooklyn engineer Alan Alward held a sign featuring a photo of Grumpy, a sour-looking cat, with the caption: ''I ran once and now I'm done.''

Alward joined a lineup of family and friends hoisting three other signs, one signaling a ''High 5 Station'' with sketches of hands offering the familiar greeting.

Two other signs were in support of a family member and her friend - both 32-year-old women who ran side-by-side dressed alike in orange.

Making the placards on the eve of the marathon brought Alward and his wife together with loved ones ''at our dining room table,'' he said with a grin as he got a close-up view of the run in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood.

-TWINKIES FOR CHARLIE

In the windy chill, Kathleen and Will Dehler were smiling and shouting encouragement at the sea of runners.

They held a sign that read: ''Twinkies for Charlie. Autism speaks.'' Each ''i'' was dotted with a red heart.

The Dehlers were particularly on the lookout for their adult daughter. Her run had raised more than $6,000 toward finding solutions for autism.

Her 16-year-old nephew, their grandson Charlie Dehler, is autistic.

Kathleen Dehler's brow furrowed when she mentioned surviving Superstorm Sandy. But she smiled when explaining the possibilities for autism: ''There's so much hope now, and so much support is available than in the past.''

-TEAM IN TRAINING

A stand-alone sign tacked to a pillar of a house in Brooklyn urged along runners participating in the marathon to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's team in training poster riffed on a line from the borough's famed rapper, Jay Z. It read: ''TNT Got 99 Problems but HOPE Ain't One.''

There were no friends or family members speaking about the sign, but it was pinned to a pillar with red ribbons blowing in the wind.

-BATHROOMS ARE CONVENIENTLY LOCATED AT THE FINISH LINE

''Bathrooms are Conveniently Located at the Finish Line'' announced the sign Maria Rivera waved at the runners in perpetual motion - and still 20 miles from their goal.

But nature sometimes calls.

And marathon organizers set up 1,952 portable toilets along the runners' route.

''I was just messing with them,'' Rivera said, emitting a joyous laugh.

But the Puerto Rican-born college student's allegiance to her native land was no joke. Around her neck, she had tied a Puerto Rican flag that fluttered over her back. And she cheered with special ardor when a runner wore anything linked to Puerto Rico.

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