Broadway star Kelli O’Hara is currently preparing for her next big performance: the 50th TCS New York City Marathon. Tony’s winner, who also received Emmy and Grammy nominations for her work, will take to the streets of New York City to raise money for the Cancer Support Community This weekend. “It’s been an amazing test of what it means to hold on,” O’Hara told SELF. “There were days when I thought, could I do this? But for the most part I thought, no, this is what I want to do.
O’Hara recently won awards for her lead role as Anna Loenowens in The king and me, which she performed on Broadway, in London’s West End and at the Orb Theater in Tokyo. She also starred in Kiss me, kate; South Pacific; and Madison County Bridges, among several other shows nationwide.
Although O’Hara has long considered herself a runner, this will be her first marathon. “I started running when I was 12 or 13, going out and running in a way that felt like therapy, where I could think,” she says. Running continued to be an outlet for O’Hara as his show business career took off. “When I was 20, I ran Central Park or Riverside Park all the time. It has always been my form of exercise and relaxation. But it was more like six miles, it was never 26.2 kilometers. «
There is also a nostalgic element of the marathon for O’Hara. After all, the city’s community sporting event is one of its most endearing traditions, right off Broadway. “I’ve lived in New York forever, and I always saw the marathon go by on my way to the morning,” she says. « And I would always be like, I don’t have time to train for this because I do eight shows a week and I’m already exhausted. » Last year, however, the timing finally looked right.
« I feel really good about it. » she tells SOI. “I know it’s going to be tough. I’m not 20 anymore, but mostly for that reason, I feel like I have a little more benefit from having a little longevity wisdom. Below, O’Hara tells SELF about the favorite races she will be using on race day.