ING NYC Marathon- Proud, Angry, Content, Hungry
The New York City Marathon is arguably the toughest, hardest race of the year, ending a long season. It starts on Staten Island, and takes you through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, and finishes in Central Park. There are usually strong headwinds for most of the course, which is already challenging with the tall bridges, long climbs, deadly turns, and pot-hole infested roads. So why do I do it you may ask? Because it is a challenge. The first time I entered 4 years ago, I was aiming for top ten, but ended up crashing twice and finishing 16th I believe. That was the year Kurt Fearnley won in course record time of 1:29 which was mind boggling to me… oh, and he crashed once too. How was it possible for anyone to achieve a time like that, on this course, by himself. It just seemed impossible.
To bring you up to speed, Kurt has won every NYC Marathon since, demolishing the field. With the marathon starting on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the field gets broken up immediately on the long tough climb. Kurt usually disappears right away. Every year I slowly progressed, with my best finish of 10th last year… I was not too far behind Kurt going up the bridge and sat in third a few times in the first 10kms before I completely died and was overtaken.
This year I wanted to have a good NYC marathon finally. I trained longer and harder than I ever had in the past for this race. It ended up being dry with just enough of a wind to make it challenging. Off the gun I was second and was right behind Kurt for the first part of the bridge.. he slowly pulled away, but I kept chasing hard. Krige Schabort caught up and took over for the last part of the climb, and we made a quick agreement at the top to work together and catch Kurt. The impossible things that Kurt did on his own became more possible, as the broad shouldered yellow dot became closer and closer. By the 5km mark we had caught him. We took our turns pulling, but I was a bit full of lactic from the chase. Around 10k in Kurt made a bit of a surge and I couldn’t hold on. I chased them on my own for the next 10kms of the marathon to about the halfway point, when I saw the next pack approaching from behind. I worked with 2 of the three guys in that pack to the finish, but finished 6th, 2 seconds from third. I was so angry because the rest of the marathon felt so easy and I wish I had of made a few different decisions in the second half. I had it in me to place third, felt I had lots of energy left. Looking back, after Krige and I caught Kurt, I just needed another kilometer to recover and I would have been fine. Krige challenged Kurt right to the end, ending the marathon in the most exciting photo finish in years, with Kurt coming out victorious. I know I can do what I thought was impossible for this marathon. But it has left me hungry for next year. If I was that close to a third place in the most competitive marathon field since Beijing, I can’t wait to show what I know I can do next year.
Once again, Bob Laufer, Kathy Hirsch and all of the other organizers did an absolutely wonderful job, making for an absolutely memorable trip to the big apple again. It always makes me want to come back for more.