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????