I’m not one for paying for a 5K race – why would you when you have a free weekly 5K in Parkrun, but this race is part of our club championship and although I know I will never win, it does mean that I get an entry into the London Marathon club ballot. With ballot places becoming harder to obtain, I think it is worth giving myself more chances to get to run the great marathon again one day!
5K’s are hard, made harder when your training hasn’t been that consistent. Annoyingly, I seem to be saying this a lot lately. I seem to respect and train for marathons, but have a poor work ethic towards other races!
Date: Wednesday 26th July 2018
Weather: Hot, hot and some more hot!
Course: The race follows the same route as the Bedford Parkrun. It’s funny as it is pretty flat, but the tiny incline it does have seems SO much worse when part of a 5K, and because the race is two and a half laps, you run the tiny incline THREE times!
My Race: I had no idea of what shape I was in. I have been doing a few of my runs on my treadmill, so I wasn’t too sure how this would transfer to outside. I know that I always go off too fast, so I kind of thought that I would try run a low 9:XX minute/mile for the first mile, then try to dip just under 9 for the second mile and then give it everything for the last mile, hoping that to be around the 8:30 pace.
I completed a mile warm up and I felt ok, it was SO hot and I was sweating lots after just the mile. The start of the race was very crowded and lots of people were running past me, which made me feel like I was going slow. I didn’t mind this. I felt very comfortable, and just kept plodding along. I did look at my watch, and it was registering 8:30 pace, so I tried to slow down. As I approached the tiny incline, I worked fairly hard to get it over and done with. I clocked the first mile; 8:38 – Great, just what I didn’t want to do. I still didn’t feel too bad, but I knew I’d set off too fast. I kept pushing and mile 2 was 8:54, I knew at this point that I was definitely heading for a positive split, hehe.
During the final mile, I had people pass me and I just tried to cling on to them. I picked up water and nearly drown myself as I threw the cup of water towards my mouth! My final mile was my slowest at 9:04. I executed my pace plan, but just the wrong way round!!!
It was great being part of an event with so many of my club mates. The support around the course from club supporters also kept you working hard.
Lessons Learned: I NEED a plan. I am good when I have a plan. I need to target a race in the autumn and train for it. I’m not sure what distance or race yet, but I’m going to do some research today. My initial thought is maybe to target a 5K PB???
Local race, well organised with familiar route for me.
Not too expensive
5 k’s don’t take up much time!
Without too much specific time, I was only around 1 minute off my PB.
It has made me more aware of how much hard work I have ahead of me. I need to be stronger, lighter and fitter!
Thanks to Andrew Brayford for the photos 🙂
Does anyone actually enjoy running 5K races? (Ok, Philip I know you do!) My next race is the Wellingborough 5 Mile this Sunday. What does everyone else have coming up? Any suggestions far a target autumn race? Please leave suggestions below.
The event felt bigger this year, and I am sure there were lots more people running and spectating. If you are not familiar with this event, it’s a 24-hour race that starts at noon on Saturday and finishes at noon on Sunday. It’s held at Wasing Park, Reading (and there is one in Leeds) and you can run solo, in pairs, small teams and large teams. The course is just shy of 5 miles and is an undulating trail route.
I was in a large team, and there were 6 of us. The maximum in a team is 8, and I think 3-5 people is classed as a small team. I arrived on the Friday night, but was lucky enough to be part of RunMND, and some of the group had got there at 11 am and secured a good spot for camping. We were camped in the same place as last year, which is to the left of the event village and only about a 5-minute walk to the start line. If you camp in the large field, you can have a 10-15 minute walk to the start.
Arriving on the Friday night allows me to catch up with friends and meet new friends. Our running group is expanding rapidly and there were many new people to meet. Although the reason for us all knowing each other, (we all have known/know someone suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and we all have a passion to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for the horrific disease) it has allowed us to meet the most amazing group of people.
The event organised a kids race and a disco on the Friday night. I went down to support the children’s race, but didn’t stay for the disco, as we had some pizza’s to get through!
I didn’t get the greatest night’s sleep on the Friday, and I really MUST remember ear plugs next year, as someone talking outside my tent woke me up at about 4 am! Honestly, I probably would have woken at this time regardless, but I’m hoping earplugs might allow me a few more hours sleep next year!
