The TCS New York City Marathon is one of the biggest marathons in the world with 52,812 finishers in 2018, so don’t miss out! The atmosphere alone will get you through those 42.2 kilometres.
Run alongside amateurs, professional competitors and world record holders as you weave your way through the 5 boroughs of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, over 5 bridges and finish in the world renowned Central Park. The course is broken down as follows (description from Runners World):
Staten Island (Miles 1-2)
Not much time is spent in Staten Island: only two miles. When the race starts, runners cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which offers sweeping views of the New York Harbor and skyline, including the Statue of Liberty. The first mile is an uphill climb up the bridge, while the second mile is downhill, heading off the bridge to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn (Miles 3-12)
These next 11 miles is run in the relatively flat streets of Brooklyn. Runners are able to enjoy the colourful quirks of each neighbourhood in the borough, from the trendy restaurants in Park Slope to the charming tree-lined streets on Lafayette Avenue to the lively crowds in Williamsburg.
Queens (Miles 13-15)
Near the midpoint of the race, comes the Queensboro Bridge at mile 14. While the vantage point offers beautiful views, the climb up the bridge is tough, and the absence of spectators on this stretch can be mentally challenging. This section is quiet compared to the rest of the race.
Manhattan Part 1 (Miles 16-18)
After descending the Queensboro Bridge onto Manhattan’s First Avenue, runners are swallowed by a swell of spectators. This is a flat, three-mile stretch.
The Bronx (Miles 19-20)
Whilst crossing into The Bronx, the crowds have thinned from First Avenue. There are bands and dancers at the Entertainment Zone at 139th and Morris Avenue.
Manhattan Part 2 (Miles 21-26.2)
The final 10K of the marathon is long and possibly painful but with the roaring crowds in the heart of the Big Apple, plus the final miles through iconic Central Park, the last push is worth it. From here it is a quick spin through Harlem and a run up Fifth Avenue, reaching the northern edge of Central Park around mile 23. The next mile is fairly flat along Fifth. Once inside Central Park around mile 24, there are a couple rolling hills. At mile 25 you’ll be surrounded by deafening crowds near Columbus Circle. Then it’s just two quick turns before the finish.
We at Travelling Fit have run the TCS New York City Marathon on many occasions and with many years of travel experience, both in organising and travelling to many amazing running destinations, so you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
Benefit from our first-hand experience by booking your Marathon travel package with us to include guaranteed TCS New York City Marathon entry, perfectly located accommodation, warm up run through Central Park, city tours, social functions and much more.
I want to congratulate the entire Travelling Fit organisation for the outstanding job you did to ensure that we were all looked after from the very first moment that we arrived in New York. The meet and greet gave me an opportunity to meet some lovely Ozzies with whom I was able to spend time and accompany to events, especially on the Marathon day. To be taken to the 14 mile area where we were able to await our runners was so special and I am sure that I would not have seen anything if I had tried to make my own way around with so many spectators in the city for the event. We really enjoyed Mari-Mar at firstly the Rob de Castella Indigenous afternoon and then at the after marathon party – that was such a great night with lots of wine and food, all generously offered by the wonderful staff. Kirsten and I had a fabulous time in New York with all of the important details of hotel, interesting bus trip around the city and information at the Hudson available at all times which made it so safe and easy.
The 2019 TCS NYC Marathon was the experience of a lifetime and I am SO glad that I did it with Travelling Fit and I wouldn't consider running this event again in the future without Travelling Fit.
As an average cross country running teenager I thought it would be great to run the NYCM one day. I have run throughout my life to keep fit but at 47 took up running events. After time I started to realise my silly dream could become and reality. I researched who to travel with and Travelling Fit stood out. Knowing my family would be looked after was important to me. Our consultant was amazing and patient with my ever changing travel plans and never ending questions. The service was outstanding and the experience was without fault. And now I am not only a marathoner, but for my 50th I acheived a dream by successfully completing the NYCM. What an amazing experience. Travelling Fit allowed me to concentrate on what I needed to do without having to worry about the finer details. Thank you Travelling Fit for assisting me to make my dream come true.
Dear the whole of the Travelling Fit NYC Team, A huge "thank you" from me for all of the hard work, encouraging support, and helpful advice that you offered me and the rest of the Travelling Fit runners in New York. I've so grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in this race in the company of other Aussies. A special highlight of the event was the chance to meet the Indigenous Marathon Runners and Rob de Castella - their stories were so moving and helped us to think deeply about our own goals and motivations - thank you very much for making this possible for us, what a privilege and inspiration.
Travelling Fit delivered more than I hoped for this trip. The events and the camaraderie were significantly more important and valuable than I expected. Great atmosphere. Travelling Fit made the running of the NYC Marathon even more exciting and impressive than just running the race. It felt like I was part of an Australian team. Couldn't be more impressed.
My first overseas running event made possible by Travelling Fit. I’m not sure I could have or would have been able to enter, negotiate all the paper work and fulfill all the requirements without the expertise of the Travelling Fit staff. My New York Marathon experience was highly successful and a very positive experience for me. I would like to thank Travelling Fit for enabling this. If you are considering using Travelling Fit for your running holiday, I feel you won’t be disappointed and highly recommend them.
Thank you sooooo much to you and your team for organising my NYC Marathon experience. It was truly the best thing I have done in recent memory, and I will remember it always. Not only the event, but also your company’s organisation and delivery exceeded my expectations in every way – faultless! I am now highly motivated to run some other ‘Majors’. Thank you again Mari-Mar, it was great to meet you, and I look forward to attending further events in the near future.
The Travelling Fit crew in New York were absolutely fantastic, so easy to talk to and had great experiences to share. I love, love, LOVED the event and I’m incredibly grateful to have had Travelling Fit experience and knowledge, as well as simplifying things like transport to the start village etc. It really took a lot of worry out of the trip, and I didn’t have to stress about where to be and when. Loved the Travelling Fit cheer squad at mile 14!
I had a fantastic experience with all Travelling Fit staff I encountered, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to others (or to do another event through them myself!). They provided exceptional support and advice while allowing me my own experience. An amazing and special experience that was enhanced in so many ways by booking through this company.
Please be aware that a Marathon Entry Only is not possible and that entries MUST be purchased as part of a package that includes accommodation.
Please refer to Package details for more information.
There are no qualifying times for the TCS New York City Marathon when purchasing a marathon package through Travelling Fit.
The first wave starts at 9.50am and last Wave (4) starts at 11am
The official end time of the race is 7.25pm.
The ChronoTrack timing system is used at the TCS New York City Marathon to record the time of every runner.
Registration is at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Note that all runners are required to attend in person to collect their registration.
There are pace setters in the TCS New York City Marathon.
Pace team leaders will be running even effort throughout the course and will pace marathoners who are looking to finish in times between 3:00 and 6:00.
There will be medical aid stations on the coarse approximately every mile starting at mile 3 and at the finish.
Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water will be available at the Start & Finish, at official fluid stations every mile beginning at mile 3. Gatorade Endurance Formula sports drink is available at official fluid stations every mile beginning at mile 3 (except at mile 17).
Fluids will be dispensed in recyclable cups.
The Poland Spring® Hydration Zone—including water stations, sponges, and music—will be located at mile 17 on First Avenue.
PowerGel Energy Zone at mile 18, with Vanilla, Berry Blast, Strawberry Banana (25 mg caffeine), and Tangerine (50 mg caffeine) PowerGels, as well as three flavours of Simple Fruit Energy Food, will help your hurdle “the wall” and energize you to the finish.
Chiquita bananas will be available at the fluid stations at miles 20-23
Personal Refreshments and Clothing
No personal refreshments are able to be left out on the course and all discarded clothing will be collected for charity
Private luxury coaches from your hotel to the start of the race are included when you purchase your TCS New York City Marathon package through Travelling Fit.
These luxury coaches are exclusive to Travelling Fit runners and are not the standard city buses that are provided for the event
The TCS New York City Marathon Health and Wellness Expo will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Centre on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to the Marathon.
All runners MUST attend the expo to pick up their race numbers in person. Another person is not permitted to pick up the race pack on your behalf.
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center,
Halls 3B and 3E,
11th Avenue at West 35th Street, Manhattan.
The Expo times are as follows (subject to change):
- Thursday, 03 November, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (last entry for number pickup is 7:00 p.m.)
- Friday, 04 November, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (last entry for number pickup is 7:00 p.m.)
- Saturday, 05 November, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last entry for number pickup is 5:00 p.m.)
Finishers T-shirts, Medals and Certificates
All runners will receive a sports top in their race packs (provided by the TCS New York City Marathon).
Only runners who complete the TCS New York City Marathon will receive a medal once they have crossed the finish line.
Your finisher certificate will be mailed to you after the event.
The average temperature range for New York in November is 7 to 15 degrees Celsius (45 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit)
5km Dash to the Finish Line run on Saturday 05 November (highly recommended and MUST be purchased in advance)
Date to be confirmed
TCS New York City MarathonNew York Marathon 2017 The bus leaves well before the sun decides to make an appearance. It’s quiet - everyone is in their own space, doing what they need to do to visualise what is yet to...
New York Marathon 2017
The bus leaves well before the sun decides to make an appearance.
