I decided I didn't want to take the official shuttle to the start as they departed between 5am and 7am for a 10:50 race start. Found my own way by taking the 8am subway to the ferry landing, 8:30 ferry to Staten Island, and a short bus ride to the fort. Security was intense at the fort/staging area. I wasn't the only one who had this idea....probably a hundred others on my ferry alone....of course there are 30,000 runners. I have just enough time for a little food, do some legal drugs, and deposit my extra gear at the UPS truck.
10:30am....got in my designated corral just in time for the march to the start which is the base of the Verrazano Bridge. 10:45am....rousing speech by Mayor Rudy (maybe he can move to L.A.?)....loved the part about the 30,000 who weren't afraid to be out here. Even the 10,000 international runners have red/white/blue on in some form. We are all wearing our United We Run ribbons. FDNY fireman sings the anthem and God Bless America...same guy who sang at Yankee Stadium. 10:50am....the cannon roars and off we go. this year I'm on the lower deck for the mile run across the bridge. Armed with my camera I snap a couple pix of the start.
......working our way up through Brooklyn....crowds are awesome and the adrenalin is pumping like crazy. I stop to have my picture taken with two of the 3000 cops manning the course (just happen to be attractive young females :).....a little later there is a band pumping out some R&B and I just have to stop and get my picture taken with them...but then they hand me the microphone so I have to sing, fortunately they quickly learn the error of their ways and take it back from me and I'm back on the course. Every kid on the course wants a high-five so I of course oblige which keeps the adrenalin flowing....I stop a few more times to snap photos of the course as we go through the various ethnic neighborhoods.
At the 11 mile mark we hit Queens and the crowds diminish a bit...but several good photo ops of Manhattan. I can't believe the guy carrying the full-size flag is keeping up with me. With the adrenalin settling down I check my time for the first time all day...running much faster than planned. At mile 15 we approach the Queensborough Bridge and head toward Manhattan. I stop at mid-bridge to get someone to snap my photo with the Empire St building in the background. Now we're coming off the bridge to enormous-rowdy crowds with Sinatra blaring from loudspeakers...NY, NY...........round the bend and we hit First Avenue, the most awesome part of the race. The crowds are HUGE and LOUD....adrenalin rockets back up the scale and I'm slapping palms with everyone and snapping photos of First Ave. As we approach the Bronx (and bridge #3) the crowd thins again and we hit the dog days of August portion of the run from around mile 18-20. After a short mile in the Bronx it is back over bridge #4 and into Harlem. Gospel singers in Harlem get us cranked back up for the uphill run to the finish.
We hit Fifth Avenue at 110th Street and the crowds start growing again. By the time we get to 90th street and turn into Central Park the crowds are almost First Avenue-like and I'm back to slapping palms (at this point I need that adrenalin boost). Great photo ops in the park and I drain some more film. We pop back out of the park at 59th and cruise along the edge of the park at the 25 mile mark....I spot the Chief (my wife) and run over to her and snap a photo of the two of us. Now it is time to hit the home stretch and cruise back into the park at Columbus Circle (mile 26). A short curve later and the finish awaits....I come to a complete stop in the middle of the road to take a picture of the finish with the fall leaves in full glory...people pass me giving me odd looks. A short jog to the finish and I've run faster than planned....must be thanks to the DCLA weekend long runs (don't run a marathon w/o them!)....then the long hike begins....we finish at about 61st....proceed to get our medal, chip cut-off, space blanket, and food bag.....then the line of trucks for bag retrieval. Unfortunately my truck is all the way down at 89th.....which wasn't so bad but then I had to hike back to 57th to get to my hotel. I think that was tougher than the race. But now I'm in a hurry cuz I'm missing the start of Aida (my wife has gone ahead).....I make it just before halftime, er...intermission..........Yanks ahead going into the bottom of the 9th with untouchable Rivera on the mound....what a day!....oops....Zona rallys but who cares, I had a great day.......only Boston comes close to the NY Marathon experience.
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