They have about 18 showers available, and I used them twice over the weekend, and they are nice. I would have used them again at about 3 am on Sunday morning, but the queue was huge, so instead, I headed to my tent to catch a few hours sleep.
The start of the race is always manic, as everyone comes down to see the start and cheers the runners on. This is when you realise how many people are at the event. I was going 2nd for my team, so after cheering everyone off, I stayed around the race village and then headed into the change over pen.
Live from the start of Endure 24! Maybe Fatboy Slim will come and DJ next year🤩
My training hasn’t really been very good of late, due to being ill and my husband being away with work, so I had no idea of how my laps would go and how many I would do. My only aim was to enjoy the laps and have fun with RunMND.
I ended up doing 4 laps, so just under 20 miles. I ran 3 of the laps, well ran/walked as I didn’t even attempt to run some of the hills. One day, I may attempt Heartbreak Hill, but then again…..
Taking part in a 24-hour running race is tough. You don’t have to have a runner on the course at all times, and my team were very relaxed about how long we took, and how many laps we would all complete. We were not going to win it, so we went to have fun, and between 3 am and 5 am we didn’t have anyone on the course, and it was between these hours that I did get my head down. I could have slept at other times, but I had FOMO! (Fear Of Missing Out – explanation for my mum!!)
Our group had set up a temporary camp along the finishing straight, and we cheered all the runners on. The finish line camp had people there for the whole 24 hours, and even though we cheered our own runners on the loudest, we supported every runner. As you become more and more tired, the cheers become funnier and banter flies – I laughed so much I didn’t want to go and sleep as I didn’t want to miss out!
Sorry Mike, it had to be shared!!
My night lap was with one of my club mates. We walked the loop, took photos and video’s and I loved being able to share the loop with Julie. Considering there were so many runners from RunMND and two teams from my club, I saw very few of them on the course, yet, you never feel alone. The running community is a friendly group, and there were so many solo runners, that I congratulated and wished well on the way around. The course is also challenging so it keeps you focussing all the way to the end.
Last year, I remember saying how it would be great if they had pre-erected tents and they had that option this year. We realised that this wasn’t quite what you want when you are with a big group of people, as you want to be able to camp together. But, the taking down of the tent at the end is something you dread, as by this time you are on the struggle bus with sleep deprivation. I was VERY lucky, as I shared the tent of some other runners, and by the time I got back to camp, Paul had already taken the tent down! Thank you, Paul, I owe you big time! But we did discuss how paying people to come and take your tent down, and neatly pack it away in your car, would definitely be a money maker! hehe
This year, I booked to stay in a hotel in Newbury on the Sunday night, as the drive home has not been pleasant for the last two years. It did mean that I would have to be up super early on Monday morning to get back for work, but I still felt this would be better than the drive home! When my alarm went at 4:30 am on Monday morning I wasn’t so sure! I really need to get a job where I can take a days holiday during term time!
Throughout the weekend Mizuno ran competitions on their twitter feed to win trainers. I tried to enter two of the competitions, but with no luck. You have to remember lots of additional battery chargers for your devices, as logging on to twitter, downloading your laps to strava and taking all the photo’s to share on Instagram certainly zap your battery – yes I know none of these have to happen, but if it’s not on Strava did you really do it???
I managed to purchase two new headbands over the weekend too. After my New York City Marathon headband from Sparkly Soul costing me SO much (thank you import taxes!), I have tried to get my monies worth and wear it ALL the time. But as soon as I looked at the Halo headbands, especially the Endure 24 one, I knew I needed to buy it. They had a deal on for two, so I decided to get the Union Jack one, as one day soon I will do another international marathon!
Recently, I have been blogging less and less and was wondering why I even kept this site. Then I lost the entire site somehow when I was updating a race time. It sent me into panic mode, as I realised that I like looking back over my training. Yes I could keep a diary, but I wouldn’t stick photo’s in, so this is just my form of diary!
At the same time, if I can encourage one person to run, or join an event, especially this one because of my feedback, I know Sthat can only be a good thing! So, if you have any questions about Endure, please post below.