It’s quiet – everyone is in their own space, doing what they need to do to visualise what is yet to come as you cruise through the streets of the city that never sleeps.
The Village at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island – there’s nothing quite like it…Security is ridiculously tight given what happened only days earlier and you feel safe..partly because of the Police and Army presence but mainly because this is the place where you can dare to dream.
125 different countries are represented by over 50,000 runners this year and it is a wonderful sight to behold…the noise…the colour and the atmosphere…electric.
Into your corral you go and the wait begins…you feel the nervous energy as runners speak, or in some instances sign with each other… you are all walks of life all with the same goal…earn that medal.
Off to the start line you go…the National Anthem is sung and you can’t help but embrace the patriotism….the cannon blasts and you’re off to the sounds of Frank Sinatra singing New York. Nobody does over the top like America and it’s bloody awesome.
The start is up the Verrazano Bridge with sweeping views of New York to your left but there’s no time to take them in…it’s 2km uphill and the same down..one foot in front of the other as you try and find your rhythm.
Brooklyn is your first Borough and what a way to hit the 5km marker…so many people, so much noise…it lifts you and your feet fly..there is so much love in the air and it takes all that you have not to sprint.
Onto Queens you go and the party continues as the mix of races explode in a sea of colour and noise…even the notoriously quiet conservative Jewish section is politely, yet quietly cheering you on, giving you a moment to collect your thoughts, do a body scan and push on. Then you hear the theme from Rocky and you lift again as you hit the Queensborough bridge.
Manhattan is next and First Avenue is everything you’ve dreamt of…a sea of hundreds and thousands, both sides of the street…you’ve hit the 25km mark and by the time this stretch ends it’s 32km..this is where the Marathon begins so soak it up, reset yourself and get ready for the real race.
You turn into The Bronx & Harlem…Gospel Choirs on one side…Rap and R&B on the other and you want to stop and soak it all in but you know you can’t. So many voices cheering for you….encouraging you…willing you to keep going.
Back into Manhattan for the last 7km…5th Avenue, a few quick turns, Columbus Circle & then you’re there…Central Park.
2km to go…the crowds are right on top of you…the noise….incredible….it’s as if the whole city has stopped just for today…1.2 Million people you find out later…speechless.
Your body is screaming at you to stop but your mind is telling your body to shut up. Then you see the sign…800 metres to go….200 metres to go and then it’s there, the Finish line.
As you cross the line you scream, you cry and you scream some more. You hug the volunteer that gave you your medal and you cry some more.
You’ve done it, you completed The New York Marathon…now go an celebrate like never before.
TCS New York City Marathon – Ana CrogerStart spreading the news! TCS New York City Marathon I have wanted to run the TCS New York City Marathon before I really even started running. It has been a bucket list item since university and ...
Start spreading the news! TCS New York City Marathon
I have wanted to run the TCS New York City Marathon before I really even started running. It has been a bucket list item since university and I have entered the ballot many times to no avail. In 2013 I started training for New York only to find out I was pregnant with our third child.
Fast forward to 2016. The New York marathon whilst still on my bucket list was not on my race calendar for this year. In May one of my oldest friends living in the US called to tell me she was expecting her first baby. I wanted to be there for her. We played around with timing and the second week of November worked best for her. The stars were aligning. I called the fantastic Travelling Fit crew who I raced Tokyo with on the off chance that there was still a spot and thankfully I snapped up one of the last entries. This was it. My dream race.
Landing on Friday night in New York City with no sleep knowing I was running the 5km dash through Central Park in the morning with my husband and the Marathon the following day I started to realise I was probably not in my best form. I have had a tremendous year of running so I was somewhat unrealistic in my time expectations for this race.
Marathon Sunday: NYC’s Biggest Block Party
I think to give this race the justice it deserves I need to set out some interesting facts about the worlds biggest and most popular marathon:
- 55,000 + people lined up on the streets of Staten Island with me that day
- 12,000 volunteers worked tirelessly from the early hours until the last runner crossed the line in the darkness and cold of Central Park
- Over 1 million people lined the streets and welcome us to each of the 5 Boroughs
- 125 countries were represented that day
- The average finish time was 4:10:14
So as I entered the pre-race village after a security check I started to understand the enormity of what I was part of. With a bagel in hand and a black coffee kindly handed to me by one of the volunteers, I watched as runners from all around the world prepared themselves for a race they too have been dreaming about for many years.
As always with Travelling Fit the entire morning went off without a glitch. And so it began, with ‘New York, New York’ blasting from loud speakers and shout outs to the many nations represented I crossed the start line to ‘welcome Australia enjoy New York City’. With tears in my eyes I began the long climb up the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at snails pace with tens of thousands of others. Coming down in to Brooklyn the atmosphere was electric and as I would find with the other 4 Boroughs the people welcomed us with open arms ‘Welcome to Brooklyn’ ‘Welcome Ana’ ‘Welcome Australia’ was shouted at me from every angle. What I didn’t realise was this was how it was going to be for the next 26.2 miles and on first avenue the crowds and shouting would hit a climax.
Nicole Bunyon CEO of RMA asked me after the race ‘what was it like’ and I quite honestly said It was like being a rockstar for 42 km. It is like running the finishing chute but for the whole race. I have never and will never experience anything like this race again. The crowds were 6 deep. People were handing out food, Vaseline, water. Every second person had a sign ‘from 1 to 10 you are a 26.2’, ‘If Donald Trump can run, you can too’ – you name it I saw it that day. It was a special race in a special city.
The course itself was tough. I hadn’t anticipated the headwinds and the elevation. The hills coming up onto the bridges were steeper than I thought and getting through the people much more difficult. My time didn’t reflect the effort it took to cross that line but I walked away with much more than a time and a medal.
As I crossed the finish line on November 6 2016 my dream run had become a reality. Dreams can and do come true but its not without hard work, commitment and the support of fantastic organisations like Travelling Fit, my Running Mums Australia friends, family (in particular my incredible husband) and coach that make dreams a reality.
2016 has been an incredible year of running for me and so many others in our community. I can’t wait to plan my next world major with Travelling Fit for 2017.
New York – My First Time!The first live marathon I ever saw was from the side of the road on the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the 2000 Olympics. Little did I dream that just over 11 years later I too would run an international ...
The first live marathon I ever saw was from the side of the road on the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the 2000 Olympics. Little did I dream that just over 11 years later I too would run an international marathon! Forgive me if my ramblings go on too long. I have to debrief somehow.
Marathon day for me began before dawn as I went down the stairs in my hotel to the lobby. I had to use the stairs because the lifts were packed with runners from higher levels. Once in the lobby it was a case of pick up the breakfast packs and get on the bus. The early start is necessary as the bus has to go across the Narrows Vacarez Bridge in order to get to the start. This mile long bridge is also the first mile of the marathon. (Hint #1: Bring plenty of alarm clocks from home so you do not sleep in).
The hour plus ride to the start was a quiet one as most of the passengers contemplated what lay ahead. There were gasps as we realised that the bus was going across part of the course in the form of the Queensboro Bridge. Once we arrived at Statten Island it was a case of follow the crowds, show the race bib to security and I was into the start area along with over 47,000 other runners. I wandered for a while trying to decide where to rest for the 3 or so hours before the start and found some Adelaide marathon maidens who wanted company. I sat with them in the hay thoughtfully provided by the organisers to provided insulation from the cold earth below. The cushion brought from Adelaide also provided some small level of comfort. Much to my surprise I did not get cold during this time, the three to four layers of clothing did the job of keeping me warm. (Hint #2: Prepare for the cold that awaits you during this wait, particularly if you are a late starter)
About an hour before my start I bid farewell and good luck and went to the green start village. A quick final trip to the loo (Hint #3: BYO loo paper), a trip to the luggage trucks (brilliantly organised) and I found myself alongside an huge pile of discarded clothing stripping off the layers that had done the job so well (Hint #4: Be prepared to donate generously to the homeless of NY). It was then a short walk to the start corrals and the nerves began to cut in. Talking with an English runner during this time was a great way for both of us to stay calm.
Another short walk and I could see the magic sign “Green Start”. The green start has a number of advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that Green runners use the bottom level of the bridge and therefore have a less severe incline at the start. There are also only 5,000 runners competing for road space as opposed to 10,000 on the top level. The disadvantage is that the results of loose bladders on the top level have to go somewhere (Hint #5: If using the lower level run in the centre of the bridge) and the view from the top of the bridge is spoiled by the support girders. God bless America has never sounded so good, the howitzer blast echoed around Statten Island and Frank Sinatra reminded us that we were about to enter a city that never sleeps and we were off. Thank you NYRR for treating the slow plodders like me in exactly the same way as you treat the elite marathon runners, I appreciate it.
I was able to get into my running rhythm very quickly, unlike some of the runners who had different coloured starts. (Hint #6: Do not panic if you have to walk for the first three minutes, it is not uncommon for this to occur particularly on the top level of the bridge) Approximately 11 minutes later the runners around me started to cheer and shout “25 to go” as we passed the 1 mile marker. I was already 1 minute ahead of schedule and feeling great and was concentrating on running not celebrating.
