As the sun sets on Sunday November 6th 2016 in Adelaide, we know a few of our friends and patients from East Adelaide Podiatry are just getting organised to catch the bus, subway and ferry across to Staten Island in New York in preparation to run the Marathon.
Wishing them the best of luck full of excitement, achievement, adventure and memories. Everyone I know who has ever run the New York Marathon remembers it so clearly and will recount almost every detail when asked about their experience.
At the front of my running medals sits my 2 medals from the New York Marathon in 2012, and I treasure them both. I consider myself very fortunate to have experienced the most unique New York marathon one can imagine.
Having never been a 'real' runner, the idea of being able to run a marathon seemed extraordinary to me, but somewhere along the path from training for the random City to Bay, up to a Half Marathon, the dream of one day running a marathon entered my thoughts, I really only thought I'd ever have one marathon in me so I might as well aim high and train for the New York Marathon. It was over a 5 year time frame that I went from being able to struggle to run 100m to preparing for 42.2km. To coincide with my 40th birthday, I planned the trip with my 3 children, my parents, sister and brother and their partners and nieces and nephews.
A week before we were due to fly out from Adelaide to New York, the devastating Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of Northern America, and we watched with horror on our television screens the impact it had. We didn't know how this would effect our trip, and on leaving Adelaide we knew that JFK airport where we were meant to fly into was still closed. We made it there, but questions about whether or not the marathon would still be run were being raised. Staten Island the starting point for the marathon was one of the most devastated areas, there was still no power, and there were still missing people unaccounted for, obviously it was so disrespectful to locals to see bottled water and food assigned to marathon runners, when locals had lost everything to the hurricane.
I was at the marathon expo on the Friday night when news came over the loud speakers that the marathon was to be cancelled. 60,000 runners from all over the world were in New York for the marathon, and the diverse reactions of devastation, crying uncontrollably to anger and calm acceptance. Human beings are certainly an interesting bunch.
There was no press release from New York Road Runners, to guide if there was to be an alternative event staged or not, and there were whispers that locals may not support such a gathering given the circumstances.
Amidst the raft of emotions I felt in regard to my own dream of running the New York marathon, I felt a great sense of pride, in how the preparation for this event had changed my life, and how fortunate I felt to have the health and physical ability to run that distance, and how lucky I was to have a family that supported me and assisted me to travel that far to fulfil a dream. I decided to head out to Central Park on the Sunday morning, and run the 42.2km, and do what I said I was going to do. To our surprise there were thousands out there with the same idea. A loop of Central Park is approx, 10km so to get the distance it would involve 4 loops. I started bouyed and excited by the atmosphere, there was no start line or finish line, there was no co-ordination, some runners going clockwise, some anticlockwise, and some cyclists aggressively pushing there way in between. There were no aid stations, or refreshments, but what was amazing that over the 4 hours I was out there was watching locals come down to the park and bring water to give to runners. The autumn weather was gorgeous that day, the sun was shining, there was no wind, and the autumn colours of Central Park were stunning. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the collective tenacity of the runners that were there, and the gracious welcome of local New Yorkers to support them. I may not have got the New York Marathon I planned for, but I got an experience so wonderful,I will cherish it always.
Looking forward to seeing all the photos and hearing the stories from New York Marathon 2016 when I check in tomorrow morning.