When looking at booking to attend the Marathon in New York there were so many different things to think about, so I chose to use 209 Events Limited Set up by Mike Gratton who won the London Marathon in 1983 in a time of 2.09.43. This saved any stress of organising hotel, race entry, flights, and bus to the start line. Mike Gratton took us for a short run around Central park for a look at the last 2 miles on the Friday before the race to show us were to have a nice sprint finish from (haha that never happened).
The morning of the ING New York Marathon was the realisation that I really should have put a lot more miles in on the road before traveling to NYC but I was there and going to enjoy it. The pre-race preparation started the night before having a large plate of pasta to hopefully carry me through the race the following morning. The morning of the race we got bussed to the race village which was easily the size of Scotter, with all the different food out lets and people going to get some nice gels that they had never tried before, always a good move on race day. With roughly 48000 people milling around it made it a little difficult to work out exactly where to be, but as I found everywhere in New York there is always a friendly American that can point you in the right direction.
Having made it to the corral to get sent out on the start line in wave 1 I found a bit of space and just chilled and got my music ready ( not that you need any music as there are bands playing on the streets every 300m). Having been in the corral for 20mins it started getting cold. The temperature was around 3oC so everyone bunched up and shared a bit of body heat. Once let up on the start line all of the busses that had dropped us of had been lined up to create a wind break either side of all the competitors. When one minute to the start was called it was mass strip down of clothes there were clothes flying to the side of the roads like fireworks all over.
The cannon fired the star spangled banner was sung and every one set off across the Verrazano- Narrows bridge. The bridge was a long up hill to the middle which warmed you up very quickly and then a long fast downhill all the way in to Brooklyn. This helped my cause of starting out a little too fast. Once in Brooklyn the crowds started and the grin on my face just kept getting bigger and bigger. The First 15 miles went by very happily but crossing Queensboro Bridge in to Manhattan was my breaking point, the slope all the way up to half way across the bridge built huge amounts of lactic in my calf, quads and hamstrings then coming down the other side in to Manhattan cramp struck which I then had to fight all the way to the end of the race.
The amazing crowds took my mind off the cramp in my legs on numerous occasion and the signs of “Smile if you have peed a little” “Run like you stole something” “ Run now poop later” certainly brought a big smile to my face.
Arriving at Central park was such a relief but I still had 3.5 miles to go, although I absorbed as much of the cheering and atmosphere every time I picked the pace up to try and have a great finish I just locked up with cramp. At two miles to go I was getting so frustrated with my legs no longer wanting to keep going I walked for 10metres two or three times having arrived at Columbus circle with half a mile to go, all pain left me and I picked the pace up slightly, this was a result of the huge cheers that completely deafened me, every hair on my arms and legs tingled with Goosebumps probably a mixture of it being so cold and the sudden adrenalin boost I ran for the line not a sprint finish or even a quick finish but I had finished.
I walked on after the line and that was the first time I have ever felt any real emotion upon finishing a race. An absolutely fantastic sensation, I would recommend NYC Marathon to any one just for the support alone, it’s not a flat course but it isn’t ridiculously hilly just 2 or 3 slopes right when you don’t really want them.
Running the marathon really put in to perspective as to how much more training I should have done and where my training should have been different. I relied to much of general fitness and a limited amount of actual road running. I shall be returning in 3 years’ time and I will be improving on my time in New York. My finish time was 3.54.14 average speed of 8.9minute miles leaving plenty to work towards. I am still very proud to have made it in to the New York Times in 12827th place out of roughly 48000 runners. Thanks to everyone for their comments of encouragement certainly made a difference for me out there.