Saturday, October 31, 2009

The New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is tomorrow and it's a very big deal. In part, because it's New York and it's 26 plus miles of grueling running, but also because parts of every borough are included in the race course. For those of us who live or work on Staten Island, we are proud of the fact that it begins here and covers a tiny fraction of the total distance before crossing over into Brooklyn via the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. For those of us who live on the Upper West Side, we are proud of the fact that it ends in our neighborhood on the edge of Central Park. I am, as a result, doubly proud!

But I'm also worried, for, you see, this being the New York City Marathon that includes parts of every borough, it is also an event that brings delay, congestion, and untold chaos to every section of the city. And there is no way to get around all of this craziness, so you must resign yourself to doing nothing during the time the race is run, unless you are a contestant. You might think spectators would also be spared, but no, they, too, must push and scrape to achieve any kind of reasonable perspective on the race.

So what I will be doing during the New York City Marathon? Occasionally wondering how contestants I know are faring, but mostly catching up on my reading and listening appreciatively to a Beethoven string quartet or one of those wonderful Schubert piano impromptus. And then, at just the right moment, about 2 hours and nine minutes after the race begins, I will take the two block stroll over to Central Park and just listen for the sounds of the large crowd that is gathered there cheering on the newest champion of the New York City Marathon.

1 comment:

  1. You should be proud. Completing a marathon is big deal and everyone associated, even those who simply notice and appreciate the feat (feet?) deserve some measure of credit.

    You mention 2h 9min and that makes me think of Bill Rogers, a preeminent distance runner of the late 70's and early 80's. Rogers won the NYM 4 times, 76-79 with times ranging from 2:10:10 to 2:12:12. He made a comment once in response to praise for his speed. He said that he was pleased with his time but really admired the runners who finished beyond 4, 5, even 6 hours. "I could never run that long", he said, or words to that effect. There's more than one way to win in a marathon....