My plans for the day called for me to stay behind the 5 hour pacer in order to avoid going out too hard but despite giving this pacer a two to three minute start over the line I was level with him well before I finished the bridge crossing. I slowed to his pace but did not feel comfortable so I decided to devise plan B on the run and went past him. Maybe this was a mistake. (Hint #7: Have a plan for the race to help you through the first couple of miles)
After the bridge the race continued on freeways for a while. It was a quiet journey for the green group with the crowds gathered around the blue and orange runners on a different set of roads. Eventually to the shouts of “Welcome to Brooklyn” we left the freeway and began to run some back roads before joining the same route as the other runners. The first drink station in this section at the 3 mile mark was interesting and I wondered how I would cope with even more runners around me later.
Once all runners were on the same course I began to feel the magic of this race. As we joined the main route a recording of “Footloose” was hitting the eardrums with massive intensity. It was hard to stay calm and not run at the same tempo as the song. This was the start of many music styles for the next 23 miles, some of the music was definitely not to my liking but I did not mind. People were doing this to help the runners and I appreciated their efforts. (Hint #8: Throw the i-pod away and listen to the atmosphere around you) During this time the 11 minute miles were continuing and I was feeling very comfortable.
Each colour group runs their own course until mile 8. I therefore had decided that this was a landmark in my race to look forward to. What I did not realise was that my wife was in the crowd at mile 8 shouting out my name and urging me to keep going. Apparently I reacted as though I had heard the shouts but I cannot remember hearing them. The photos taken as I passed this point will be treasured. I was still running at a steady pace and felt as though my breathing would not blow out a candle. How different I can remember thinking to my early running days when I was constantly breathless.
The next land mark for me was the lunch stop from the marathon on a bus tour at about the 12 mile mark. In order to get there we had to pass though some undulations and for the first time the body began to react to the conditions. It was a sunny day and I was beginning to seek out as much shade as possible in order to help my energy levels later. This was remarkably easy to do. I was taking on water or Gatorade at every possible opportunity and was taking a gel once an hour as planned pre-race. (Hint #9: Bring your own gels from home, nothing wrong with the American ones but you know how your body will react to the familiar).
I was beginning to see signs telling me to “Own the bridge” so I knew that the moment of truth was arriving, the Queensboro Bridge. Many people rate this as the hardest part of the course as there is a relatively steep incline to get onto the bridge and with over half the race behind you the legs are beginning to feel the strain. I am proud to say that the bridge did not beat me, I ran the incline but decided to take a very brief walk mid bridge in order to help get my head in order for First Avenue. During this time I was passing other walkers some of whom were beginning to look very tired.
Eventually I had to get off the bridge and into Manhattan. Once again there were cheers for me from my cheer squad but once again I did not hear them or see the signs. I was too busy composing myself and telling myself not to get carried away with the fact that I was in Manhattan, there was still a long way to go. The crowds in this section of the course were massive. Some had been there since the race start, some had come out to specifically to cheer the slower runners because they realised that many see the pointy end of the field and then go home. During this section of the course it was not unusual to see runners darting to the side of the road to hug or talk with spectators. There was a moment of drama for me when one of the spectators, having jumped into the middle of the road to take a photo, did not look where he was going on the return journey and ran into me. I gather that my Aussie Rules hip and shoulder was deemed fair by the umpire and hopefully security had words to say to this idiot. I spent about a minute recomposing myself and I suspect that during this time I slowed considerably.
I had to walk part of the final 2 bridges as we reached the northern end of the course. The legs were beginning to tell a story and it was not totally pleasant. Part of the journey through the Bronx is cruel. As you approach one of the right hand bends you look up and see runners less than 100 metres away but to get to them you have to run around the block. Mentally this was not good but it provided another landmark to tick off when I reached the same point of the course.
Just after the final bridge I realised that the 5 hour pacer was on my shoulder and I increased the pace slightly to join the bus. A quick word of welcome from the pacer showed that he realised that I was going to attempt to keep on his pace to the end. However just after this he slowed to help shepherd the group through a drink stop and I lost touch for a while as I moved ahead of him. By the time that I realised that he had caught up and passed me I did not have the leg power necessary to catch up again.
By now we were in Harlem a section of the course that disappointed me. I was anticipating lots of gospel style music but there was very little. The crowds were still there but the enthusiasm encountered on First Avenue was not present. The legs were hurting and all I wanted was to be running in Central Park even though I realised that this meant more undulations. The good thing was that a check of my times against my 5:15 pace band showed that a PB (sub 5:17) was 100% certain. I was a long way in front of 5:15 pace.
Just before Central Park I spotted an anxious Graham Cornes (inaugural Adelaide Crows coach and former scholar of the school where I teach) on the side of the road looking out for his wife. She was about 5 minutes behind me at this point of time. At about this stage I ran past a point where part of my cheer squad was planning to see me again. They missed me this time, I was travelling quicker than they expected!
Central Park is tough. The crowds are great, the encouragement huge, the sense of anticipation of the finish all keep you going but the legs were shouting enough is enough. I slowed to a walk and lots of the crowd were shouting at me urging me to start running again but the brain finally won the battle on one of the last major inclines of the race. Once I reached the top of the rise I saw the buildings along 54th Street, the last road section of the course, and I started running again. The crowd applauded my determination.
The race continued on to 54th Street, past a squad of race photographers who will pass on their efforts to me later (at a cost but worth every cent), around Columbus Circle and back into Central Park. The legs suddenly forgot about being tired. You could feel the energy levels rise in both your own body and the bodies of the other runners. Under the 26 mile banner, up the final incline and the finish line was in front of me. A quick glance at the watch showed a time of 4:59 something so a final sprint was attempted to try to get under the 5 hour mark.
After the finish I delayed stopping the watch until I was certain that my photo had been taken. (Hint #10: Look up, it makes a better photo) Expletives were muttered as I saw a time of 5:00:09, so close to achieving all of my goals but so far. The volunteer handing out the medals sensed my disappointment and very enthusiastically congratulated me and raised my spirits. Onto the photography line and a broad grin decorated my face. Who cares about sore legs when you reach the finish? After the collection of the space blanket and recovery bag it was onto the queue to collect the left luggage. There was concern expressed by some of the runners around me when I lost balance due to some minor dizziness but I was as OK as you can be at moments like this. Eventually I pushed past the crowds and walked onto the streets of New York.
The walk back to the hotel was long and slow as I received the congratulations of New York. The finisher’s cape around my shoulders made a statement about my activity for the day. By now it was after dusk and it was beginning to get cold.
My walk continued into the hotel, up the lift, a knock on the door of my room and no answer. My cheer squad was still at the finish having arrived at this point on the course after I did. Eventually they gave up and returned and I saw the signs that had travelled around New York for the first time. A request from me for someone to check my time was granted and my wife, in her best keep the suspense up manner, said five ….. hours …… zero minutes …… and ……. one second. Everyone except me was elated.
My goals going into the race were simple.
One: Finish tick
Two: Do a PB tick
Three: Run faster than 8 km/hr average tick
Four: Run 5:10, the time given to Travelling Fit tick
Five: Run a sub 5 hour marathon cross
A couple of days after the event I have decided that 4 out of 5 ain’t bad but that last 2 seconds still hurts.
From Bendigo to New YorkTaken from the Bendigo Advertiser Bendigo runner Jy Pertzel tackled the famous marathon on Sunday (Monday morning Australian time) with former Bendigo residents Brad Wood and Brendan Fraser. See ...
Taken from the Bendigo Advertiser
Bendigo runner Jy Pertzel tackled the famous marathon on Sunday (Monday morning Australian time) with former Bendigo residents Brad Wood and Brendan Fraser.
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Another Bendigo runner Brett Houlden also took part.
Brad Wood posted the fastest time of three hours, 17 minutes and 59 seconds.
Mr Fraser finished in 3:58.05, Mr Pertzel 4:26.37 and Mr Houlden 5:51.03.
Mr Pertzel said New York was an amazing place at marathon time.
“An amazing place, amazing people… it’s very hard to describe and am so glad I could finish,” he said.
Mr Fraser described running the marathon as a truly amazing experience.
“It was an unbelievable experience. I laughed, I cried…I hurt,” he said.
Mr Fraser said his aim was to break four hours and he did that with a few minutes to spare.
Mr Woods said taking part in the marathon was an incredible experience.
“Words will never do justice to what I have experienced today. Very lucky to be part of a such an amazing event. Still can’t believe it. – Brad Wood”
“Words will never do justice to what I have experienced today. Very lucky to be part of a such an amazing event,” he said.
“Still can’t believe it.”
Mr Wood said Mr Pertzel’s effort given recent hip surgery was a great effort.
The New York City marathon attracted 48,000 runners this year with Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo winning.Mr Mutai won the men’s event in 2:08.23 while Ms Jeptoo took the women’s crown in 2:25.07.
More than 115 nations were represented in the marathon which was run under strict security given the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
Mr Pertzel is a former Golden Square Football Club player and now president while Mr Wood and Mr Fraser also represented the Bulldogs at senior level.
The trio revealed last week they would wear the teal-coloured signature T-shirts of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network central Victoria group to raise awareness of the cause on a world stage.
All three men have held an ambition to run the New York City Marathon.
“It’s a life long dream with a sense of personal achievement,” Mr Pertzel said.