For me, when packing next year (and anyone else needing reminding), things not to forget next year!
Tent – if Julie and Paul are reading this, yes I know!!! hehe, Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow, I try to pack a complete change of clothes for each lap, including underwear (packed in separate carry bags), flip flops, and one set of casual clothes for the end. I mainly changed straight into my next set of running kit after each lap. So far I have only ever used one set of trainers, but take a spare pair, as if it was to rain, wet trainers would not be pleasant. Camping light, head torch, FOOD; I mainly rely on the food outlets at the event, but you still need snacks between laps, I think I lived on Jaffa Cakes! I had my Spibelt, that has bib number tags, it means I don’t have to change my race bib every time I change clothes. Towel and flip flops for the shower. Dry shampoo! Fully charged extra batteries for my phone and Garmin, EARPLUGS for sleeping, deck chair. Mug for Tea – I forgot mine! A funny story, I pulled into Reading Services, thinking I could buy a travel mug there. I took a wrong turning and ended up back on the motorway without even stopping! What a wally!
I know I haven’t added everything to this list, so I will keep editing this post, in hope that next year I will be super organised. Please feel free to add things below to help!
I have run the Brighton Half marathon three times before, and I pretty much signed up for this year’s race immediately that it opened. This year, I was a little bit more organised and booked accommodation early, as in the past I have paid a fortune for hotels last minute! The race had a little bit of a make over, with new sponsors and colours, but it was just as awesome as always!
Weather: It was SO cold, but the sun was shining and that made everything seem SO much better. Even though it was cold, and for the spectators it must have been awful, I learnt from last weekends half marathon, and didn’t layer up too much. I warmed up so much, that my gloves even came off and were stuff down my vest!
Course: The course was slightly different from previous years, the same route, but just in a different order. The course starts on Maderia Drive, next to the sea, and turns right and heads straight out towards the Marina. This does mean that the hill comes earlier in the race. It’s an out and back, and by the time you arrive back at the pier and head in to town, you are around the 5 mile mark. After the loop, you head right for another out and back. This time heading out towards Hove, you turn just after the Hove Lagoon, on to the sea front. At this point, you are 3 miles from the finish, so getting a little tired, and the cold wind blowing into your face was not welcomed! You run along the sea front until about 1.5 miles from the finish, when you head back up on to the road, run past the pier and to the finish line. The support on this course is always very good.
My race: When I originally entered the race, I was determined to train for it and attempt to go sub 2. This didn’t quite happen, but my bib was for the sub 2 pen start. I had planned to move back a pen, but when we arrived it was so congested, myself and my cousin Katie decided to just get in to the Yellow pen, and go to the back. I was concerned about starting too fast, and the fact that last weekend had not been a great run.
We started, and I just ran with my cousin. I did look down at my watch and when the pace was reading 9:xx I was concerned. But I actually felt ok, so thought I’m going to just run on feel, and if it all goes wrong, I’ll deal with it. We ran along chatting, and I felt pretty comfortable, but I was constantly worried that I was going to struggle at the end. The 4 mile marker popped up, when I thought we were only 3 miles in, and I was ready for water when I finally came across a water station just after mile 5.
I had brief patches between mile 5 and 10 when I thought I am going too fast, but I just kept tagging on to Katie. At mile 10, turning on to the sea front and the cold head wind blowing in my face, I was finding it tough. I just kept thinking, put one foot in front of the other, that is it, it’s easy! (It wasn’t)
I thought there was a chance of seeing my husband and daughter around mile 11.5/12, so I concentrated on looking for them. About half a miles from the finish Katie sped up, I thought about trying to stick with her, but it was already hurting, and I have another half marathon this weekend, so let her go. I’m not totally sure I would have been able to stick with her if I had tried, to be honest.
I finished it in 2:04:14. SIXTEEN minutes faster than last week! Happy with that!
Lesson learned: I WILL one day run a sub 2 hour half marathon.
I LOVE running by the sea
This is my 4th time running Brighton half and it never disappoints.
The organisation, support and volunteers were great.
They let all the spectators down to the start and it is so congested. The same happens at the end of the race – as runners are trying to get out, most of the supporters are walking against the runners and it can be hectic
The water stations seemed a little random – 2 miles, 5 miles and then 10 miles.
