I ran the New York City Marathon, November 3, 2002. I had always dreamed of running a big marathon and this is big in every way. There are 33,000 runners, many volunteers, security and officials. The logistics are incredible. There are so many people who want to run this race that it is on a three year lottery to get registered unless you are an elite runner. I had been accepted the year before when I planned to run a marathon on every continent but a change of plans when the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Marathon was canceled I rescheduled my last two races for the Seven Continents and eliminated NYC.
I came to NYC and registered at the Jacob Jarvis Convention Center on Saturday. My family drove to NYC to support me and we went to the theatre on Broadway on Saturday night. A night out wa special.
On the morning of the marathon, runners took shuttle buses to Staten Island where we had to stay warm for several hours until the start of the race. I had on several layers of warm up clothing which was discarded into huge bins for donations to places like the Salvation Army. It was freezing as I sat on the cold ground inside a large tent. The start was on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 11:15 am. But it took longer to start as the thousands of runners both on the top and bottom layers of the bridge were sent off at once. It was about a mile just crossing the first bridge which is so high above the water.
It was an exciting race going through the five boroughs in New York City. There were helicopters, the Goodyear Blimp and more than a million spectators cheering us on during the race. It was grand to run over the famous bridges in NYC and each ethnic section was tremendous. Bands were playing, people cheering and fire departments blocked every main artery and were out to cheer us, too. As I was running down the middle of Manhattan it is the only time I have ever felt that I was looking out instead of in on the great avenues. It was so impressive.
I was happy to cross the bridge to the Bronx because I knew it was a short distance before heading back to Manhattan and Central Park to the finish. I could hear the crowds cheering while on the bridge long before I saw them. Soon after I entered the park I spotted my family. I had been watching for them for quite a few miles then only a couple of miles remained and the finish. After the finish was a long tunnel of volunteers. One handed me a finisher’s medal, another handed me a bottle of water, others were passing out metallic capes to put on to keep us warm, and then there were tables of bananas and fruit. Then I continued to walk to an area with UPS trucks where I picked up my bag with my warm up clothes.
I walked still in the exit area blocked off from the public to sections marked off with color codes. Here I went to the Family Reunion area designated by color and then to the letter of your last name. The numbers are on huge posts starting with z. It was a long walk to get to G. Here I took off my running chip and passed it in and together with my family left that area of Central Park and walked along the streets to our nearby hotel. Once again I had finished an amazing event and I took in the final details. For me the next adventure is just around the corner. Don’t let age stop you, you are as young as you feel.