The size, spectators and logistics of this event lived up to the hype. It was a one-time event for me. Now I have a new perspective for when I watch future NY marathons on TV. From the top…
It took my daughter Amy and I about three hours to get to the start via subway, shuttle bus, ferry and a second shuttle bus. The weather was sunny, near freezing and a little windy. When we arrived at Fort Wadsworth, the staging area, we quickly put on all of our extra clothes, garbage bags and broke out the hand warmers. Amy and I were in Wave 3 with a 10:40 am start time (there were three waves plus wheelers with three different starting points in each wave and about 12 or so corrals in each starting point). We found a discarded blanket and piece of cardboard to sit on that had been left by someone.
The race itself was hard, mainly due to the number of runners and walkers to maneuver through. Plus the aid stations started at mile 3 and continued for every mile. There were almost solid cups and debris along the road at every aid station—sometimes it was a bit sticky from the GU wrappers and Gatorade, not to mention the banana peels at a few miles.
My brush with fame came near the end. As I saw the finish line, I heard the announcer say that the Chilean miner was ½ mile out. Edison Pena had started an hour ahead of me so I must have passed him along Central Park. I heard that he was running with ice packs on his knees. What a story. My time was 4:43 (about 30 minutes slower than TCM). My daughter Amy did a 4:06 for her first marathon and my son-in-law Hallvard a 3:28.
A few comments/encounters along the way: someone in our corral ate a “special” meal the night before and we quickly moved from his downwind side, Sinatra's "New York" playing during the start, “welcome to Brooklyn” from a spectator after we came off the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, almost taking out a lady pedestrian who walked across the street in the middle of the race in Brooklyn, shouts of “go Minnesota” along the route (I was wearing a Minnesota singlet) with one guy adding “South St. Paul baby,” and the many people on the street who offered their congrats afterwards.