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Wahoo! That is number 3 marathon done! And number 3 New York Marathon at that.
2010's main event was to once again complete the ING New York City Marathon which was held on Sunday 7 November 2010. The ING NYC Marathon is a 42.2 kilometre run through the streets of New York's five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan with the support of over two million enthusiastic spectators. The course travels through dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, passing over five bridges, and finishing up at Tavern on the Green in world-famous Central Park. For more info on the ING New York City Marathon check out the official New York Marathon Website
My training this time was once again extremely varied with tandem cycling, aquajogging, gym work and a scary amount of treadmill hours. Shins were OK, but I was a little aware of their ability to become an issue if I pushed it. Up until a week or so prior to leaving, my build up had gone well. At that stage I managed to get a good spot of food poisoning followed by a flu which totally floored me and I only just got back to feeling slightly human again before we left New Zealand.
I ran in association with Achilles International New Zealand. Achilles supports people with disabilities to Participate in mainstream sporting events with the major focus being the New York City Marathon.
It was great to continue putting myself up as an example that people with disabilities can participate in these events and not let any physical impairment limit what you can achieve in life.
Just amazing! If I thought that having done NY twice before would prepare me for this day then man was I wrong. New Yorkers turned on a simply fantastic festival and celebration of human triumph.
Our New Zealand Achilles team of 13 arrived in NY on the Tuesday night prior to the marathon after 18 hours flying from NZ plus airport stop overs etc. This year our team included 3 blind, 1 deaf, 1 paraplegic, 1 spina bifida and 1 lower leg amputee plus support guides who came from a wide range of New Zealand locations. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel this year so we had a pretty flash pad to call home for the week.
We attended a few Achilles dinners and met some awesome people from all over the world with various disabilities which was pretty cool. We were also invited for morning tea at the New Zealand Consulate which was quite an honour.
On the Saturday i met up with my marathon guides Harris and Drew where we went out for a meal and ran over the rules of conduct for the next day. This basically was "Let's have a blast and enjoy every minute of it" Oh and if you crash me into anything then you will pay. Smile!! It is sort of a "here is a rope, now hold it and run for ever" sort of deal. With the idea of still getting over illness and the shins not great, it was always going to be a complete and enjoy event rather than a chase of a personal best marathon time.
Race Day (Sunday Nov 7 2010) An early start. Getting up at 4:00 am after minimal sleep. Do the breakfast thing, get on the race kit and also extra pre-start discardable clothing.
We left the hotel at 5:00 am with the rest of the NZ Achilles team and walked to meet the bus. Caught the bus around 5:30 and travelled around 45 minutes to the starting area at the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge.
A clear crisp day with the temperature being around 7 degrees C at the start. Just a light breeze and the days high temp was around 15.
We hung out in the assigned Achilles area eating, drinking and trying to stay warm until around 9:00 when we moved into the main field of competitors to start in the first start phase at 9:40. I managed to obtain another two semi-guides (Nick and Sam) who are the husbands to two Kiwi women who were competing in the hand cycle race. They joined us for a good portion of the run before splitting off from us to get to the finish line to meet the girls.
This year the start was once again split into three waves which were 30 minutes apart from each other. When the gun went off for our start at 9:40 we were still trying to get to the road. There was so many people that we had to start in wave 2 which was at 10:10. The first stage was up the two level Verrazano bridge from Staten Island (while trying to miss the piles of discarded clothes that littered the road) and into Brooklyn and the start of the crowds. We ran in a formation with running guide Harris on the rope to my left, tour guide Drew to my right and Nick and Sam (the hand cycle husbands) running behind as blockers.
People, people and more people. The streets were lined multiple people deep with supporters waving, clapping, yelling and shaking, hitting or blowing anything that would make a noise. Bands playing alongside the street every few hundred metres and loudspeakers or stereos playing music everywhere.
We found it a challenge getting through the other runners/walkers, but with the split start, the general traffic wasn't too bad. The road surfaces are pretty shocking with pot-holes everywhere, but I again stayed on my feet without tripping once.
We managed to keep to a good pace most of the time up to the half way mark. Refuelled at the drink stops to top up the fluids and used this time to walk for a few seconds and down a GU pack.
I again cramped up at around the 23 kilometre mark (14 mile). With the illness of the last week or so I had already accepted the fact that a PB was out of the question and that I was out to enjoy this day and no matter what, I would cross that finish line and get that finishers medal. We walked over the double level 59th bridge and up 1st Avenue. The legs slowly started to free up again which allowed me to run for a while at a time before needing to walk out the cramps.
Drew (my extra Achilles guide) managed to arrange for us to meet his folks along 1st avenue, who supplied us with oranges and introduced me to the "Fig Nuton". I must admit that at that stage it tasted pretty amazing.
Covering the final few miles coming through Central park we once again managed to alternate between jogging and walking . Legs were heavy and sore. Surrounded by screaming spectators, you just have to keep going . A simply mind blowing atmosphere! Thousands of fantastic people yelling at the top of their voices to encourage all of the runners to push hard etc. New York, you are amazing beyond words.
When in reach of the finish line we pulled out the last of the reserves and sprinted dramatically up the final few hundred metres of hill to cross the line arms held high. 5 hours, 48 minutes and 10 seconds.
Not a time to rave about, but we still successfully finished. 42 kilometres is difficult to travel on foot whether fast or slow and those dodgy legs and after effects of illness sure made it a struggle.
After getting our medals and goodie bag we walked about an hour back to the hotel. After a shower, it was time for a few beers in our room with some of the team. Oh man, did that first beer taste amazing!
Congratulations from me to all of the other 2010 Achilles NZ team for completing the marathon. Again, a huge thanks from me for helping make this week an outstanding success and a long-lasting memory. You are a great bunch of people and I hope you each got as much out of this event as I did. A special thanks to Martin (our team manager) to doing such a top job.
A huge thanks to my good Friend "Harris" who did such a fantastic job of guiding. Thanks mate. Also a big thanks to Drew (our NY based guide). Awesome work man. You made this an outstanding experience and just so much fun. Keep working on the Kiwi accent though. LOL! Nick and Sam, well done guys. Having us all as a team for the first section of the run was incredible and I hope you got everything out of it that you hoped.
Thanks to all of you who stuck by me during the leed up to this event whether you were on a bike, in the gym, splashing around the pool or just generally giving me crap. It really means a lot so a very big thanks from me.
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