Sunday, November 3, 2013

NYC Marathon race report from a spectators point of view

Today was the annual day of fun for spectators in NYC as the NYC Marathon was run.  The race was widely anticipated due to last year's cancellation so there was a whole lot of build up for it.  Of course, everyone got into the action.  This race report is not going to be about the actual racing part, but more about a spectator's (mine) view of how the race unfolds. 

As I've said before, I didn't run this year but was definitely excited, and upset for today's race. 

This year was the first time in a while that I didn't have anyone in particular to cheer on.  I knew people running, but it wasn't a close friend, someone I coached, the wife (I can't wait until she does one), or anyone like that.  That still didn't stop me from taking in the day of festivities.

Because I live on the wrong side of 1st Avenue in NYC and we got an extra hour of sleep last night from daylight savings time, I was up early and at the gym at 7am because I needed to get back to my apartment or I couldn't cross the street because the race would be going on.  So I got a quick bike workout in, grabbed some coffee, and was home by 8:45am to put the TV on and watch everything.  The race coverage started around 8 am with stories of Hurricane Sandy, specific runners, past races, the Boston race this year, so there was definitely plenty to watch.  After about 15 minutes of watching, I felt like there should be a drinking game created from all the times Hurricane Sandy was referenced.  Every other minute the reporters mentioned the cancellation of the 2012 race and things surrounding the events.  I know this race was closure for a lot of people, but at some point its time to stop looking back and start looking forward.

The first 2 hours of the race was me sitting on my couch watching the women's and men's field. My initial thoughts were that the 2 women who took off to start the race went out too fast and this is going to hurt them in the end.  Side note- I was right.  Deba faded down the stretch and was later caught around mile 23 in Central Park.  My initial thoughts for the men was that I can't believe Meb was leading the race for the first 6-8 miles.  I thought this was a bad strategy and he won't be able to keep up with the likes of Mutai and everyone else. 

In addition to watching the race on TV, the wife and I started plugging the names of the people we knew were running into the computer to track them.  We tried to calculate what time they would cross our apartment so we can go watch them.

As the lead women approached our apartment, we all went out to watch the race and cheer people on.  You can see here our view and the groups of runners together.

Lead women

Wheelchair athletes are just as strong during this race
The lead pack of the men's race

One thing I did notice was the increased security.  There were cops everywhere, including on the rooftops.  There was a sense of safety in the air, but definitely the tragedy in Boston was on the minds of everyone.  Even with Riley in my arms, I wanted to see the people we wanted and get back inside just in case something happened.

Cops on roof decks about every few buildings
For those who have watched this race on TV, let me say that the coverage of the 1st Avenue experience is about 1000 times better in person that what TV makes it out.  In my opinion, running on 1st Ave in this race is the best experience in road racing anywhere in the world.  The energy is flat out crazy and loud.

Regular runners coming down 1st Avenue
After coming back inside, the wife and I continued to track the runner's we knew on the computer since the pro's races were over at this point.   We found that a lot of runners times dropped off significantly.  1st Ave drains a lot of energy, and with the hills in the last 5 miles of the course, we noticed the times continue to get a lot slower.  As the day went on, everyone we knew crossed the finish line and the day was coming to an end.  Plus, all the football games were starting so you can only watch people run for so long.

But the day doesn't just end when your runners pass you and finish.  Nope.  1st Avenue remains a loudspeaker of noise and cheers, and fun.  The final runner wont pass my apartment until about 5pm so there is cheering until then.  With Riley trying to nap in the afternoon, I feel guilty wanted them to shut up, but now the father on me kicks in. 

The NYC Marathon is an experience for everyone involved.  Yes, there were 0ver 50,000 runners this year, but there were also over 2 million spectators along the course.  It's days like this, that I feel lucky to live in NYC.

Next year, my race report will be of me running and not spectating. 

Congrats to all the 2013 runners

1 comment:

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