After 4 years of unsuccessful attempts, this year I have been finally selected to run in the TCS New York City Marathon. Who needs a better excuse to finally visit the Big Apple!
You can read more about the visit to NYC in a separate post, here I will focus on the race itself. And what a race it was!
But let's start from the beginning.
Just in time for a race briefing, where the course strategy was talked about by NYRR coaches.
Also visited the Biofreeze Pace Team stand to say "hi" to my tomorrow's pacer, unfortunately though she wasn't there then. Talked to a 4h pacer instead, got my pacing wristband, and went to discover the rest of the expo.
Pace team locations:
On to the shopping section! Here we both got our feet digitally measured - turned out we both have our left feet slightly bigger.
Anna got herself new shiny NYC-branded New Balance runners. Pretty cute, aren't they?
I on the other hand managed to get "featured" on the NYC Marathon Special's cover, ehem, like all the other expo visitors who had enough patience to wait in the longish queue to the Runner's World photo booth.
Carbo-loading at Luke's Lobster.
The night before the marathon it was too cold and windy to sit outside on the terrace, so we retreated inside to the hotel bar for a last beer before the big day.
D-day: Whitehall Terminal: On the way to the starting line.
Early morning Manahattan panorama from the Staten Island ferry.
Shuttle buses were waiting for us on Staten Island to take us from the ferry port to the start village.
Map of all start villages - mine was green.
Green start village. Perfect weather - sunny but not too warm.
My plan was the sub-4 hours finish time - I declared 3:55, and was assigned to Green Wave 2 Corral B, bib number 32317.
My plan was to follow the 3:55 pacer, so I caught up with her shortly before entering our start corrals.
Off we go! The green start at Staten Island.
After crossing the Verrazzano-Narows bridge, the route is passing through all 4remaining NY boroughs - Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan (though apparently they didn't want us to go too deep into Bronx, wonder why?)
Running up Brooklyn's 4th Avenue, with One Hanson Place in the background.
Running through Polish community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Bales of hay were put on sharp turns, guess for those too tired to change their direction?
Whitestone Bridge, entering Bronx.
Last damn bridge! Back to Manhattan through Madison Avenue Bridge.
Managed to followed my 3:55 pacer most of the time, until around km 39 where one of my hamstrings cramped - fortunately managed to massage it away reasonably quickly and catch up with the pacer with a sprint-ish finish, just in time for my new marathon PB of 3:53:47 (Strava activity).
Shiny medals waiting for all tired finishers.
Yours truly as one of the happy finishers.
In summary, the race was a blast, in big part thanks to amazing crowds - cheering loudly along the whole 42 km (perhaps with just 2 exceptions of cordoned off bridges and Hasidic section of Williamsburg in Brooklyn) - it felt like running with extra wings!
After getting our medals there were just a few more kms of so-called "Zombie Walk" left to get our space blankets and ponchos, and get out of the park and to the family reunion zone close to Columbus Circle.
And finally, well-earned refuelling - the American way.
As every year, the marathon-special Monday edition of The New York Times included full list of all above-5 hours finishers.