So, this is the race that was supposed to happen back in December 2017, but the weather decided it had other ideas. Back in December, I wasn’t entered for this race! Well, actually I wasn’t planning to run this race until about Thursday last week!
Last weekend, we had the really sad, devastating news that a member of our RunMND family Dave Solomon had lost his battle with MND. He was one of the nicest men you could ever meet, and his love of life was evident for all to see! Dave’s wife had planned to run this race, and when she said that she still would, I knew then that I wanted to run it too; To support Paula and run it for Dave.
Date: Sunday 18th February 2018
Weather: It was cold, frosty and misty early on in the day, and a few of us running, had decided to keep our jackets on. By mile three, we knew that had been a bad idea, as Dave had sent us the sun, and had I not been layered up and hot, it would have been perfect weather for running.
Course: The course is one loop, which on the odd occasion that I wasn’t struggling and managed to look up, did look lovely. Along the canal’s and through very pretty villages. It is quite undulating, but I think my lack of fitness made this feel harder than it actually was. There is limited supporters on the course, so sections are quiet.
My race: Even though I have Brighton Half and the Big Half in the next two weeks, AND they have been in the diary for a while, I am still not fit, so always knew this was going to hurt! I also did not run AT ALL this week, as family commitments got in the way little, but I also used this as an excuse, as my mojo seems to be MIA!
We started right at the back, and the first mile was congested and fairly slow. I wasn’t too bothered about this as I thought it would probably help me towards the end. My legs felt heavy, my calves were stiff and I knew early on it was going to be a LONG race.
It wasn’t until mile 5 that my legs decided they did know how to run, and I ran a relaxed, fairly pleasant, 5 miles. By the time we got to mile 10, I was ready for the race to be over. There were times that I wanted to stop, but then Dave would pop into my mind, and I knew he would love the be running this race, so I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The little inclines and bridges hurt a lot towards the end, and my right hamstring was sore, which wasn’t helping, but the sun shinning did make it more bearable! There is a nice downhill section just before mile 13 marker, which really helps you wind up for the finish.
It may not have been my best run; actually it was a PW, but I loved running with my RunMND family, and we made sure we had some fun.
So, it’s now time to recap the New York Marathon day, Sunday 5th November 2017! If you haven’t yet my read my lead up to the New York Marathon day, you can here.
I had opted for the Staten Island Ferry transportation and for anyone who has a place next year, I would highly recommend the ferry. A word of warning; the email comes through asking you to opt for your transportation before you even know what time you are starting the race. NYRR know what they are doing, so they only offer you transportation that will ensure that you get to the start on time. I didn’t know this at the time, and had to turn to Twitter to find this out!
I had agreed to walk to meet Elaine on the morning of the marathon, so we could get the subway together. It was one of the BEST decisions I made. I had never met Elaine in person, but the legend that is Neil had set up a WhatsApp group from Instagram, so we had all been chatting in the lead up to the New York Marathon. Having someone to share the build-up with and to navigate the subway was awesome. Completely by chance when we were on the subway we met up with Abbie, who was also part of our WhatsApp group, so the three of us shared the journey to the start together.
So, I have to just say for the ‘city that never sleeps’, trying to get a cup of tea at 5:30 am on my walk down to Elaine, wasn’t so easy! Starbucks doesn’t open until 6 am!!! Luckily for me, the coffee shop was open at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal! So British, but I do love my sweet cup of tea before a run.
Queuing to get on the ferry was packed, but the atmosphere was buzzing and the butterflies were going. I was so excited that I was soon going to pass the Statue of Liberty, and get to the start of the New York City Marathon.
There was a little bit of a wait once we were off the ferry, as there were lots of people and we all had to get on to buses. Once we were on the bus, we had about a 20-minute journey to get to the start of the New York Marathon. Going through security was pretty quick and efficient, which was lucky as I was in desperate need of a wee (maybe TMI!). I was worrying, as race starts are renowned for having huge queues. Well not here. I was amazed by how many toilets there were, and how little the queues were if any at all. I have NEVER been to a race like this, it was amazing!
There were three different coloured starts, but I never actually made it to my coloured pen, as we met up with some of our instafamily and sat chilling soaking up the atmosphere. When the first cannon went off, the whole area erupted with whoops and cheers, excitedly knowing it wouldn’t be too long before we all got to start the New York Marathon.
Through the amazing Run Mummy Run community, I had agreed to meet up with a lady called Rosie, as we were the same corral and start time. We had hoped to run a similar pace too, so 30 minutes prior to the start of our race, I headed to find Rosie. It was pretty easy to find each other, considering we had no idea what each other looked like and there were lots of people around. The start area for the New York Marathon is a huge area, so even with the thousands of people, it never felt too crowded.
The start was so emotive and exciting. The American National Anthem was sung and then as the cannon goes off, they play New York, New York. You can’t but help feel a little giddy and I will now love this song FOREVER.
I started on the lower part of the bridge, which was fine. It was a really misty and drizzly day, so the views were not all that spectacular, but had the weather been clear, we would have been able to see the views of New York City too. The first mile is uphill as you go across the Verazzano Bridge, but the incline wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My only concern was my watch didn’t seem to be registering pace that well and I really didn’t want to get too carried away and run the first mile too quickly.
Three of us running together did mean, that we all kept each other in check and pulled ourselves back when we got too excited. It’s a very quiet start, unlike London, as you don’t really see any spectators until around mile 3 when you run through a housing area. Fourth Avenue is the longest straightest road. Runners were running on both sides of the road, and the central reservation was lined with the NYPD cheering everyone on and some giving high fives. It was such a party atmosphere – the Americans know how to cheer!
I separated from Rosie around mile 5, as she had been unwell prior to the race and wanted to slow down and see her family. I was feeling quite comfortable with the pace, although my legs did feel heavy.
Around mile 10, I heard the shout of ‘Rula’ which was bizarre as I had Ruth written on my top and I had heard this plenty of times, but ‘Rula’ meant it was someone who knew me. I turned to see one of my teammates from my basketball days. Flo, was in NYC for the weekend, and through thousands of people, she had managed to spot me! The buzz I got from seeing someone I knew was special.
There were sections around mile 11 that were very quiet. There were people watching, just not cheering so loudly. I remember going through halfway thinking this is Tower Bridge, as that’s where you would be in London. I was concerned because my legs felt heavy and quads ached from the start, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
I had been warned about the Queensboro bridge, and I thought that it was at mile 16, so I was a little surprised at 15 when it went quiet and the incline just kept on coming! This bridge did feel like forever, and at times on the way up I thought, should I walk, but it just didn’t happen. My legs just kept ticking over. The quiet is eery, as there are no spectators on the bridge, but as you near the end, you can hear the crowd noise and it just hits you as you turn on to First Avenue. The noise, the signs, the support are phenomenal. First Avenue is another long straight road, although this one has the added bonus of including inclines too.
I took my first walk break at 17 miles. I didn’t really want too, but the drinks were being given out in cups and having tried to take on water for the first 17 miles, by literally throwing it at my face, I decided to walk the water station at mile 17, so I could actually take down some water.
Heading into the Bronx was exciting. The signs and chants were hilarious. ‘Welcome to the Bronx, where we only let motherf#*cking badasses in, so come on in,’ said in a deep American accent was particularly amusing. The chant of ‘Last Damn Bridge’, was also highly amusing as we tackled yet another incline. The Bronx seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, I was in Harlem on Fifth Avenue.
My open-top bus tour the previous day had come along this route, so I was well aware that there was another incline to tackle around mile 23 and I was starting to feel tired. I kept running as much as I could, and I knew that the turn into Central Park was not too far ahead, but somehow I found myself walking. I probably walked for 1 minute, and then thought, you’ve worked too damn hard to be walking, so off I went again. The electronic display boards were on show as you turn into Central Park. I kept my eye on them, as I knew friends had sent me some cheer cards. I didn’t manage to see any of them, but it was a nice focus.
I had run in Central Park the previous day, and I knew that it was undulating too, so I decided to just run as fast as I could when I could and walk if I needed too. I knew my speed had increased, but I had 2 miles left and I was on for a PB.
