And that’s it, The Big Apple has been bitten. I think it should be called, The Big Rollercoaster. When people say, ‘Earned and not given’, it totally applies to this race. Mind you I handled all of the bridges soundly. The Verrazanno Bridge wasn’t as windy as I was expecting. Waiting in the race wave villages was where the chill of the wind challenges you if you’re inactive.
As we meandered to the start line, one large group after the other, a chill runs through you as the computer-generated voice warns you to not be alarmed when the cannon is shot. It gets fired before each wave takes off. I wish I had got the side view picture of the runners taking off like rockets up the bridge while we were still down on the ground. Everything about this part of the race was so well organized to a degree I’d not seen before. But, with 53,000 runners I suppose you have to dot all of your “I’s” and cross every “T” to execute something as magnificent as this. I felt like a brand new baby seeing a toy for the first time. As we walked, I soaked every moment in because this was truly unlike any of my other marathons. This is the biggest marathon on Planet Earth. The race announcer was saying something and Frank Sinatra was singing ‘New York, New York’ in the background and I’m just about to lose it at this point. But then it came. The moment I woke up…our cannon fires. BOOOOM!
OMG OMG OMG! This is real! I have to run this now. Up the bridge, we go for mile number one and descend in mile number two. I stopped to take pics on the bridge. This is so phenomenal. We exit the bridge and now the crowds start screaming and cheering at incredible decibels. And here I thought I was having an experience on the other side of the bridge. Onward I go. Stopping to take an occasional pic here and there. I’ve given up on the idea of running this race for time. This event is a large party discussed as a race. The long as hell gradual climb north through Brooklyn took a few people down. Some people had to walk the bridges with a crawling death march. Miss New York does not play. You will work for your fun from beginning to end. NYRR says, “It will inspire you” “It will motivate you” “It will move you”. They forgot about the “It will work you!” part. After tackling the other boroughs of Queens and the Bronx, the struggle is on towards Central Park. I saw people limping and some barely walking in the center of the roadway six miles from the finish. I swear I don’t know if they made it to the finish line or not. The struggle becomes stronger on your first entry into Central Park north. Those ‘welcoming’ slopes will burst some muscles if they haven’t already been taxed. Back out of the Park onto Fifth Avenue heading south. The last hundreds of kilometers to get to that finish line. They call your name amongst the group coming into the gate. It’s done. It’s over. Get your goodie bag and medal. Keep moving. About another mile’s walk to get out of the race area and that one final piece of treasure: the poncho.
The finish area is always comical. Most people, the walking zombies, were in my way as I zipped through and past them to get my poncho. I was starting to get cold. My body temperature drops really fast after a long race.
All and all, this is an exciting race because of the amazing crowd support, the music and some outstanding views from the bridges. We even had perfect running weather. Would I do it again? Sure if someone was paying my way. That registration fee is a bit over the top!
This was marathon #11. Being that I Iove NYC, it is only fitting to, ironically, dedicate this race to the never to be forgotten Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It was one of my most favored architectural landmarks in the world. It’s survivors and those that were lost will be in our hearts and minds forever as well. Peace.