New York, New York.
The Big Apple. So great they named it twice.
The city that never sleeps. Iconic, Majestic, Mesmerising.
Home of the Skyscraper, the yellow taxi and Lady Liberty. Its bigger, bolder and brasher than you can possibly imagine. It’s like nowhere on earth.
It’s little wonder that it has become host to the worlds largest marathon. With over 50000 runners all treading the same path, beating the same demons, doing the same incredible thing. A true carnival of the human spirit to endure.
Founded in 1970 by Fred Lebrow, just 55 runners embarked upon the course which took them around and around Central Park costing just a dollar to enter. It wasn’t until 1976 and the US bicentenary celebrations that they decided to take the course through all 5 boroughs of the city as a one off parade. Over a million people lined the street that year making it an unforgettable spectacle that the city had to adopt. It’s remained the same ever since.
An unprecedented 6 Roadrunners made the trip over Atlantic to take part. Over 100000 applicants try to secure a place through the ballot. Clare Adams was lucky enough to get her place in this manner. Michael Douglas qualified via the good for age process whilst Judy McCabe, Steve Bennett, Mike Kimber and Claire Harvey bought themselves package trips as part of their big birthday celebrations.
They all arrived a couple of days early so they could explore the city and excitedly collect their numbers.
It was a clear blue sky that greeted them as they lined up in their start corrals in Fort Wandsworth on Staten Island. The course goes straight over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in what can only be described as one of the greatest sporting sights known to man.
Once over the bridge the runners enter the second borough of Brooklyn. Known for its creativity and entrepreneurship this borough is the most populated. Through the neighbourhoods of Bay Bridge, Sunset Park, Williamsburg and Greenpoint they ran, cheered on by some of the 2 million spectators that now line the route. Trying to settle into a steady rythmn and not get swept up in the excitement of the occasion.
Halfway point. And the runners cross the Polanski Bridge into Queens. Despite being the largest borough, the course only takes in 2 and a half miles of it as it soon reaches the Queensboro Bridge. From all the noise of the crowds…… Silence…. over the East River, crossing over the top of Roosevelt Island. It’s a sudden unwelcome eye of the storm. The only sound is the metronomic rythymn of trainers hitting tarmac.
On the other side they emerge into the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the 16 mile mark. 1st Avenue took them north through the Upper East Side before crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into The Bronx, ticking off the final borough.
After only a mile and a half they made the turn for home as they crossed the Madison Avenue Bridge and the 21 mile mark.
Only 5 and a bit to go….
Through Harlem they went. The hurt really creeping in now. At last the sight of Central Park looms before them but they are by no means out of the woods. Just under 4 miles are still left to go.
After a mile on the periphery they entered this iconic park at 23.5 miles. The ups and downs of the park take their toll as they battled their way through the final miles before they finally reached Colombus Circle and the final 385 yards to the finishline outside the famous Tavern in the Green.
Michael Douglas was the first roadrunner home in a fantastic 3 and a quarter hours despite suffering horrific leg cramps from mile 18.
“It wasn’t the race I wanted but there was no way I wasn’t getting this medal! The last 10k was more of a jog, but I was smiling all the way. What an amazing experience!”
Mike Kimber was the next home with a 10 minute Pb despite doing zero training
“This training lark is overrated haha!” he jokes
In all seriousness he had a cracking first half, but his niggling hip slowed him in the second half but he still arrived back in Central Park in under 4 and a half hours.
Claire Harvey was next under the finishing arches as she ran a brilliantly paced race all the way through.
“The crowd was amazing! My face actually hurts from smiling so much!”
Running duo Steve and Judy, ran the whole thing together.
“It was an epic experience and the crowds were unbelievable. To run through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhatten and across all the bridges that connect them was something else” said Steve
“It was great, I ran the marathon with my bestie. Brilliant weather condition, crowds were amazing, loved it!” Said Judy
Clare Adams closed the bidding for the Roadrunners after bravely battling not only a cold but a hip problem from mile 14 which caused her to run for 2 blocks and walk the next one.
“It was too painful in the end, so I decided to just enjoy the views”
It shows great courage to keep battling away when you are in pain. But that’s what all our white warriors did and they all overcame their injuries and their problems to make it across the line. Battered, broken but everyone of them proud.
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” Frank Sinatra – 1977
They made it.
Michael Douglas – 3.16.42
Mike Kimber – 4.26.11
Claire Harvey – 4.47.10
Judy McCabe – 5.12.32
Steve Bennett – 5.12.32
Clare Adams – 6.17.02