Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Rockin New York...A 27 Year Journey

"You don't run New York to get a personal best, you run New                                York to feel like a rock star ."  

Hman "Rockin" NY!

Statue of Liberty from Staten Island Ferry
 Ever since I started running, I always dreamed of running the New York City Marathon. Being a Boilermaker Road Race veteran of over 27 races and at least a dozen other long distance races, it seems like I always had this one dream in the back of my head. That one day, I'd run the NYC Marathon! Life is like that a lot it seems. We have these dreams that we keep close to our chest. Dreams we keep in our head and hearts. They are kinda like a great hand in a game of poker. A good hand that we never play. 

The day began at 3 pm as I arose early to get ready, and then began my subway ride to get to the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall. Around 4:45 I left for the Exchange Place Path Terminal to catch the train to the World Trade Center station, followed by a fifteen minute walk to the ferry terminal. I met up with friend and fellow Utica Road-Runner Gary, at the terminal. We did not wait to long before we cleared the heavy security and boarded our ferry to Ft Wadsworth and the start of the race at 9:40am. Because of the Boston bombing, there was heavy security, there was even a Coast Guard patrol boat alongside the ferry,  and I think I could even see the machine gun on the front manned by a sailor.   It was very inspiring and reassuring to see these brave sailors with a back drop of the Statue of Liberty just outside the window.
at the runners village at Ft Wadsworth, note; police presence on roof

Gary and I pleased to be on Staten Island and almost ready to race

Thd day was only just beginning after arriving on Staten Island around 6:30am. We were  and all bundled up with winds gusting 15-20 mph and temps in the upper 30's, it was chilly!....At this point already felt like I had run a race!
 At Fort Wadsworth, after clearing more security including dogs and being wanded, I "chilled" with Gary. We soaked up hot coffee and bagels as we waited for the race to begin. And it seemed like the blink of an eye, even though it was 3 hours, and we were corralled for the start of the race. Canons boomed the start and we were off and crossing the Verrazano Bridge just as I had seen in so many pictures.
My wifes great photo over 3 rows of spectators and amongst 50,000+ runners
 The race itself was an international parade of runners and spectators too. I saw Mexicans dressed and running in native costumes, Swedes, Germans, Japanese and Russians just to name a few proudly wearing their countries colors. We traversed through communities dominated by people of Italian, Black, Jewish, Hasidic Jews and Spanish areas. At times, you were hard pressed to hear someone speaking English, American English that is. I ran behind a pair of Englishmen and could barely understand a word they were saying to each other. As I ran, I high fived hundreds of children and adults, as I made my way through the five boroughs of New York City. In the New York City Marathon, many runners tape or write their name on the front of their shirt to elicit encouragement from the throngs of New Yorkers who gather to watch this great event. And I must have heard my name called out several hundred times along with encouragement from people I never knew and most likely never will. Total strangers. At one point, I even created a roar of
excitement from the crowd gathered along a strip of Central Park about 2 miles from the finish line as I glided

at about the 26 mile mark(when I needed it the most) Someone yells out; "H-man is in the house!"

 along the throngs of spectators high fiveing, and soaking up all the encouragement I needed to get me to the finish line. After all, how could I let my fans down, by giving up now. My wife made her way with Gary's wife to First Avenue to watch us a we crossed mile 16. And once under way, my wife was literally bombarded on her phone by friends and family who weren't there, but were tracking me on their smart phone app.s, and giving mile by mile tracking reports of my progress in the race. She said afterwards that she got so nervous and excited when my daughter texted; "He's Coming!!!" that she could barely raise the camera to take the picture. They then hurried back to 5th Avenue to catch us as we went by around mile 25.  Afterwards, a hug, some photo ops and a burger and beer with my wife and nephew Randy was in order. Which would end up being much needed sustainance to prepare for the hour or so subway ride and walk back to our hotel in Jersey City. As I prepared to enter the turnstile to pay the subway fare, the guard said; "no charge, you ran the marathon". I beamed a smile of thanks as I was most pleased and renewed. At least for a little while anyway, because on the subway, all I could think about was getting a nice hot shower and some Ibuprofen for my achy legs. The course was windy and quite cold this day, but the crowds and the people of New York forever warmed my heart. This race turned out to be much more than a PR (3 Hours 48 minutes 4 seconds, 10,331 place out of 50,740 runners) or a finishers medal, it turned out to be a reaffirmation of all the good that can happen, when a community claims as it's own, an event like the New York City Marathon, and then pours its heart and soul into it and shares it with the world.


James said...

Just saw the link on DM. Thanks for writing this up. It's so important to register the big (and small) events in our lives, and running the NYC marathon and a PR to boot definitely qualifies as big! But, duh, I'm telling a photographer about the importance of registering things! Anyway, Patrick, hearty congratulations to you! May you have many more special moments!

Patrick Huther said...

Thanks so much James! Your congratulations means a lot,especially as you are a fellow runner who has earned my respect over the last few years. Running defines me as a person and as an artist, so thanks again for the nice comments