“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 

For 50 State Quest, the plan was always NYC.  Not a fan of large races – I don’t do well in crowds – but after working 9 years in Manhattan, running in New York was like coming home.  A crazy dysfunctional family…but a tight unit [with history] nonetheless 🙂

3am – the earliest I’ve woke for a marathon.  1045-11am – the latest I’ve started a marathon.

Staten Island⇨ Brooklyn⇨ Queens⇨ Bronx⇨ Manhattan

Never previously been to Staten Island, New York’s ‘other’ island borough – come with their own unique accent.  downtown Manhattan Hotel to the Subway, 4 stops, switched to the 1, another 45 minute ride south to Whitehall Ferry Terminal.  Arrived 20 minutes before my 6am ticket time.  Pre-purchased ticket on the Staten Island Ferry, travel restricted for the Marathon runners only today.  Hoards of people crowded the station.  Swayed with a wave of runners to Gate 3 – ferry filled, I didn’t get on.  Swayed over with the masses to Gate 1, second time a charm.  Once on the ferry, felt I could breathe again…some semblance of personal space restored.

Day broke during the short 25 minute ride to Staten Island.  Could have taken a taxi & rode over the Verrazano but I’d get that opportunity during the race – one of 2 NYC mega bridges I’d run over today.

From St. George Terminal on Staten Island, I’d take a city bus to the marathon staging area at Fort Wadsworth.  Disembarking the bus, I’d go through two rounds of security – NYPD, metal detectors & police dogs.  No backpacks allowed.

Half-mile walk to Fort Wadsworth – only bib-wearing participants allowed – was sectioned off by color & later Wave #.  Sat on a bright green lawn with other Blue bib wearers, sipped Pedialyte, popped on my headset, tried to relax.  Whatta journey – the race itself only 26.2 miles…but the journey to today’s Start, absolutely unforgettable.

An hour half later (Blue) Wave 2 was called.  Short walk (probably tenth-mile away) to gated corrals.  10-12ft corrals, blue sky above, dirt floor below, boxed inside – could not see out.  Each corral included its own porta-potty & loud speaker.  None of the runners around me spoke English; my wave predominately French.  Announcements on the loud speaker commenced – first, in German.  “Achtung”  Danger?  Announcements would continue in French, before English – later followed in Japanese, Chinese & Spanish.

Honestly, don’t mean this disrespectfully – but the entire experience was reminiscent to Jews in a concentration camp.  Completely overwhelming, navigating by oneself.  Not sure why/when/where [I was] being led, spot to spot.  Boxed in with strangers.  No one speaks your language.  Loud speaker announcements in German.

Door opens.

Now it’s a party – everything’s in English, music blaring, spectators crowded on outdoor bleacher seating.  Announcer is shouting to countries participating in my wave – Denmark, France, Eritrea, Cote d’Ivoire, Sweden, South Africa…and the list continues.  Everyone’s clapping.  We keep moving forward – music a blarin’.  Carn-i-vale.

Wave to the camera, wave as you cross the Start, wave to the camera above – and POP, we’re off.

The Verrazano Bridge lurks ahead.  Minutes later, welcome to Brooklyn.  We’d run 12 miles in Brooklyn, primarily thru tree-lined neighborhoods.  You’d never use New York as your BQ-qualifier race – never reached a point where personal space was ever restored…runners to the left, runners directly ahead.  Settled in, looked around, soaked in the experience.

Crossed into Queens just past mile 13.  Would only be here only 2 ½ miles.  Dirtiest, least favourite of my 5-borough experience.  So much security at the race start…but in Queens, spectators crowded streets leaving less room to run.  Music blared, folks touched you, patted you on the back, said lotta encouraging words – but the sheer amount of bodies was confining.

Crossed Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan.  Would run uptown 4 miles, cross into the Bronx before mile marker 20, back into Manhattan at mile marker 21.  Short & sweet – but the BEST Latin music of my NYC journey.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

Hit the wall.  Hungry, started cramping.  Going on 2pm now, been a full day – marathoning, only a small portion of the journey.  Reached iconic Central Park at mile 23.  Slow n steady pace.  Crowds again flooded the course.  Sooooo many people.

Nearing the Finish – less than a mile to go – NYPD was back in force.  Seemingly all spectators now gone & the park path barricaded/narrowed, runners funneled to the Finish.  Just runners now…whole lotta runners…but just runners.

My first World Marathon Major & probably my only NYC Marathon – but WOW whatta experience.  I’ll never forget this day.

 

Dear K R,

 

Congratulations—you Got Your New York On.

 

Yesterday, you were amazing. Indomitable. Unstoppable. You took on Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, and you triumphed, finishing the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon in a time of 4:53:58.

 

Together with our New York City agencies, Tata Consultancy Services, and our many other partners, we at NYRR offer you not just congratulations, but also our sincere thanks. In front of more than a million spectators on the course and countless more around the world, supported by more than 10,000 amazing volunteers, and led by our grand marshal, quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee, you and your nearly 50,000 fellow runners truly made this year’s race NYC’s biggest block party!

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *