8:30 A.M. Achilles Club early start, crowd of maybe 100-150. Every Achilles participant has an official escort; Bill Kopetz accompanies me. Recent prosthetic problems hindered me from any substantial decent training. I deliberately set out slowly, determined only to finish. Chilly enough for long sleeves, gloves, but temps felt perfect once I got moving. Over V-N bridge into Brooklyn traffic, seven miles straight stretch, some spectators already, more as we turn right.
Caroline Baldo (right) took over for Bill at the Pulaski Bridge
59th Street Bridge into Manhattan: eerily quiet except for the steady muffled clomp clomp clomp on the carpet covering the metal grid walkway. Crowd noise becomes dimly audible as we near the end of the bridge. The sound gradually crescendoes as we approach the 270° left turn off the bridge. As we spill out onto 5th Avenue, the cheers roar on non-stop. We find literally miles of spectators, especially right here, almost sure to evoke an adrenalin surge—whoohooo! In all seriousness, for marathon concerns, I consider this a peak experience.
Constant encouragement from other racers easily overrides my slight muscle tightness. Over the bridge into the Bronx, quads complaining but I'm OK. Through Harlem with music and cheers. Finally Central Park, rolling hills, some foliage still beautiful. Fatigued, sore, but still pumped. Crossing the line I get my finisher's medal, space blanket, luggage pickup—all executed seamlessly. At the reunion area, thanks and goodbyes to Bill and Caroline.
I loved this, but I would like to experience that initial crossing of the V–N Bridge with some 28,000+ people. Maybe I'll come back.
Some of the 30,000 people ready to rumble
I started my chrono with the starting gun and the official clock. I noted 1:03 as I crossed the starting line. Feel that V-N bridge shake as 30,000 people cross!
Light drizzle embellished temps in the high 60's. Keeping up a good racewalk pace, I felt stump discomfort by miles 3–4. Caught the Rhino in Queens. Excellent spectator turnout.
Firefighters in the Bronx (above) keep up the cheers. I actually felt stronger through here—perhaps the orange slices and/or PowerBar kicking in? I cross back into Harlem (below) to hear Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now booming from the speakers. Gotta high-five the kids.
I didn't know about German Silva's win until I saw it on the video highlights at Roseland's post-race party that night. I literally couldn't believe what I saw. Silva, running steady with his training partner Benjamin Paredes in the final mile or so, made a wrong turn into Central Park. He ran maybe 15–20 yards before realizing his error and turned around. He had to backtrack over all this distance and still caught and passed Paredes for the win. For marathon history, this has to rank as one of the most phenomenal finishes ever. And I was there! (So I had yet to reach the halfway point when this happened. Still—)