“Definitely a bucket list dream I’ve always had and just looking forward to double double burgers after the run,” Mr Fraser said.
“After being in New York in 2007 when the marathon was on, I always harboured the ambition of running in it one day,” Mr Wood said.
Mr Wood said the marathon was dominating New York.
“After being in New York now for 24 hours, the entire city is in marathon mode and the vibe of the place is amazing,” Mr Wood said.
“All the locals wishing you all the best has been a really satisfying part.
“It’s looking cold on Sunday but I don’t think it will matter. We are all looking forward to competing, finishing and the party afterwards.”
Mr Pertzel will be contesting his fourth marathon having already completed the Melbourne run and Gold Coast event twice.
Mr Wood run the Canberra Marathon in 2010 while Mr Fraser is facing his first endurance test.
Mr Wood said the trio had no real personal expectation except for competing.
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“Jy had a hip operation in June, so his preparation has been hindered but has got himself into shape reasonably well,” Mr Wood said.
Mr Wood and Mr Fraser have spent the past year training for the event with personal trainer and former Fitzroy footballer Matt Dundas.
“We’ve also done some long searching runs up to about three hours in duration,” Mr Wood said.
New York City Marathon Race ReportThe New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world, with around 50,000 competitors. It is regarded by many as the pick of the marathon majors, with the crowd -lined street winding through...
The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world, with around 50,000 competitors. It is regarded by many as the pick of the marathon majors, with the crowd -lined street winding through the five boroughs of New York City, making for a spectacular and memorable event.
Read on for our race report…
The back story
For those that weren’t training with TTS back in 2012, this is our second attempt at the NYC marathon. In November 2012 we (Alison, Paul and Drew) landed in NYC shortly after Hurricane Sandy inflicted some serious damage on the city, with the race being cancelled by the Mayor only 36 hours before the starting gun. It was pretty disappointing at the time!
As a result of the cancellation, we were given a guaranteed entry for any of the following three years, with us choosing 2015 to return. Nick wasn’t part of the 2012 team … but we roped him in following our awesome Tokyo experience last year. Pat scored the deal of the year and was in NYC for a meeting so managed to secure an entry to the marathon as well. Five TTSers in NYC, excellent result!
Let’s be frank and say that our preparation for NYC was a little underdone. Alison was coming back from an injury, Drew was a bit blasé about it all, Paul seemed to have a lot of “client meetings” on cold Canberra mornings and Nick was otherwise occupied. Pat was nowhere to be seen. Maybe we were a bit complacent after the Six Foot Track back in April … but we were all confident we could finish!
We all arrived within 24 hours of each other and were happy with the mild autumn weather, around 10degrees overnight and maximum of around 18degrees during the day. Marathon fever had taken over the city with TV spots, ads on buses and banners in the streets. Our run was booked via Travelling Fit who had 417 (yes, 417!) Australians running – so our hotel felt more like Sydney than NYC 🙂
Off to the Expo where we all blew silly amounts of cash on NYC-branded running gear. Embarrassingly Drew and Paul bought the same tops and hats, only discovering this after they’d been through the checkout. Don’t hassle us about it at TTS too much please…
We did a few training runs including one in our rather alluring “YMCA Yaks” tops that Alison had printed for the Sri Chimnoy 102km event. The tagline on the back of the shirts that read “Once you Yak You Never Go Back” seemed to confuse a few other runners, who missed the animal reference and took it to mean we run until we throw up. Yeah, us Aussie runners are hardcore!
Enough banter, let’s do this thing. 6:00am start in the hotel foyer and we are ready to go, for the bus trip from Manhattan to the start line at Staten Island!
Anyhow so the dreaded cold NYC marathon start was surprisingly warm, about 10 degrees with light winds and some cloud cover. The start staging area was at Fort Wadsworth where we were kept very secure by lots of marines with guns. There were free bagels for all (hurrah) along with Dunkin Donuts coffee that tasted like paint stripper. The USA really needs to work on its coffee.
Into the cor rals we go. Paul and Nick are in A, Drew in C and Alison in F – all in the first wave, with Pat in the third wave. It’s all action now – NYPD choppers overhead, the crowd is getting pumped, the national anthem with everyone facing the flag – we are ready to go! BOOM and yes that really was a proper cannon they fired for the start, the benefits of starting the race at a military base!
- Staten Island – the start is spectacular, as we make our way over the Verrazano Bridge, the highest point of the race and the first of five bridges. Great views of Manhattan in the distance, although it does highlight how far it is to the finish.
- Brooklyn – wow these Americans can cheer! We each had our Travelling Fit running tops that featured our names, cue hollering New Yorkers “YOU GOT THIS DREW, YOU GOT THIS!” The crowds are almost overwhelming and motivation is not a problem at this point.
- Queens – a very different vibe in this part of town, more subdued in some areas, although the multicultural feel is at its strongest here. There are a few hills in this area … well perhaps they are gentles rises rather than hills … but keeping a pace is more difficult.
- Manhattan – as we come off the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan the crowd goes NUTS. Crazy. Noisy. Wow this is most excellent. Still 18km to go though. First Avenue is awesome but also very long – the legs are tiring for us all.
- The Bronx – interesting borough, not top of our list to live in. A quick trip in and out suggests the marathon organisers share this view. Legs now very fatigued.
- Manhattan and into Central Park – OMG is this damn race ever going to end, who was the @#$%&* that put a hill in the course here? Seriously, WTF? The crowds keep our spirits up as we round the final bend into Central Park with the finish line in sight…
WE ARE FINISHED! HALLELUJAH!
That was a really tough race. And we have no PBs to report for this race, in fact I think we’re in PW (personal worst) territory for a few of us!
- Nick – 2:57 is an awesome time, how did he do sub three hours on that course?
- Paul – 3:16 is a fair way from the 2:50’s we are used to!
- Drew – 3:23 is slower than expected, but he loved it.
- Alison – 3:45 is a magnificent result given her recent injuries…
- Pat – 4:20 is pretty good given the lack of training, claims Pat!
The result? Forget the times, it was an awesome marathon and an amazing experience!!!!!!
If anyone is considering an overseas marathon, this one gets the thumbs up from us! Don’t go there for a PB (Tokyo’s good for that), but do go for an amazing experience that will be with you for a lifetime.
OK team that’s two out of the six marathon majors down, what’s next????
Lil Broomby – New York Marathon FinisherMAKING A DREAM COME TRUE In 2011, I started running at the age of 42, to lose weight and to get fit. During that year my running partner Catherine Potter and I made a list of race goals including ...
MAKING A DREAM COME TRUE
In 2011, I started running at the age of 42, to lose weight and to get fit. During that year my running partner Catherine Potter and I made a list of race goals including the 2015 New York Marathon.
After doing some research on how we go about entering this massive marathon, we come across Travelling Fit. So in December 2012 we joined their priority emailing list for the 2015 New York Marathon.
So now fast forward to 2015, Catherine and I are now in New York, the night before one of the biggest marathons in the world, laying out all our running gear for the morning.
This is a short story about what it is like to run this amazing marathon.
Sunday 1 November 2015, New York Marathon Day – started at 4.45am, I had a pretty good night sleep but poor Catherine Potter got no sleep. All dressed and my plastic clear village bag packed (these hold everything you want to take with you and are left the village before you start) we head down to the hotel foyer. There are about 50 buses leaving our hotel this morning, carrying runners not just from Australia but from counties all around the world. Mari-Mar and Craig from Travelling Fit have it all in hand though, all the Aussies are on our buses in no time and by 6.15am, Catherine and I are off to the start line at Staten Island, arriving at about 8am. The weather is windy and cold but nothing too bad for us Canberran’s. The day turns out to be a warm one.
Once at the Staten Island it is time to go through security and finally into the start village. This place is huge, now we just have to find the Blue area. Everyone is allocated a colour (blue, orange or green) and wave (1,2,3 or 4) depending on your estimated time at application. We find the blue area and grab a bagel, a cup of tea and find a spot on the grass to settle down till Wave 4 is called. Porta loos are everywhere.
10.20am time to head to our corral. Strip off the old clothes that kept us warm and we are off. Once through the corral entrance there are more loos, so a final quick stop before the long run. I think this was a great idea, because I had a full bladder. It is now about 10.45am and we are the last wave to go. Our corral starts to move towards the start line. the corral is fenced in by all the buses that carried all the runners to Staten Island. As with all the other waves, the American national anthem is sung, cannon goes off and Frank Sinatra’s New York is played.
11am and time to go, over the start line onto the top of the Verrazano Narrow Bridge. This is a steady incline but nothing too bad and the view is amazing. Catherine gets out her phone and takes a few snaps while running. Mile 1 is crossed half way across the bridge. Mile 2 off the bridge and we enter Brooklyn. First thing I hear are drums and then I finally see the first lot of crowds. Through and around some streets and onto Fourth Ave.
Mile 3 first of the drink stations. Drink stations (and porta loos) are at every mile, they are long and on both sides – first tables are the Gatorade and then water. I grab a water and keep going. This part is long, straight, flat and streets very wide. The crowds are on both side just cheering you on. Mile 4, 5, 6, (10km, look up at the camera and smile) 7 and 8 are all ticked off along Fourth Ave. Finally, we turn at the Mile 9 mark, Catherine needs a pit stop, (there are porta loos at every drink station). I keep going and I know she will catch up. The streets are now a bit narrower and drinks stations can be a bit crowded, 15km done. Catherine catches up a few kms later.
