Patrick Harten is the hero air traffic controller who helped guide “Sully’s” ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ flight to safety in 2009. Now the 44-year-old lifelong runner and native New Yorker who aided US Airways Flight 1549 to an unbelievable landing on the Hudson River is taking on another challenge: The NYC Marathon.
Inspired by Shalane Flanagan’s NYC Marathon win in 2017, where she was the first American woman to win the iconic race since 1977, Harten decided to sign up and run the five boroughs in 2018.
“I am a New York kid, and I have always wanted to run the New York City Marathon — mostly because my dad did so in 1985. I qualified in 2010 but tore my hamstring right before the race. I had to stop running for six weeks, so I let my dream go — until last year,” he told ESPN.
Almost a decade ago, Harten was on the other end of the radio transmission as pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger yelled “may day” after hitting birds and losing thrust in both of his engines. That’s when Harten jumped into action.
“I cleared his path to the Hudson. I notified the Coast Guard and the NYPD. And that was it,” he recalled. “There was nothing else I could do. I kept thinking, I am going to be part of the worst aviation incident in modern times. I didn’t know everyone was going to survive. I assumed everyone was going to die. I spent 45 minutes thinking that, but I had to continue working. I went through the motions like a robot. I started preparing a statement. I felt the weight of the world.
“Finally, my colleague delivered the words that would change my life, ‘They survived.'”
Harten ran the 2009 Boston Marathon in a blazing 2 hours, 47 minutes, lacing up his shoes to honor his “Miracle on the Hudson” family. But, that was his last 26.2-mile race.
“It doesn’t matter if I run a three-hour marathon or slow walk a six-hour marathon, this one is for my Miracle on the Hudson family,” he said.
And without a doubt, all 155 passengers and crew members, and their friends and family appreciate the space Harten continues to hold for them in his heart.