First up, first week of BK Half training:
See how it’s not even close to what I had planned? When NYC is in this weird in-between bipolar weather stage, I rearrange based on when the weather gods choose to bless us with sunshine. Wednesday was 60 degrees so I elected to run the 8.5 miles home from work and call that my long run for the week, Saturday it poured all day, yadda yadda yadda. Still a successful first week of “training.”
The back-of-the-pack runners: NYC Half-Marathon spectating
The NYC Half-Marathon is one of my all-time favorite races in New York (Recaps: 2010, 2011- the year Seth ran, 2012, 2014- the year Brian ran). I didn’t put my name in to run this year because I wanted to be able to take a break after completing the Dopey Challenge. Given the winter we had, I am so glad that I wasn’t stuck to a training schedule the past few weeks.
That being said, there was no way I was missing this race. A friend of mine from high school (hey Nico!) as well as my all-time favorite RB (and, let’s be honest here, one of my all-time favorite people), Jess, was running so I made sure she knew exactly where I’d be standing in Central Park. It also helped that I had an obnoxiously large, bright orange poster.
NYC Half Marathon sign
After Jess passed me and I ran alongside her for a few seconds yelling how awesome she is and how much I love her, I went back to my spot with my obnoxious orange sign and stood there cheering until the very last runner went by.
It was cold. I was shaking. My fingers were going numb even with gloves on. But I stayed… and it was worth every cold minute.
As I stood in that same spot for close to 2 hours, spectators came and went. They stayed and cheered until their runner came by and then off they went. Maybe they were rushing to meet their runner in another spot, maybe they just didn’t want to stand in the cold and cheer for strangers, I don’t know. But what I do know is this, I was the only spectator cheering for those last runners at that spot in Central Park.
I got so many thank you’s and smiles, runners stopped to take pictures with me (okay fine, to take pictures of my poster), and I even received a few hugs from those back-of-the-pack runners. These runners in the back? They’re not surrounded by thousands of other runners. I know for me, when I get to Times Square during the NYC Half, the crowds are 12+ deep… would those crowds still be there for these runners? I sure hoped so. But what if they weren’t?
We all love to cheer for the elites (I got there to scream for Meb because HEY MEB YOU ARE MY HERO AND I LOVE YOU AND LETS BE BEST FRIENDS!) and cheering for the middle runners is probably the most exciting (it’s when the crowds are deepest and the energy is at its’ highest)… but what about those back-of-the-packers? They’re out there the longest and damn if they don’t deserve to be told that they look good too.
So for as many “thank you’s” I got yesterday from those runners in the back, I send you all a double thank you for letting me give back to my favorite community by just standing there with a smile.
If you were out there running yesterday morning, a huge congrats. I hope you saw me standing on the sideline and I hope you had fun running one of the greatest races in the world.
My challenge to you: Go cheer for a race and stay until the very last runner passes you. It’ll make you feel all the feels, I promise.
Also, if you happen to see me and my poster in someone’s photo on Instagram, please let me know!