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!
So, to be continued…..