Still in Brooklyn and still the crowds are out cheering. Mile 10, 11, 12, 13 down, nearly half way. Up and over the Pulaski Bridge, a short inline and the half way point 21.1km is hit. ‘Welcome to Queens’ I hear from someone in the crowd and I hit Mile 14. Catherine and I are now keeping an eye out for the Travelling Fit team and the Aussie cheer squad and just after the 14 mile mark we see the kangaroo. We smile for the camera and keep going.
Heading up and over the Queensboro Bridge, this for me was the hardest part of the course. This bridge incline was long and tough. Some runners stopped to take selfies of the view, I just kept moving and this was also where I lost Catherine (she does hills better than me). Mile 15 (25km) hit going up the bridge and Mile 16 coming off.
Welcome to the first part of Manhattan. First Ave is wide, long and has a slight incline but not too bad and the crowds amazing. Mile 17 and it is a sea of sponges are all over the ground, Mile 18 (30km) I grab a Chocolate Powergel, this gives me an energy hit and I don’t hit the wall and Mile 19 are all done on this long stretch. Up and over the pretty flat Willis Ave Bridge and I am now in the Bronx’s. Mile 20 and 21 done, only 5 miles to go.
Over 138th Bridge and back onto Manhattan Island. The legs are really starting to burn now. Mile 22 and 23 are a killer along Fifth Ave, the incline that just keeps going, you think you are nearly at the top but no. This is where my head was telling just stop and rest, but I just keep going and have to run around everyone that are now walking. Finally, at the top and into Central Park as I hit the 24 Mile. This part is not too bad, a few up and downs. 40km hit just before the Mile 25 mark (look up and smile at the camera).
Only 2kms to go. Out of Central Park, onto Fifth Ave again and along Central Park South, heaps of people walking at this stage, so I keep to the right and I have a clear path around them. I see a sign 800 metres to go, yes I can do this. I pick up the pace, around Columbus Circle and back into Central Park for the run home. Mile 26 now for the last little incline just before the finish line and there it is.
I cross the finish line in 5.07hrs (7 minutes faster than my previous marathon time in Canberra).
First stop, the medal I have worked so hard for. Catherine finds me, hey we did it and we have a big hug. Catherine’s time 5.02hrs. Next stop photo with my medal. Everyone is wrapped in a space blanket and given a goodie bag containing water, Gatorade, apple, energy bar, pretzel’s etc. this comes in handy during the long walk out. Because we choose the postrace poncho we had to stick to our left and just keep walking. Legs and feet are feeling very sore now. Finally, out of Central Park and we are given our postrace ponchos, fleece lined and warm. It is now about 5pm, starting to get dark and the walk back to the hotel continues.
Back in our room and time to run a bath and soak. I did it, all the training has paid off. So proud of myself, that I never stopped running, even when my brain we telling me too.
The New Yorkers make this marathon, I don’t think I would have made it, without them. They are along the whole course, calling out your name, and telling you got this, you can do it. For any runner, the New York Marathon is a must for your bucket list, it is like no other race in the world.
It was a long but rewarding day and the most amazing experience, one that I will never forget.
Now I just want to say a big Thank You to the all my family and friends that have supported me throughout this journey and especially my wonderful husband Mark.
Lil Broomby – 2015 New York Marathon Finisher
PS- Thank you to the TravellingFit Team, where everything so well organised and provided me with unforgettable experience.
Now looking for my next big marathon somewhere in the world organised by the Travelling Fit Team. Highly recommended organisation and job well done.
New York City Marathon Race ReviewRACE RECAP FOR NYC MARATHON SUNDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2014 Staten Island I finally get to sleep around midnight. Then the phone rings. It's the automated wake-up call. Checks clock radio: 3:00AM. ...
RACE RECAP FOR NYC MARATHON SUNDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2014
I finally get to sleep around midnight. Then the phone rings. It’s the automated wake-up call. Checks clock radio: 3:00AM. Obviously hotel staff haven’t set their clocks back. Time for a bit more sleep. Awake again at 3:20. Skypes wife. What time is it? 3:22. “No it’s 4:22.” I’ve stuffed up the time on all my backup devices too. Not a good start, plus I’m due to meet a fellow runner in the lobby at 4:45 for an early breakfast two blocks away. Scoffs down coffee and a peanut butter bagel. Rushes back to hotel, puts on enough layers to rival Scott’s expedition then joins the rest of the Travelling Fit runners in the lobby. Endures two hours of road closures and traffic jams and finally dumped off the bus at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. It’s 8:00AM. My wave starts at 10:55. Woodstock meets outdoor homeless shelter. People in dressing gowns, doonas, carpets, garbage bags, onesies…you name it, anything to keep out the icy cold winds coming down from Canada.
A canon goes off. Everyone cr@ps themselves. It’s the start of the elite women’s race. Then the elite and serious men. Then wave after wave until Orange D Wave 4 approaches the starting line. Sinatra starts spreading the news. Tears start to well up. “And it’s AUSTRALIA in the house!” I lose it. Air horn goes off. Our race has started! But not me. I’m petrified that I haven’t warmed up properly and that my calf will tear again as soon as I start. Wave 4 heads for the bridge while I’m still stretching against one of the 700 buses. I figure I’m in the last 50-100 to start the race.
The Michelin Man starts walking. Just do everything you’ve done in training. Train for the conditions, same clothing, hydration and nutrition. OK let’s see…I’ve trained for only six weeks, on the Gold Coast in 20-25 degrees wearing a singlet and shorts, with no hill work, using my own water and gels, on the same flat course with little or no wind. I’m now on the other side of the world, on my own, facing the ascent of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which is “affected by weather more than any other bridge in the city because of its size and isolated location close to the open ocean. It is occasionally closed (either partially or entirely) during strong wind and snow storms.” It’s now 3deg with expected wind gusts of 75kph. Nice.
In my mind I quickly devise an (untested) run /walk strategy. Walk up all the bridges, run down the other side, walk through the water stations, and run when I can, but walk when I’m tired. Run by feel, not by the clock.
So I set off. I’m dressed in 3 layers of technical tops, with arm sleeves, a full jacket, beanie and gloves. Shorts, calf sleeves, toe sox and Ghost 7s. My race bib is attached to my Spibelt by only two cords (again untested in training). This proves to be major distraction. My greatest fear on the bridge is not being picked up by a sudden gust of hurricane speed wind and swept away to a certain ice cold watery death. It’s that my race bib could fly away and they won’t give me a medal at the finish.
I start walking up the bridge. Luckily I’m at the back of the 50,564 runner field. I say luckily because I can now enjoy watching a couple of thousand tops, caps, beanies and gloves swirling towards my head as other runners are being swept across two lanes by the driving wind. I’m passed by an ancient Japanese walker who I later learn finished in the top two in the 80+ category (in a quicker time than me). Right now I’m thinking “WTF am I doing in this race?” I’m taking up the space of a real runner like Dean O’Neill who trained so hard for this race only to be struck down by injury at the last minute. I start searching for the button that will turn off these negative thoughts. I quickly find it.
I tough it out on the bridge and start running near the 2K mark. This has cost me time wise but the extra time warming up and the energy conserved will be needed later. Keeping in the left lanes, I come around a long sweeping curve and start to hear the crowds. Then I see them. Three, four and five deep, Mom, Dad and the kids, with the family dog and Grandma in tow. All rugged up and dressed up with horns and clackers and posters. And the first of 120 bands fires up. This is not a race, it’s a parade. And it’s time to party. My spirits are lifted. I’m getting in the groove. Then someone shouts out “Go Ossie!” Then another and another. I look around. They’re cheering for me. Then someone calls out my name. “Go Endre!” Every “Go Ossie” and “Go Endre” spurs me on.
I start to show off. I’m crisscrossing the road to high five Mom & Dad, low five the kids and the dog and give Grandma a big hug. I see a sign up ahead saying “Wanna dance?” I’m there. I’m busting my best moves (about as uncooly as a nearly 60yo gets). But in my mind I’m on fire here. How long can I keep this up? Another one yells “Go Endre. We love Ossies!” I give him my jacket. The next one gets my beanie, then my gloves go to the next encourager. Just as I’m thinking maybe I should leave some clothes on here, we turn a corner straight into the northwester which continues all the way down Third and into Fourth Avenue. It’s going to be a long day.
The parade continues along Fourth Ave in Brooklyn. As I attempt to cross the 10K checkpoint I’m blocked by a glass wall. I try and find the outline of the door then the door handle. I turn it and walk through, pausing briefly on the other side as if I’ve forgotten something. I then close the door behind me. The crowd goes nuts. I then go off in search of green and gold. One by one I pick up other Travelling Fit runners. “HI Endre, how’s your calf muscle holding up.” Facebook names becoming faces. I start to get some consistency in my running. When I’m tired I walk, when I fuel I walk, when I get bored I run. Just past the Nine Mile mark there’s a sweeping left-hander. Of course I turn right. “Which way to Dodgers Stadium?” “Just turn left and keep running…all the way to California!” I love this town. (Incidentally, on the flight home I watched a movie called “42” featuring Jackie Robinson the first Afro-American to play Major League Baseball. He played his whole career for the Brooklyn Dodgers whose stadium is a stone’s throw from where we are now.)
