10 November 2011
ING New York City Marathon Recap
It's a good thing I wasn't running this race because a few things went wrong. I woke up early on race day, excited to be a spectator. I gathered my cameras, donned my Social Media Reporter shirt, and walked to the bus stop. Only the bus didn't arrive until almost 40 minutes later. It turns out I had gone to the wrong bus stop. Public transit: 1 - Christina: 0.
After the bus pulled up to the George Washington Bridge instead of Port Authority like I expected, I walked down to the Subway for some public transit redemption. According to the map the approaching train was the line I needed, only it didn't stop at 72nd street like I thought. Fortunately, it did stop at Columbus Circle which is right next to Central Park and the final turn of the marathon course leading to the finish line.
I didn't want to stay here so I headed over to 1st Ave and 60th Street, aka mile 16. Along the way I saw spectators preparing to cheer the runners, fans dressed up, and runners running along a portion of the course. Everyone seemed very upbeat and excited. Like candy canes at Christmas.
After walking a few blocks and popping into a Starbucks to use the restroom (didn't want any race-cheering accidents) I made it to 1st Ave, where you could see the Queensboro Bridge (part of the race course) in the distance. It wasn't crowded at that point and I was able to find a spot right up by the fence next to two very nice spectators, Judy from New York City and Peter, hailing all the way from the Netherlands.
And then we waited. The wheelchair division had already started but hadn't reached mile 16 yet. The elite women were minutes away from their start.
Fans from other countries were setting up. The band (there was a band at every mile) was testing one, two, three. It was almost time! I had fun talking to Judy and Peter about their family who were running the marathon, their goals, and random tidbits about the race.
Finally, the wheelchair racers rolled by! It was great to see their effort, knowing they wheeled themselves over the same bridges with steep inclines (unless they had a different course?) was an incredible thought. My arms are limp noodles and I can barely eke out five push ups.
As this man veered to the side, we didn't know if he was hurt or dropping out. Fortunately, he only needed to change his tire, eventually rejoining the race.
Once the procession of motorcycle cops drove by we knew the elite women would be right behind them.
The elite women followed the pacing truck that had the marathon time. This lady had quite a bit of a lead, though she was eventually overtaken later on.
A pack of other elite women shortly followed the leader. Their strides looked so effortless. People were really getting excited now!
Next up was the elite men! It was amazing to see Meb Keflezighi running in person. I'm a big fan of his and was happy he placed 6th.
And then both my cameras died, making me the worst blogger in the history of the internet. On the way to Central Park I stopped inside a drugstore to buy batteries for the flip cam. Unfortunately, they just so happened to be out of store brand AAs, meaning I had to buy a 4-pack for $7. Why I didn't bring any batteries with me, I do not know. I should start religiously making lists, only I have a feeling I'll forget to write something down on the list anyway.
At least I didn't have any bathroom accidents, right?
Fortunately, thanks to the batteries I captured enough of the race to put together a little video for you to enjoy.
I had a lot of fun watching my first big city marathon. I really was inspired to kick start my own running and I loved seeing the city support the 40,000 plus runners. All along the course of this marathon, excluding the bridges, there are fans lined up. I've never seen that kind of spectator support anywhere and it was probably one of the best moments in my life.
Seeing the runners and knowing all the hard word and dedication it took them to get to this point is something I'll be thinking about when I get discouraged during the winter. Maybe I'll eventually train for a marathon myself in two years or so.