As a marathon runner who has benefitted countless times from spectators who passed out food, beer, or just had a funny sign, I feel I have a duty to karmically pay back these good deeds. My one big chance every year is the NYC Marathon. I volunteered at the Expo on Thursday, but my real “good marathon deed” came today – for almost 5 hours, standing at about mile 21.5, I passed out 12 pounds of Twizzlers and 4 bags of Kit Kats. I had two signs – “Twizzlers heal injuries” while passing out the Twizzlers and “Show Us Your Tata Consultancy Services” when I ran out of Twizzlers. The Tata sign was from last year, but since TCS was the actual sponsor this year, many, many more people got the joke this time.
I also learned a few things from spectating today:
- Norwegians love Twizzlers. Or they don’t have Twizzlers in Norway and they wanted to literally grasp the one chance they got to try this waxy American treat. Either way, I think the first 4 pounds of Twizzlers went exclusively to Norwegians. Or maybe they were Swedish. I’m not so good with the flags.
- There’s no such thing as overdressing to spectate a cold-weather race. It was in the 40s today but with a windchill in the 30s. I wore long underwear, thick jeans, an extra wool top, a wind-blocking fleece, wool socks, boots, fleece headband, hat, scarf, and (rubber, for sanitary reasons) gloves. When it got shady I added my long down coat and hood. All of this was just barely comfortable, although my ears and fingers were still cold by the end. While my friend somehow, amazingly, ran the marathon shirtless, if you plan on standing still for multiple hours you won’t be sorry you’re warm. You can always remove layers if you’re hot, but you can’t put on the extra wool sweater you didn’t bring.
- I probably pissed off several runners today. To those runners, I say: I hope you understand it was only because I was trying to get candy to another runner, and I really didn’t mean for that runner to clothesline you while reaching for a treat. I hope those minor irritations only fueled you to a stronger finish.
- Having a sign explaining what you are handing out is very helpful. I saw people reading the sign that Twizzlers heal injuries, which then helped them identify the strange red ropes in my hands. I didn’t have a sign that said “Kit Kats” and people seemed confused by them, although they still went like hotcakes (assuming marathoners love hotcakes). It would have been even better to have multiple people passing out treats, but amazingly I haven’t convinced anyone to join me on these marathon spectating adventures yet. Maybe next year!
- Twizzlers are a great candy to pass out. It’s cheaper than chocolate (12 lbs for about $22 on Amazon, vs 4 bags of Kit Kats on sale at Duane Reade for $10, but they lasted about 15 minutes because there’s not much in a bag) and I personally enjoy eating Twizzlers more during a race than other candy. I wore disposable rubber gloves so it was moderately more sanitary and I didn’t have to hand anyone candy I touched with my bare hands. Plus the Norwegians love it.
- Candy grabbing goes in waves. When one person takes candy from you, usually a bunch more will also grab for candy right afterwards. Then 50 runners will go by and nothing. Then, one person wants candy, and 5 people right around them also want it. If someone wants to run a detailed psychological study on this, please give me credit in the footnotes.
- A ton of really attractive men ran the marathon this year. I saw so many guys who could be doubles for the ridiculously photogenic runner meme guy, it was hard to believe they had already run 21 miles in the freezing cold. If someone wants to run a detailed psychological study on this, please include my contact info in the footnotes.
- Even when I ran out of candy, people seemed to appreciate that I stood there holding my silly sign. I felt terrible I couldn’t offer them more, but since they didn’t know what they missed, there were no hard feelings. Now that they know, however, I can understand if they demand candy from me if they ever run into me on the street. “You’re that girl with the sign and the blog? Where’s my candy?!” “Hold on, handsome, I have some right here in my handbag…”
Did you run or watch the NYC Marathon today? Or are you mostly just excited for another Walking Dead episode tonight? Do you also always carry candy in your handbag? DO Norwegians love Twizzlers? Share in the comments!