One of the inclines did bring me to a walk again, but the crowd was immense and the cheers and shouts definitely got me going again. I didn’t actually realise that the route took me on the road outside my hotel, and as I approached, I could see my husband. I high-fived him as I went past, and the boost that gave me was much needed. The last turn back into Central Park, had a stage and music blaring out, I just thought this is the final push. The road was lined with all the nation’s flags, and I just kept pushing and pushing.
As I crossed the line, Peter Ciaccia NYRR President, Events and Race organiser of the marathon high-fived me and said well done. I felt kind of star-struck as I follow him on Instagram and I had been watching all the photos and videos in the lead up to the marathon. Now, here he was congratulating ME. The same man who had a few hours earlier congratulated both the Men’s and Women’s winners!
I am naturally an emotional person and had always imagined that when I crossed the finish line of the marathon I would cry. I was so totally shocked when this didn’t happen in London, so I never expected it in NYC. But it happens when you least expect it and I put my head in my hands, desperately trying to fight back the tears.
I got out my phone to distract myself and the messages on there made me well up again. I was exhausted, elated, relieved, and sad that it was all over. I was pretty shocked that I had managed to tick off one of my life goals. My dad popped into my head. Oh, how I wished he had been there, or just still alive for me to tell him all about it! MND sucks!
After finishing, you collect your medal and a heat blanket. Then there is a quiet walk to collect your poncho. It was very quiet, and I desperately looked around for some to talk too, but it just didn’t happen.
When the poncho was collected I put my hood up, and it was so quiet. I was in my own little space, reading all my messages. It never fails to overwhelm me how amazing the running community is. I had so many well wishes on Social Media.
I would have thought that having a hotel so close to the course would be easy to get back too, but there were lots of roadblocks and one way systems in place, with a huge volume of people trying to move around. I left Central Park at 3:16 pm and my hotel was probably less than half a mile, but after all the diversions, I didn’t get back to my hotel until 5:30ish.
That night we headed to a local Irish Bar to eat. So many people were sat there wearing their medal. I had visions of drinking and celebrating, but the reality was, after I had eaten my food and drank my shandy, I was shattered! So we headed back to the hotel!
The next day, I had planned to go to ground zero, but when I woke up I felt an emotional wreck. I watched clips of the race on TV and cried. I read Shalane Flanagan’s post on Instagram and cried. I just could believe that something I had been planning for so long and thought about for even longer was all over.
After tearing up for about the 4th time before 8 am, we decided that ground zero might not be a good choice. One of the benefits of the time difference was that we were always up so early. On Marathon Monday this was a huge bonus.
We headed to the Pavilion in Central Park early, as I knew that it would be busy. In the pavilion, they sell all the finishers gear. The queue was mahoosive when we arrived at 8:50 am, and my husband was already to turn around and go back to the hotel until I noticed that the queue was actually for engraving your medal and not just going into the pavilion! I hadn’t actually made it to the pavilion, so I was excited to find my name on the wall!
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, New Balance know how to make kit and I wanted to purchase it all! I restrained myself and just bought a New York Marathon finishers t-shirt. Obviously, now I’m home, I wish I had bought it all!
We headed to an American diner for breakfast, and that’s where I spotted my name in the NY Times.
Everyone who ran the marathon under 5 hours had their name printed in the New York Times, just another little touch, that makes this marathon so special!
The day after a marathon lots of people rest, not me. I was in New York for such a short amount of time, so I ended up walking 10 miles! But it was all worth it, for this picture!
This adventure was everything that I wanted it to be and more. If you are a runner and you ever have the chance to run a marathon, do it. And if you have the chance to run the New York Marathon, definitely do it!!
When something is so epic, writing a blog post about it, is SO hard. I will never be able to do this race justice! This race report is also written in parts, so I am going to show the different sections, so hopefully the time frame makes sense! If you want to read about my training for the New York Marathon 2017, please click here.
So, I am currently sitting waiting for the arrival of my family and friends, to start the final celebration of my 40th birthday, and oh boy what a birthday it has been!
For many years, when anyone spoke about me approaching my 40th birthday, I always told them that I was going to run the TCS New York Marathon for my birthday. I have never been to New York, and the marathon date is always so close to my actual birthday, it seemed it would be rude not too. What a way to celebrate life beginning at 40, than to visit the city that never sleeps (that isn’t actually true!) and run another one of the World Marathon Majors. Some people, mostly non-runners thought I was made, but it just seemed perfect to me.
