Congratulations to all the NYC Marathon finishers today – you looked great out there!
After watching the first couple hours of coverage on TV, I put on every article of hot pink clothing I could and made my way to the course with my three giant signs and 8 bags of candy. I arrived between miles 21 and 22 just after the lead women ran by, but I got settled in time to see the elite men fly past… and then 5 hours of everyone else.
Yep, I cheered for 5 full hours and passed out all 8 bags of candy and a giant baggie of cut up bagels. By the time I pulled the plug, my hands were cramped and I couldn’t feel my toes. But it was great! The best moments were when I could see a serious runner read my sign and then smile with the realization. I also had several runners (usually women) say I was a lifesaver because of the chocolate and bagels.
I was worried security would prevent me from getting close enough to the course but it was fine. The entire course was lined with blue “do not cross – police line” tape, but you could push up against it as long as you were still on the sidewalk and not on the course. The police were definitely present, but they did not hassle me as I passed food to the runners (I purposely did not carry a backpack today). Happily, the experience was not much different from what it was 7 years ago. I do recommend watching along a less-congested area of the course (like Harlem) if you want more personal interaction with the runners and an easy front-row spot. Next time, however, I will wear warmer clothing and bring even more food (and buy Halloween candy before Halloween, since drugstores don’t seem to stock enough for sales anymore).
I also got to see three of my five friends who were running today (only because they called out to me – it’s a lot easier to tell people where you’ll stand and what you’ll wear rather than find the runner in a sea of 47,000 runners). I’m sorry I missed you other two! I’ll try again next year if you do!
Today reminded me how fun it is to cheer for a marathon. I definitely would (and will) cheer again even if I don’t know anyone running. A marathon is a really happy atmosphere, and doubly happy when you’re a spectator and don’t have to run the thing. During most of the MDI Marathon I was looking forward to my chance to stand still and hold a bowl of candy as my next marathon participation.
Now I’m almost feeling a post-race letdown as if I actually ran it. Luckily I have a real marathon in less than a week, so I can funnel any longing to run into that. I have only run twice since MDI – three miles the Friday after the race, and three miles yesterday – so it’s an understatement to say I’m not prepared, but I’m changing my approach to the race so it’ll still be enjoyable (I hope). I’ll post more about that later. For now, I’m going to relish the steam heat in my apartment and eat the candy I stashed away before the race. Congrats again to everyone involved in the NYC Marathon!
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