New York Times Portraits of Grief
The number is 18416.
That is the number that Rob Peraza was to wear while competing in the New York City Marathon next week. It was to have been his first marathon, and family members say that his diligent long-distance training -- often accompanied by his dog, Otis, through Central Park -- spoke to the determination and future plans of a man only 30 years old.
This year seemed to bring a certain maturity to Mr. Peraza, who had been living the 20-something life on the Upper West Side. His job as a bond trader with Cantor Fitzgerald was going well. His relationship with Megan Cressy, his girlfriend of nine months, was getting serious. And his mind, more accustomed to anticipating hits on a rugby field, was focused on completing that marathon. "A lot of things were falling in place for Rob," said his younger brother, Neil Peraza. "He was just starting to, I think, come into his own as a person."
Mr. Peraza's parents live in Ohio, his sister lives in North Carolina and his brother lives in Florida. But they are still planning to attend the marathon, and to see Rob's uncle from Virginia, Steve Comber, cross the finish line -- wearing No. 18416.