As 2017 got closer and closer, I decided I needed to make this dream a plan. On January 1st 2017, I contact 2:09 events, and then had the shock of how much the whole adventure would cost. At this point, I wondered if my NYC dream, would be just that, a dream that never materialised.
When the lottery/draw (ballot) opened for the marathon, I decided to enter it, just in case. I remember saying to my husband that I would leave it to fate. If I got a place, then it was meant to be, if I didn’t, I would have to have a big think as to whether I would go with a tour company. To be honest, I think I had pretty much made up my mind, I was running, it was more how I was going to find the money to afford it!
Then on the 3rd of March, I got the email that said I was in!!!!
When the £300 (ish) was taken out of my bank, I knew there was no going back.
I had decided at Christmas to buy a tin money-box – one that I couldn’t open without a can opener – and then added £1 for every mile that I ran.
I had originally planned to open it just before going to NYC, but then the new pound coin was issued, and I wouldn’t be able to use the old ones after October. So, when I booked my flights in April, I opened the money-box, to put the money towards my flight. Surprisingly, I had managed to save £350 and that was exactly what I needed for the flight! I booked my hotel through booking.com, and not knowing NYC choosing a hotel was difficult. The choice was huge and the range in prices were huge. I ended thinking it’s a birthday treat, so went VERY expensive and stayed at Park Lane, which was directly opposite Central Park.
Lets get on to the weekend and the race. I flew on the Friday morning from London Heathrow Airport, with Delta. Ideally I would have loved to go out a few days earlier, but teaching means you can’t have time off, and when you school are as kind as mine, it all has to be unpaid leave! Lucky to get the time off, but loosing pay makes the trip even more expensive, so I had to do the quickest turn around possible.
We arrived at JFK around mid afternoon, and it was SO warm! We navigated our way to the hotel, the subway was easy to use and it was relatively cheap. By the time we got to the hotel, checked in, it was time to get the United Airlines Parade of Nations. I didn’t know what this was, but I had been chatting to people via Instagram, and they were in it, so I rushed out to see it. Luckily, being in a hotel 2 minutes walk from Central Park, meant we just made it in time.
The atmosphere was crazy and so exciting, and after the parade NYRR put on the most spectacular firework display over Central Park. I had planned to go to the expo on the Friday evening, but by the time the fireworks finished and we got something to eat, we decided to head there Saturday morning.
On the Saturday Morning, I was awake early (time difference joy!) but I was quite glad of this, as it meant I could go for a shake out run in Central Park early, before heading to the expo. Running in Central Park should be on every runners bucket list. There were SO many runners out, the skyline was amazing, and I got so emotional on that run.
I joined with a Japanese man running, and I asked if he was there for the marathon. He said that he was only there for one day, but if he lived in New York, he would run the Central Park every day. There is just something special about the park, I felt like I was running through a film set, and the buzz around the place was indescribable.
My only wish that morning, was that I was with people. I thought about my friends from my run club. I wished I had been able to share that run with them. They would have felt that magic too!
We got the subway over to the expo. Knowing that the Saturday was likely to be crazy busy, we got to the expo at 9am, and there was NO ONE in my line to collect my race number! WOW. It was simple, show my idea, and receive my number and good luck wishes from the guy handing me my number. From there, we had to go pick up our free runners top, and they had the genius idea to have samples to try on, so you knew exactly what size to collect. Nothing worse than having race shirts that are too small or big – I know I have lots!
Ok, warning coming, New Balance are the new kit sponsor for Virgin London Marathon, and they were for TCS New York Marathon too! They know how to produce kit, that you just can’t say no too! I don’t know if this really was the case, or just that I was away and spending money on holiday is different, but I wanted it all! It’ll be interesting to see what the London Marathon kit at the expo will be like.
I obviously didn’t want to do lots of walking for the rest of the day, so we hopped on an open top bus, and toured some of the sights on New York.
I feel like this post is going on and on, so I am going to sign off now, get this one live on the blog, and start on my actual race report!