You knew this was inevitable, didn’t you?
I’ve talked smack about every other World Major Marathon that I’ve run. New York wasn’t going to get some “special” treatment. My creativity for complaints is limitless. So, here it is. The five worst things about running in the New York Marathon.
I had two options on how I could get my place at the starting line. I could either run faster than Meb Keflezighi or enter a lottery. And enter the lottery I did. Fifty million times. I was finally accepted, and of course, it was the year I returned to b-school (re: no income). Thus, my parents funded the trip to NYC. Wish I could tell you how to game the system, but I don’t think it’s possible. If it is, tell me how.
The Commute to the Start and/or Finish
It’s known as the marathon before the marathon. Since I stayed on the Upper West Side, my commute to Staten Island included: taxi, ferry, walking, bus. It took two hours to finally arrive at the start line. It was hell, but I still recommend toughing it out and staying closer to the finish line. After the race, I walked three blocks back to my bed.
Running on the Bridges
I’m not an engineer, but I believe bridges absorb “shocks”. It makes for a weird sensation when you’re running on them. I’d compare it to the feeling of running in sand, but maybe not as intense. The bridges along the course can span almost two miles, so it’s an added effort.
You turn a block, the crowd is roaring! And suddenly…you’re here. It feels like running through a post-apocalyptic era. Mile 11 takes place in Hasidic Williamsburg, and the scene is eerie. From the New York Times:
The marathon, Robbins writes, runs “counter to the Hasidic community’s strict interpretation of the commandment of tznuit, modesty.” So when the runners reach this stretch, “they are met with silence, interrupted only by the rustling of the fall leaves on the street or the muted sounds of small hands clapping. The runners see stares – quizzical, blank or bored — or they see people look away in modesty.”
But not because it’s where The Wall hits. It’s more because you turn down the bridge and what greets you. You can see miles, and bordering the whole way is a giant, roaring crowd. I read warnings about this infamous moment. It’s the moment when runners become almost drunk on the cheers and throw their “run smart” mantras out the window. I did it, too. The gloat lasted for about ten minutes before I realized I had like a full hour left of running. I’d tell you to stay sharp, but trust me this moment is going to get you, too.