We press on to South Williamsburg and its large Orthodox Jewish community. The crowds have been thinning out up to this point but now they are non-existent. Everyone is going about their business. The runners are a slight distraction but not enough to stop for, when crossing the road. No hijinks here. Brooklyn becomes Queens without much fanfare and the crowds start to pick up again. We approach the halfway point of the race and everyone around me is walking. I’m thinking if they’re walking now, what are they going to be like at the finish? I do a quick stocktake. Four gels left. Breathing is good. Legs starting to tire but calf muscle is still attached. I head for the Queensboro Bridge and the lowest point of my race. Kilometres 20-26 are tough. My pace chart shows I lose a lot of time here. The Queensboro Bridge is cold, lonely and very windy. At the 25K mark in the middle of the bridge, I’m getting p!ssed off. So what else to do but take a selfie. My mind turns into a calculator. At this rate I’ll be lucky to finish in six and half hours. I can’t be bothered with that. Time to pull my finger out and turn this back into a race. I put in a 6:30min/km leg (my second fastest of the run) and come off the bridge to be hit by a deafening roar.
The Bronx and Manhattan
We run off the Queensboro (aka 59th St Bridge). “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” I’m feeling anything but f*cking groovy at this point. 26 kilometres into the race and I’m doing it tough. I pick up the pace just in time to hear a sound I’ve only heard twice before, when Paartalu equalised at Suncorp and when Timmy scored in K-Town. The noise from the spectators on First Avenue is amazing, like I’m running through a wall of sound. Straight away my spirits are lifted. I’m back in race mode and knock off a 6:30 km. As if on cue, the band breaks into “I’m back, back in the New York groove”. I need to fuel and approach the drinks station at Mile 17. I quickly scoff down another gel and I need water. A friendly voice yells out: “Gatorade!” They’ve switched the order of drinks service. Not a big deal normally but with a mouthful of raspberry flavoured snot I need water and I need it now. I take a water from the next section, stopping and thanking the server as always. “No, thank YOU for coming to our city.” I’m touched by this. Leaving enough liquid in the bottom of the cup to get a nice arc on my throw, I press forward and get a good tempo going as First Avenue is all downhill. Up into Harlem and into The Bronx, the crowds are starting to thin out again. At mile 21 we turn into the wind on 5th Avenue and begin the long journey home.
Oh Goody! It’s all uphill now. I pass the 34K mark. I’m waiting to hit the wall. Nothing. Maybe I don’t understand what the wall is. Instead of a specific point in time, it feels like someone has put an empty backpack on my back at the 25K mark and is slowly filling it with weights every few kilometres. Hey I can live with this. It sure beats the pain of tearing your calf muscle in two. Back in Harlem at the 35K mark I’m thinking there’s only 7Ks to go. Someone yells out “You can do this!” I look at the back of my hand which reads: “Finish what you started.” What does it mean? Where did it start? At the Verrazano? In August 2013 when I registered for this race? Or was it on the 1st Sept 2011 when I first walked through that door at Weight Watchers? Either way I’ve got a job to do here. Yes I can do this. I’ve got petrol in the tank, the sun’s coming out and there’s only 7Ks to go. I can do 7Ks standing on my head.
Suddenly, every training run, every bike run, every swim, and every rowing machine session makes sense. They all lead to this point. This is where the training kicks in. While everyone around me is flagging now, I’m finding strength in my legs. I hear my coach’s voice “Every plank and push-up you complete will help you stay upright while others start to droop.” I quickly straighten up in case she’s looking. I’m cruising down 5th Avenue now. Not quite in window-shopping mode but well in control. Into Central Park at the 24 mile mark and lining up for the long finish.
Central Park and the Finish
“Undulating” they said. What does that mean? After 37kms a rise seems like a hill, a hill seems like a mountain. I’m now in Central Park. The road starts to narrow to pathways. I’m following a pair of feet. Not legs, just feet. We’re weaving through traffic. When the feet in front are too slow, I follow another pair of feet, then another. I’m making up good time here. The crowds start to thicken. It’s a knowledgeable crowd. Most of these people run in the Park regularly. They know what’s needed to push to the finish and they know what to say. Up ahead I see a large Australian flag. As I pass it, the voice holding the flag says quietly: “Carn mate, you can do it!” A familiar accent and the power of the flag spur me on.
I’m feeling refreshed now. I knock off the final 4Ks in 27:33, my fastest of the race. I’m looking now for the 400 yards to go sign. This is the one I have visualised in all my training runs. The final 400 yards of the New York City Marathon. Hundreds of people cheering me on to the finish. Fantasy becoming reality. I’m thinking of all the people who helped me get here. I wish they were here enjoying this with me. I have a brainwave. I try to unzip my iPhone from my Spibelt. The zip jams. “Fork, fork, fork!” Of course I’m too stupid to actually stop and take time to do this. Finally the zip yields and I turn the phone on and switch to video. I’m not confident here. A couple of days earlier I had stuffed up a video of the Batmobile. I hit record and hope for the best. The Last 400 Yards is now on YouTube here:http://youtu.be/HwF-2jIjqQo I’m not sure how I was able to provide a running commentary, keep my weary legs pumping forward and breathe all at the same time. But I managed to. What will it feel like crossing the finish line? Will all the emotion of the past 14 months finally come out? Will I burst into tears?
And suddenly I’m there. I hear the race announcer’s voice: “Just a few more steps and YOU are a finisher of the TCS New York City Marathon!”
Too busy concentrating on trying to keep the iPhone still, I almost miss being in the moment of crossing the finish line. And then it’s all over. I’ve done it! 42.2 kilometres. 26 miles and 385 yards. I’m not a pretend runner any more. I’m a real runner. I’m a marathoner. Actually, right now I’m a confused marathoner. What to do next? I keep moving forward and see a tall black lady giving out medals. I think she’s famous, but I don’t recognise her. “Congratulations!” The medal is now around my neck. It’s big and it feels heavy. I keep walking forward and join a line up for the finisher photo. It’s getting dark and I’m really cold now. Someone wraps some tin foil around me, barely enough to cover a chicken. Someone else stuffs a goodie bag in my hand. Among other things it’s got an apple. Go figure. Then I remember I have visit Kenny urgently. I open the first door to find someone has cr@apped on the seat. The next one is on a 20deg lean but I don’t care, it’s got loo paper. I pull everything up and everything else down. But there’s no running water. Silly me. They cr@p on toilet seats here…why on earth would they want to wash their hands afterwards? I frantically search my goodie bag and find a small bottle of water to wash my hands with. We’re moving forward again, shortly to split into two lines. They’re now directing me to keep left. It seems like we’ve been walking for ages. We’re now running the gauntlet of family members who are separated from us by security fencing. I have to walk right to the end of this fencing to then walk all the way back and then start my journey back to the hotel.
At some point a volunteer asks to see my wristband. It reads “No Baggage.” He then drapes a blue cape over my shoulders. It feels warm. “Can I keep this?” “Sure.” I find out later that it’s my reward for not having any baggage to collect at the finish.
The blue hobbit continues his walk back to the hotel. I crossed the finish line at 4:34 and it’s now getting on for 6:30. All I want right now is get back to my room into a hot bath. I walk into the lobby, trying to look invisible. The well-dressed group of strangers meeting for dinner breaks into applause. Of course they all want to see the medal. I do the rounds then head for the lift. I run a hot bath and pour in a whole packet of Epsom Salts. It feels good. But the water cools quickly so I quickly have a hot shower. Then it’s straight to bed and oblivion.
Maybe it runs in the familyFROM RUNNING AFTER A THUNDERSTORM IN BROOME, DENISE WAS INSPIRED BY HER MUM, LORETTA, TO RUN HER FIRST MARATHON. Original article written by Lola Jones and published by RRR Magazine. Edited and ...
FROM RUNNING AFTER A THUNDERSTORM IN BROOME, DENISE WAS INSPIRED BY HER MUM, LORETTA, TO RUN HER FIRST MARATHON.
Original article written by Lola Jones and published by RRR Magazine. Edited and re-produced with permission by author and RRR Magazine.
How does a young mother who likes to run on the beach in Broome end up running in the New York City Marathon with her mother? Maybe it just runs in the family! Last year, Denise Shillinglaw ran in the New York Marathon with her mum Loretta Shillinglaw. But the story does not start there. In November 2012 Denise planned to be the support team for her mother who was supposed to run in the 2012 New York City Marathon. However, the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, they decided to run together. The New York City Marathon covers a distance of 42.195 km or 26.219 miles, and is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.
Denise said, “The idea of running a marathon myself had been lurking around since my mother, Loretta, ran her first marathon in Perth in 2004, aged 62. But for someone like me who had just had my first child at the time, it did not seem realistic, ever. Supporting Mum was always the priority.” Loretta started running at the young age of 56 and six years later completed her first marathon, the Perth Marathon in 2004. Next was the 2010 Athens Marathon and after Athens, it didn’t seem that insurmountable for Loretta to do the New York Marathon.
