It is the morning of Sunday, November 06, 2011 and I wake up with butterflies in my stomach. I double check the weather and finalize my outfit. Today I choose tights. There is nothing worse to me than being cold for a couple hours before the race starts for the sake of wearing shorts this time of year.
The New York Marathon; people can wait years to get in. It is a lottery, luck of the draw. I guess it is all perception, fore how lucky are you to win an entry to pay for the opportunity to travel 26.2 miles by foot.
• Bright red Saucony Kinvara running shoes…check
• iPod, with an awesome playlist to keep me entertained…check
• map and game plan…check
I am ready to go! ING New York City Marathon – I am ready to be a spectator! A point to point race, so it isn’t as easy to see as many points as you would hope to, but I made the best of it. You think you have seen a marathon until you see NY. I started my first viewing point in Brooklyn. So from my TriBeCa apartment a friend lent me for the weekend, I hopped on the train and decided I would get off at Lexington. Lexington sounded like a good plan until I was about three stops away and it dawned on me I had no idea what type of neighborhood I was gone to emerge in. But to much of my surprise it was absolutely lovely.
Fort Green, the 8 mile ING cheering station, so the streets were lit with bright orange hats, gloves, bells, vuvuzelas, megaphones, sunglasses and more. I couldn’t be left out; and it matched my ViziPro shirt and jacket, so it was perfect. Today, I was not only a spectator, but a spectator with no intention of seeing anyone special. There was no clock to watch, no timely bouncing around or anything of the sort. (Just a plane to catch at 1:45)
With the waves starting quite a ways apart from each other, this race goes on all day. From the wheelchairs and hand-cycles pushing off in waves from 8:30-9:00, the Pro Women start their run at 9:10 and the men following 30 minutes thereafter. The last wave doesn’t even start until 10:30, which leaves you with a long day.
I watched from Brooklyn until all the pro women went by, and then headed off to the crossover from Queens to Manhattan where I have never seen crowds like such at any race. Crowds 6 deep, with people sitting on mail boxes, standing on posts and doing anything they could to get their glimpse of a runner…just any runner. The bars were open as people sat in the windows entertaining themselves as they would if there were watching Sunday football.
As it grew closer to my flight time, I hopped on the train and headed toward LaGuardia, but not before stopping in Queens for a few minutes to watch the runners make their way toward the bridge. It was so much fun.
I love watching marathons. But I have never had so much fun watching a race where the spectators get into the excitement so much. NYC is normally electrifying, but this event just topped it above and beyond anything I had ever seen before. I was excited when I was informed I had to go to the city for work on the marathon weekend. How could I not be? I LOVE New York! This city is one of the best and there is nothing like it, but add a race like this and it is a perfect city. I am not much for racing marathons and seek out checklist marathons, but after spectating this one, now I want to sign up for next year’s “lottery”.