NYC Marathon – the Experience of a Lifetime (part 1)

I plan on writing a few posts about the NYC Marathon on Sunday, Nov 6.  The first couple will be about the events before and after the marathon, one will deal with running the marathon (splits, how I felt, etc), and another will be a recap of the experience of participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge.

I don’t think I will ever experience a day quite like yesterday.  Winning the challenge is extremely gratifying but it pales in comparison to the day my family and I shared together.   I guess the best place to start is at the beginning of the day…

My supporters were in full force for the day – Paul, AJ, my mom, dad, 2 of my sisters, their significant others, and my niece!  Unfortunately, my sister who lives in the city could not make it to the start or finish as she was setting up and preparing for the after party she hosted for me in her apt (which is only 2 avenues away from the finish!!).

In order to be at the entrance of Fort Wadsworth at 630am, we had to leave by 6am – which I can’t complain too much about since it is actually much later than runners coming from the city, other boroughs or neighboring areas.  The weather was chilly when we left (low 30s)- but with little to no wind and a crystal blue, clear sky, it was showing signs of the beautiful day that was to come.

After eventually getting into Fort Wadsworth (we were held up for about 15 min by the security at the gate), my family and I were led through the fort to the VIP tent where I would say my goodbyes and get ready for the run.

For anyone who has run a large marathon, the scene in the staging area would be nothing new – the groups of runners huddled together to stay warm, the bizarre and outlandish clothes that runners wear pre-race to keep warm, the thousands of port-o-potties (the last stat I heard is that there were over 2,300), and the excitement, thrill, and anticipation of 45,000+ people! Apolo Ohno, first-time marathoner,  stated that “it’s kind of like Woodstock but for runners.”  I was SO excited that my family got to see it all first-hand on our walk to the tent.  

We took a few photos, exchanged hugs and kisses, and said our goodbyes at the VIP tent.  At this point, my family was led to the bridge – and I will discuss their experience later on in the post!  Being inside one of the VIP tents was an experience all on its own – it was SO warm, there was breakfast, water, tables, chairs – and best of all – lots of available (and line-free) port-o-potties!  With all the water I had been drinking in the days leading up to the race, I had to make at least 10 trips over the course of 2 hours!  I got to spend some quiet time with the four other runners participating in the challenge – we chatted, wrote names on our shirts, ate our pre-race meals, and tried to keep our minds off of the upcoming marathon!!

Around 730, Drew (representative from Brooklyn), Sal (Queens), and I were called outside to do a short pre-run interview with CBS.  That definitely helped pass the time and calm my nerves and excitement for a while!

We returned to the tent to pack up our gear, make one last bathroom stop, and head out to the start line.  Our start time was 8:45am – the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge allowed us to start the marathon alone – 25 min before the elite females (910am) and 55 min before the elite males and wave 1 (940am).

While I was experiencing all of this, my family was being treated like VIPs!  After saying goodbye to me at the VIP tent, they were taken across the Staten Island Expressway (traffic was stopped for them!) and placed on a double-decker bus.  They had an amazing view of the start line, the podium where the national anthem was to be sung, celebrities, and later on, the top 3 elite males!

I was reunited with my family for some quick last-minute hugs…

and kisses before our official start.

After loudspeaker introductions and a few waves…

the horn sounded and we were on our way through the boroughs and to the finish line!!

We were the only 5 individuals running on the bridge and the course – and even had our own police escort and camera crew!

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