Denise was disappointed she was not able to see her Mum over the line in Perth in 2004, nor in Athens in 2008, so she was pretty determined to see her finish in New York and help her celebrate. Not many people could say they were 70 (in 2012) and had run their third marathon! “It was going to be a great trip. It was a great a trip-but not how we had planned it.” The 2013 ‘run’ was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and Loretta, along with thousands of other runners who had trained and travelled for the event, was devastated. But then, New York City was devastated too, so they were in good company. On the day of the marathon, Loretta and about two hundred other Australian competitors decided to run around Central Park to relieve some of their pent-up energy. It turned out that many local and international runners had the same idea. Denise ran with them. She said, “It was amazing! There were about twenty thousand people in Central Park running that morning. I was running with Chileans, South Africans, Spaniards, Americans, French; some of the fittest people on the planet. After that run (only about 10k), I thought to myself if I am ever in a position to participate in this marathon, then I will do it.”
About six months later the Boston Bombings occurred. Denise feared for her mum, who had been accepted in the 2013 New York City Marathon. What was the risk for her? Denise spent several days in April 2013 trying to talk her mum out of going. Then Denise got the email: “Congratulations. We would like to offer you a place in the 2013 New York City Marathon.” Denise said, “ I didn’t know what to do. Again, what was the risk? Then I remembered my promise to myself back in New York and decided that yes, I would commit to my first marathon and accompany my Mum in her third. She has always inspired me and if she could do it, then I could too.”
Between April and October, Denise did her training in Broome whilst Loretta did her training in Perth. Despite some experiences with heat stress, Denise managed to complete her training with minimal difficulty. She said, “I run because I enjoy the meditation of it. I run pretty much the same course every time. I enjoy the shift where my body is in focus and my brain gets to rest. Amazingly, some of my best thinking happens when I am running. In Broome particularly, I love to run because it is so clean and (most of the time) so quiet. Sometimes, of course, running in Broome can be hot. But I still love going for a run on an afternoon after a great big thunderstorm. But most of all I love the feeling at the end of every run, the feeling that every runner knows – an elation. When you know that you are alive.”
Loretta’s training was also by-the-book with plenty of support from friends, family and members of the WA Marathon Club. She also wanted to acknowledge the work of the Travelling Fit ladies as they were wonderful support in 2012 and in 2013 as she reflected that the New York marathon finally happened after two hard years of training.
In New York, November 3rd 2013 – the day of the race was a cold one. Very cold indeed. “When we arrived at Staten Island at 6.45am, it was probably zero degrees and didn’t change much for the four hours we waited until our wave started.” Loretta and Denise started the race together, but ran their own race once over the Verrazano Bridge. “It was a long, slow and difficult run, but we made it, and it was worth all the hard training.” Denise said.
After the race, the pair met up with a good friend and spent the evening celebrating with champagne and tapas at the Tolani Wine Bar on W79th and Amsterdam Streets, speculating on the next marathon!
My New York Marathon ExperienceWow! What an experience of a lifetime. On 3rd November 2013, I completed my very first marathon. That is 42.2kms (or 26.2 miles). It was not just any marathon. It was the New York Marathon! Yes, New ...
Wow! What an experience of a lifetime. On 3rd November 2013, I completed my very first marathon. That is 42.2kms (or 26.2 miles). It was not just any marathon. It was the New York Marathon! Yes, New York, New York. The track for this run covers the five boroughs of New York. Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan. Unbelievable. What better way to see the real New York?
I’d decided in September 2011 that I wanted to run the NY Marathon. Why? Because I wanted to commit to running marathon and I figured that one would be a great one to do.
I questioned, Could a novice runner like me enter it? Could I train enough to get in? Could I train enough to finish? Did I have what it takes to run through the 42.2kms or 26.2 miles and still be standing at the other end? Did I even like running?
Actually I love running. What I love about running is that you get to think clearly after a hectic day at work, you get to innovate whilst you run, you get to creative, you get to see things, you get to test yourself, you get to relax and listen to music and you get to enjoy experiences that come purely with running like problem solving about hydration.
Could I enter the NY Marathon? I investigated and found a travel agency in Australia set up for running marathons across the world. They did everything for you. Travelling Fit is their name. I contacted them to enter the 2012 NY Marathon. But it wasn’t that easy. I had to go on a waiting list for a few months as all the allocated tickets to that agency had been taken. So I was on a waiting for people to change their mind. Who would do that? I did not make the list for 2012 and was put on a priority list for the 2013 group. But the 2012 NY Marathon ended up being cancelled due to Storm Sandy. So in a strange way it was a good thing I missed out on entering 2012.
In February 2013 I got a call inviting me to commit to a spot in the NY Marathon 2013. My spot! I had to decide was I in or not? Yes, yes I am in! And so the commitment to training began. What was I getting into? Did I even know? Maybe not, but I was very excited.
The plan was to commit to a 16 week program, but before that run regularly to maintain a base. Early on I decided to run with some football umpires sprint training on a Tuesday night. Feeling very fit and ready, I did this training and loved it. Only to pull up the next day and week unable to walk due to strained quadriceps tendons.. first lesson learnt. Go slow and listen to your body… this thing will take a while to build up to.
In June we moved about 15 kms out of Shepparton, Victoria and so where I trained, there was only 5 houses around, many trees, many cows, a few kangaroos jumping around in the afternoons, and some hares. The land is flat, there are bitumen and dirt roads and there are no hills. Very different to a big city that never sleeps. Although occasionally I’d go into town and run with a group of other really fit runners, either before or after work, mostly, my training was made up of me running to a training program for marathoners and fitting runs in around work and home duties. I was so happy to train for this thing and at times became overwhelmed with how lucky I was to be fit and healthy to train and also at how lucky I was to have my ticket to go. I just had to get the training right. At times it was tough, but I also knew that was part of the plan.
In my training I had done a maximum of 36kms in training, only once but I had built up to the that distance week by week. I had stuck to my training but I had started to get really sore and strained calf muscles and so the last four weeks of training were not ideal as I had dropped off. But I really did think I had done enough. The goal, to finish between 4-5 hours. A lot did depend on the feelings on the day.
Meeting those who were running in the race
About 50,000 people had entered to run the marathon. That is almost the population of Shepparton. The lead up to the marathon was amazing. I met many runners Australian, American and from all countries. All going to New York to experience the same thing. Many great stories, many sad stories and many stories of pure inspiration. One Australian lady I’d met at the airport was told by her doctor that if she ran she’d probably need a hip operation. So she decided not to run but came over to the USA with her husband and kids anyway to support the other runners and then extend their time for a holiday. There was a parade of nations the night before the marathon and it felt like the opening ceremony of the Olympics. They were even followed by a big fireworks display that only the Americans know how to do. The Travelling Fit guys walked us down and sat with us whilst we watched the whole thing.
After the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the year, there was a resounding respect for all those in or from Boston but a defiant attitude to be victorious in freedom and being able to run a marathon. Many people running in New York wore blue ribbons to support those from Boston.
Speaking of Boston, the security in New York was high. The marathon expo and related activities all had a high level of security with guards and scanning equipment like at each airport.
After the 2012 NY marathon had been cancelled many runners had maintained their training across the year and had returned with the hope of completing their marathon for the past two years.
Many other runners were appearing for the first time like me. A few their very first marathon. A few their first New York Marathon. Others running their third, fourth or fifth New York marathon and so on. But for everyone this was a special day. The day we got to celebrate the freedom of running and the opportunity to test ourselves.
How wonderful that every day people like you and I run this race and we can share it with the elite runners.
The day of the race
The weather was cold that day. Approximately 1-9 degrees Celsius. We needed to get to the Staten Island first before the roads were closed off. The bus got us there. The Travelling Fit group had organised busses for the Aussies to get there. Wonderful, they left from my hotel lobby! So an early start, 5 am to be at the bus at 5.45 to get to Staten Island. The mood on the bus was quietly excited and smiles and sharing of stories for the 45 minute journey.
Upon arrival there were many buses and stream of people entering the running village. Essentially we had a 3-4 hour wait depending on the time of the wave you started in. Everyone excited and ready. A beautiful feeling of support and effort. Respect for everyone around you. We all knew what it took to just get there to the start line. A bonus on the morning was that we saw Robert De Castella and the Indigenous Runners Project group who were also running in the marathon. It was fantastic to be an Australian and see them.
There were four distinct starting groups on the day. Each had a start time based on the capability and expected time to finish. With the elite runners going first, of course. This was fantastic because the group moved about the same pace and so didn’t feel crowded when we ran.
The experience was amazing.
At the start line, people were smiling and ready. I hadn’t done a long run for a few weeks and honestly was looking forward to getting it out of my system. A nice thought to start the run.
And so, the gun went off, Miss America sang “God bless America”, and then a band sang “New York, New York” just as I set off over the start line… then over the first bridge overlooking the Hudson river with the New York city skyline just to the left and in the distance. What a beautiful city! How lucky was I?
The Race. What was it like?
What I thought it would be, it was. Long, gruelling, tough and testing my metal. It was a really cold day and very windy. The track – hilly. Having trained in kms I was going to be challenged by the mile markers, but found as the race went on, psychologically reaching something in the 20s was so much more doable that something in the 40s. How funny, it is exactly the same distance.
