ING NYC Marathon 2011 – Part 1

Chrissy asked me some time ago to do a post on the ING NYC Marathon.

Well it’s been a marathon wait and here it is.

Three reasons for getting underway – Chrissy asked, lots of people at her birthday party (NZ) asked, and I’m stuck in a motel by myself so it beats TV by a long shot.

Where to begin?

Well perhaps somewhere past the end… I have had many unbelievably positive reactions to this achievement and often people have seemed somewhat confused as to why I am so seemingly modest about finishing. Truth be known I am not modest at all, but when it comes to running I have pretty high standards.

I did regard my effort as very modest compared to people who only took up running in the last twelve months, people who only ran it to honour a lost loved one (mother, father, sibling, friend), those running blind, those running without ‘legs’, the woman who had to be in her 80’s cranking the handbike up first avenue with a smile on her face, the people without arms, the war vets with injuries of all manner. And had I finished ½ hour quicker I would still feel just the same (though undoubtedly more satisfied within myself).

For those who know me well I’ll save the comments; yes I’ve broken both legs and ankles and still have metal in place, I have a lung which is glued to my chest, get asthma, but, and this is the point – I knew I could do it – the only questions for me were how fast and how much damage would be done (ankles etc.).

They say something like ‘Marathons are 20% physical and 80% mental’ I completely agree. Mostly it’s perseverance, it was nigh impossible to pick those who would ‘ace’ you and those who would trail you across the line – you could see them physically, but not what they had inside (though I wish I knew where the woman with the diamond studded head band and Hermes top finished). I particularly enjoyed the T-shirt a guy had on (who I ebbed and flowed with through much of the middle of the race) which said “Personal best is only temporary”.

Having done multisport events 2 and 3 times longer than the time I expected for the marathon I never for one minute doubted I would finish (though when I pulled a thigh muscle while boogieing to R.E.S.P.E.C.T being sung out loud as I ran into the Bronx – I did picture myself hobbling across the line).

So will I do another, and do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Now I’ll try to explain why, and if I motivate one single person to get up and go for it, then all this self-reflection will be worth it.

The ING Marathon

This was simply the most amazing accumulation of human charity and compassion I have ever seen. 47,000 people running and in the process raising US $36 million which is simply amazing and makes most every other charity event I am aware of pale into insignificance.

For me though it was the 2 million odd New Yorkers (and foreign add-ons) who lined the course from 9:30 a.m. to 6pm to cheer and shout and sing and wave and high five and hand out sweets, Vaseline sticks (fortunately not on my list of needs – and that’s for chaffing for the non-initiated), bananas, drinks, smiles, shouts, encouragement and general craziness. It practically brought me to tears as I ran onto Fourth avenue in Brooklyn ‘this is insane’ I declared with tear filled eyes to any runner nearby ‘…and I mean that in a good way’ I added to probably a completely different bunch of runners!

(next installment in a day or three…)_