05 November 2006

Bonus Marathon Spectator Edition

Today was the New York City Marathon, and I'd indeed be a lousy New Yorker (and a worse runner) if I didn't at least try to throw together a quick post in its honor. I've run seven marathons myself (all between 1999 and 2005) but I'd never watched one as a spectator before, and it was really a lot of fun. Kate and I stood outside on Manhattan Avenue for almost two hours, shouting ourselves hoarse (and clapping until our hands were numb) as a seemingly endless tide of runners surged north toward Queens. As it turns out, a good number of participants have their name (and sometimes, nationality) prominently displayed on their shirts, so it was easy enough to single folks out and offer some personalized encouragement. In fact, although I had my camera with me, it stayed in my pocket most of the time as I focused my energies instead on watching and hollering.

Yes, it was pretty cool to watch the elite runners speed by (the women first, since they had an earlier starting time), and yes, we saw Lance Armstrong (and his sizeable entourage of charity runners). Personally, though, the high point for me was actually getting to meet -- if only for a moment, and a half-hour apart -- two individuals who I know through comments or emails related to this blog. Linda (from the Detroit area) and Michael (a fellow Brooklynite) both finished easily, with the former actually coming in among the top 200 women with a time around 3:15. Wow. Congratulations -- it was great meeting both of you, and I look forward to hearing all about your experiences (after a proper recovery, of course). (I was also pleasantly surprised that so many passing runners responded to my Iowa sweatshirt, though after the Hawkeyes' ignominious home loss to Big 10 doormat Northwestern yesterday, I may have felt just a little twinge of self-consciousness). All the excitement made me wish I was running the marathon myself, but then again, I suppose my running-related dance card is full enough without all the additional training. Next year, though, is a different story...

I won't go into any more detail, since I want to warm up a bit and the race enjoys so much media coverage here anyway. But if you really want more information, try these links:

New York Marathon official website
New York Times marathon coverage

Finally, here are a few photos. Keep in mind, though, that most of my photographic experience has been in shooting stationary objects, not moving ones! In any event, I'll probably return to my regularly-scheduled running tomorrow. Hope to see you then.

Two of the elite women (I think that's Claudia Camargo on the right)

Just before the lead male runners emerged onto Manhattan Avenue

Carlos Carballo (who finished 27th) and Kassahun Kabiso (18th)

The view from the Runs Brooklyn headquarters, at about 1:00


At 6:55 PM, Blogger Feminist Runner said...

Wasn't it fun? Jelena was already leading by a good margin at the 5k! I was in shock when I saw that.

I love the regular people out there -- I missed Lance and Karno but I did see the guy running for office in my 'hood. He's got a busy week to say the least.

Glad you enjoyed yourself, and great view from the window!

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Yeah, it was a blast -- I never it was so much fun being on the other side! I'd still like to run it next year, but if I don't get in I'm already looking forward to watching again.

And about the view, thanks! But when we rented this place I had no idea the Runs Brooklyn world HQ would look out over the marathon route -- it was just a (very happy) coincidence...

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you do not get in via lottery I highly recommend running for a charity like I did this year, Team For Kids.

It was a great experience and raising the money is the easy part. I highly recommend it
Thanks for putting my message up on your blog this summer and good luck

Jeff - NYCM 2006 - 3:39:02

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Linda (aka humbled) said...

It was great to see you and Kate outside the Runs Brooklyn HQ at mile 12+ ... not to mention all the other Brooklynites who turned out. I spent much of the 12th mile anticipating that turn onto Manhattan Ave. (and consequently ran it too fast, at about a 7:00 pace), was concerned I'd missed you, and then there you were!

My favorite part of the course, though (absolutely no disrespect intended to Greenpoint or any of the other fine neighborhoods along the way), is the stretch up Lafayette. The street is so much narrower than Fourth Ave. that the crowd is right *there* with you; and both this year and last, there seemed to be hundreds of kids holding out their hands to be slapped. Quite a rush for us recreational runners!

I have very sore hamstrings at the moment (this afternoon's plane ride back to Michigan was less than therapeutic), and fear for a couple of my toenails, but am looking forward to getting back into easy running in the not-too-distant future.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Gary said...


Congrats on the great time, and for the money you raised through TFK. I'll definitely do something like that if I don't get in via the lottery next year.

And Linda, congrats to you, too -- it was indeed great to meet you!. And once those hamstrings and toenails are back in shape, feel free to comment/email with any more thoughts about the race...


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