The streets were lined with 1.5-2 million people, cheering on the elite runners, and the not so elite like myself. Yes, really.
The celebration through every part of the run amazing. Bands and gospel choirs sang songs, people held up signs, one in particular saying “run like you’ve stolen something”, which was a bit dubious given I saw it in Brooklyn and in the Bronx. People offered food they’d made or fruit or drinks from the side lines, others offered smiles or claps, and others called out your name or your country based on what was written on your running top. It was like the whole of New York just gave us, the runners a hug.
During the run many people were struggling later in the race. This is when true spirit emerges. One guy fell over and had blood pouring from his face and hands. Another went straight to him and took him to the medical site, waited for him to be treated and then they ran over the finish line together. Many struggling not thinking they could make it, when a person in the crowd called out just the right thing to get them motivated and over the line. At the 25 mile mark when I was questioning why on earth I had signed up for this, a lady called out over the rope in Central Park “ you have got this! You are going great!” and smiled… an amazing smile. That is the smile that carried me over the line. I finished in 4 hours 27. I was happy to have finished the race.
More than 12,000 volunteers lending their time and hands just to support the runners. They too amazing people. Volunteering their time to give you a drink of water, a banana or Gatorade on the day and standing in the cold for many hours whilst the elite to the last runner crossed the line. In itself a huge effort and commitment.
There are so many people that supported my marathon journey before, during and after the event, to which I am grateful to them all both friends and strangers. Amazing in their own right. Thank you!
Winners and winners
So the elite winners for the men’s and women’s race finished in a time of 2 hrs 5 minutes and 6 secs (Geoffrey Mutai – Kenya) and 2 hours 23 minutes and 15 seconds (Firehiewot Dado – Ethiopia) respectively. But those who finished behind them did not lose. They finished. That is a win in itself. This distance is tough. The effort taken just to get to the start line is big. To get to the finish line unbelievable.
What I didn’t anticipate was everything that the race symbolised.
The marathon is about humanity. It is about extending yourself beyond what is possible. It is about extending yourself to the next person. It is about supporting the next guy when he thinks he cannot. Not only in running but in whatever he sets his mind to.
It is about the journey of life, the highs and the lows. It is about setting a goal and taking what comes on the journey and dealing with it. It is about enjoying the good parts and toughing out the rough parts when your legs feel like lead and you remind yourself that you actually do love the challenge. It is such a mental challenge.
It is about extending the human spirit and giving a little or a lot. A smile, a hand, a hug, a drink or wink. So thank you New York New York for embracing all the runners and giving me the experience of a life time. I wouldn’t change a thing.
New York – One Helluva RunI'm well & truly home now, slowly getting through the Stuff Which Awaits A Runner When She Has the Audacity To Go On An Indulgent Overseas Jaunt & Leaves The Family To Their Own ...
I’m well & truly home now, slowly getting through the Stuff Which Awaits A Runner When She Has the Audacity To Go On An Indulgent Overseas Jaunt & Leaves The Family To Their Own Devices…sigh…far too tedious to recount in detail, so I’ll save the time and just get on with it, instead.
New York was One Helluva Run – an amazing event!
Now I get the Big Deal about the ING NYC marathon.
It really is a big deal. The “New York Times” reports that a record 47,438 runners started this year.
Three African runners broke the course record. The poor buggers had to share the prize money – seems
unfair on them, after running 2:05:06, 2:06:28 and 2:07:14!
While we were all in our start corrals, just before 9:40 am (for runners in Wave 1 of 3 Wave starts), on a totally glorious morning in Staten Island, the “Star-Spangled Banner” was sung in absolutely superb fashion by a female black member of the NYPD. Americans immediately stood proud and placed their hands on their hearts. No matter what one thinks of them or their imperialism, it is hard not to be affected by their patriotism. The start cannon (yes, a cannon!) was fired by Mary Wittenberg, President & CEO of NY Road Runners Club. As the human throng poured through the start gates, the very, very, very well-known first notes of “New York, New York” filtered through the loudspeakers and a Frank Sinatra look-alike (dressed, naturally, in black shirt, black tie, black pants, white hat with black band) began crooning “Start spreadin’ the news….” , we all shrieked (OMG, OMG!), jumped up & down on the spot and sang along with Old Blue Eyes. And so, with the hairs on the backs of our 47,438 necks standing at 90 degrees to our skin, we began our 26.2 mile run across the almost 2 mile long Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, then onto Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and back down 5th Avenue into Central Park for the finish…
There were approximately 130 live bands along the course and the crowd support was totally awesome. Such mad, zany, noisy, raucous and earthy to the point of – appropriate – vulgarity, screaming support. I think it would be really hard to replicate it outside of NYC.
I don’t need to tell you that it is my advice to anyone who thinks of running a marathon, definitely, definitely, for 100% certain put it on your list, but you need to know that it is one hard act to follow! The race support, in terms of infrastructure, available medical aid (happily, I did not need it), registration, the Expo, everything, was superb!
I regularly thanked the many, many, many sterling volunteers along the course, especially those who handed out cups of Gatorade & water (available at each mile after mile 3), even when I indvertently poured a cupful over my head, confident it was water, alas….Gatorade in one’s eyes is not, I now know, good strategy in a marathon.
Here’s just one example (and there are many!) of the coolness of it – my very own personal experience of arriving in the Bronx,
was that of being greeted by an Enormous Black Guy with a Totally Booming Voice, who yelled out:
“Man, look at those white girls run!
And one of ’em’s from Australia – holy shit!
She is the s**t!!”
The last “s**t” is pronounced as if it were spelt “sh-ee-at” and must be very emphatically emphasized in order to get the feeling for it. You may have heard expressions along similar lines watching movies set in NY (we don’t get much of that in Mosman).
Another sign in the Bronx proclaimed “Run faster or you’ll be MUGGED in the Bronx!”.
And then there was the uber-cool dude and his friends behind the barricades in Central Park. At just under 2 miles to go, at which point runners look like they’d just been to hell and back (and some are still in the hell part), these dudes are yelling & screaming the message on a sign which read:
“F**K THE WALL!”. At that point, the crowd is about 6 people deep on both sides of the road through the park and this guy & his mates are – very loudly – full of really, really encouraging stuff along these lines:
“You think you’ve hit the wall?
Well, you just F**K that wall – don’t let it fuck up your run – you hear me??
Just F**K THAT WALL!!
You go, go, go!!!”
They were absolutely, totally 100% sober and so, so, so earnest & full of the urgency of it all. It was seriously fantastic…
I would run out of room in cyberspace if I were to relate in this email, all of the messages, but there were – literally – thousands along the lines of:
“We’re so proud of you, Mommy!”
“NY Fire Dept Truck #45, Ladder #16 – Go, Ryan!”
“Who needs toenails?”
“Chafed nipples turn me on!”
“NYPD is behind you, Bill!”
“I love black toenails!”
“World’s Worst Parade”
“Go, Daddy, Go!”…and so on.
As for the actual run, the weather made it a ‘no excuses’ day. Totally perfect. I had no injuries, no broken bits, no blisters, no cramps, no nothing. My training had gone pretty weIl although I always feel as if I could have done a bit more speed work or more intervals, or just one more long run or whatever. The elevation of the NY course was, for me (a girl who does not like hills and who does not do them well), perfect! Just enough undulation to engage different muscle groups over 3-4 hours. I was ahead of the 3:30 pacer until mile 16 when it just got hard and, although I tried to make 3:45, it didn’t quite happen.
The Queensboro Bridge is so bloody long – and it didn’t help that I had forgotten that it goes over Roosevelt Island and then over water again, just before that seriously heady moment when one turns right into and hits 1st Ave in Manhattan. I thought I was delusional when, looking around, I saw water, then land, then water again… Never mind, I am very, very thrilled with 3:46:18 – my second fastest time ever, after Boston 2010 (3:36). I further console myself with the fact that Boston is not on the radar for world records as it is a net downhill course and the start & finish are not within the regulation distance apart – so, as Boston is a point-to-point run, that (um….sort of) makes NY my best time! Yay!!
New York is one great, great city. My travelling & running pal, Lyndall & I had a ball. We travelled exceptionally well together. On reflection, there is no reason that I should find this at all remarkable. We did not have a single syllable of disagreement and we had heaps of fun together.
Shopping, culture, good food, running in Central Park, visiting iconic spots & shops, people-watching…I was especially glad to have Lyndall there when, for one heart-stopping moment, it looked as if I had lost my passport at New York’s Kennedy airport.
The cut-off time under which you had to run in order to get your name in Monday’s “New York Times”, was 5:00 hours.
Lyndall did it in 4:59:10.
She is thrilled.
Love that efficiency.
Plenty more tales to tell, little time right now but will do my best to write more of it down so I don’t forget.
….because it was really amazing…
I nearly didn’t come home. Why would I, when on Sunday, 6 November 2011 alone, at least 50 random strangers told me I was awesome?
And, of course, shopping on Marathon Monday is the latest and best form of recovery, especially wearing your engraved ING NYC 2011 marathon medal on your neck!
New York marathon bib no 19-162