2017 TCS New York Marathon
Until March this year, I was never planning to do a road marathon, until one night where Lisa and I got carried away at the MND&ME charity auction - and next thing we knew - I had a confirmed ticket to the 2017 NY Marathon. I was actually pretty excited to get to New York to run this event. I had always heard great things about this one, so figured - if I was going to do one marathon - this should be it. So, the variation of training to my usual trails began, and I managed to get up to a comfortable pace for 35kms on the road. Typically on the trails I am a slower runner - so the road faster pacing was a novel addition to the typical runs I do. Getting to New York was easy via Los Angeles on Qantas, arriving on the Thursday night, we manage to get to an American football game (Jets vs Buffalo Bills) on the same night to ensure we slip into the right time-zone and sleep pattern. The Marathon was on the Sunday morning, my wave started at 10.40am (Wave 3). Logistically though, we had to get a bus from the Manhattan Library (6 or so blocks from Central Park) at 6am to get us all to the starting area on time. There were massive queues getting on the bus, but we kept on swiftly moving forward and onto the 100s of buses that were available to us. Waiting for our start, it came surprisingly fast, after a being rugged up in my blanket and warm pjs, we stripped off into the race gear and donated all the "keep warm" clothes we had as warmers to the charity bins and headed to the start gates. To appreciate the starting of 50,000 runners (all doing the marathon) and ensuring everyone had the ability to try to get the time they had requested on the entry, even the start line village logistics was massive. There was 4 waves, each wave had 3 start lines and each start line had 5 entry points. Allowing you to be grouped with all the other liked speed runners. Each of the start lines had a separate first 8 miles of the course - until we joined up - eg. 2 lines went on top of the Stratton Island Bridge while another line went under the bridge. Once I was in the right gated area, we shuffled around to the start line at the end of the Bridge, and with the "American National Anthem" and the cannon fire we were off. Heading over the first Bridge was a steady incline, lots of high spirits and runner encouragement. It also helped having the entertainment of the policemen standing on their cars with the stereo pumping and dancing with encouragement. Right then I knew I was in for a special run. Over the Staten Island Bridge, we were welcomed into Brooklyn with the masses of crowds. The cheering was absolutely crazy. I am sure in most segments, it was 3-5 people deep cheering you, lots of people shouting out your name (it helped that I had my bib with my name on the front). Also with lots of music bands /djs, everytime you ran past music source and they would fade into the distance, the next one would start. It was very hard to go slow and paced with all this fanfare! Running through Brooklyn was the biggest highlight, given I was still fresh in the body and fully took in all the atmosphere! The next borough was Queens, which also was around the half way mark. Again massive crowds and lots of posters of motivation. Some of them I can remember were:
- Where is everyone going?
- Worst parade ever
- An uber from here to the finish lines costs 40.15
- Pain is temporary - Internet Race results last forever
- Go - Complete Stranger!
- If you want an arm workout as well, run on the sides of the course and high 5 all the supporters!
- Wear your name on the front of your shirt - I lost count how many times my name was called out in cheering! The cheering pulls you forward too! I equate it to like drafting on a bike!
- Pick a time for the course that is correct for you. The corral system is awesome and you will be put in a grouping that is right for your speed.
- Go the Poncho option at the end. Wear clothes you can throw out at the start.
- With the rain and wet feet. Blistop saved my feet with no blisters or hotspots after the run