We're going to New York...again.
My first trip ever to New York City was a few short months ago. I loved it. I knew I would but I didn't know I would love it that much.
Happily - we get to go back - in November.
November 2nd to the 5th to be exact.
And it's all because of my marathon man.
This picture was taken last November at the Hamilton marathon. Doug had set his sights on the NYC marathon for 2012 but didn't want to have to enter the lottery to get in. The only other option was to get a qualifying time which, for those of you who don't know, is actually a stricter time than the one required for Boston. To go to Boston, Doug needed to run a 4:00:00 marathon. To get a guaranteed entry into NYC, he had to run a 3:45:00. Last April, he ran a 3:47:00 in Boston so he needed to shave a few minutes off that time.
He decided the tackle the Hamilton marathon and, by the time he crossed the finish line, he had shaved more than a few minutes - clocking in at 3:38:00. The picture was taken about 50 metres from the finish. If only we could all look so strong at the end of a race eh?
A few weeks ago he sent in his request to the New York Road Runners. Last week, once they had verified his time, he received an email telling him that he was accepted into the NYC marathon. No waiting, no lottery and no mad rush to book accommodations in April when the winners of the lottery are announced. In fact, we've already secured our hotel which is a huge relief when I think of the thousands of people who will be descending on the Big Apple that weekend.
Did you know that over 100,000 runners apply to run NYC every year? And just under 40,000 get in.
Check out this promotional video if you want to get a sense of the size and scale of this event.
The marathon is pretty historic and the route takes runners through all five boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan). The race starts on Staten Island, at the toll booths of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Runners are divided into three waves based on previous race times or their predicted finish time. One wave runs on the lower level of the bridge, the other two run along the top.
The best of the best have run this race. Grete Waitz, a Norwegian marathoner, famously won the race nine times between 1978 and 1988. Plenty of famous people have run it too. Ed Norton, Anthony Edwards (Dr. Green from ER), Alanis Morissette, Katie Holmes, Lance Armstrong and Mark Messier have all crossed the finish line in Central Park.
Oprah did not, according to my research, run NYC (I thought she had). She ran the Marine Corps marathon in 4:29:00 which has since become the unofficial time to beat for countless marathon runners. Apparently "I just want to beat Oprah" is a fairly common phrase at start lines.
I'll be there on November 4th. Watching the elite runners sail across the finish line and doing my share of celebrity spotting. But there is only one runner I'll be scanning the crowds for and I can spot his gazelle-like gait even in a crowd of 40,000.
Hopefully this time I can refrain from screaming like a madwoman long enough to take his picture.