The UES, or Upper East Side, is a tunnel of energy. As a runner you will be pumping some serious adrenaline when you come off the Queensboro Bridge and that adrenaline will continue to fill your veins as you run up 1st Avenue through miles 17, 18 and 19. The crowds of the Upper East Side are three or four deep. I had the pleasure of watching a couple of friends run NYC in 2010. I watched on the UES from 1st and 5th Avenues and got a new appreciation for spectators. I even began to appreciate what my parents go your through to watch me run.
My parents have war stories of watching me run up First Avenue. They usually arrive at 1st Avenue, in the 70’s around mile 17, hours before the race even starts to secure their front row spot. Each year I have run my parents have these dramatic stories of how they had to fight to keep their front row spot. They claim that people elbow their way in or launch huge signs that block their view. And my parents, being the New Yorkers they are, fight back. Prior to 2010 I thought they were crazy. Marathons are friendly, why would spectators get all competitive? After watching my friends run by on 1st Avenue, I totally get it. This Manhattan crowd is serious! I am a bit ashamed but I did exchange some not so nice words with another spectator who pushed their way up to a front row spot and blocked my view. The NYC spectators are very loyal to their runners, which is great for runners, but definitely adds an intensity to the crowds. I have to say, being a spectator in a marathon is HARD, I would much rather run the 26.2!
Anyway, the spectators are awesome but I used to live on the Upper East Side so I get to run through my old neighborhood. Some things are exactly the same and some are completely different. For instance, my favorite bar is now a deli. When I lived on the UES, I rarely ever ran. Seriously, running for me probably consisted of a little hustle when the stop hand came up on the walk/don’t walk sign as the light turned green and I was staring at 10 yellow taxis that appeared to be gunning for me. Running right down the middle of 1st Avenue is only an option when you run the marathon. So even though I am running through my old neighborhood, the perspective is totally different. There are no yellow taxis and I can run right through the red lights!
Training…I ran a 30k this weekend and was reminded of how precious life is. Around mile 11, a runner was down and he was receiving CPR. I don’t know the outcome but I am hoping it turned out for the best. You never think you are going out for a run only to wind up in an ambulance. It definitely makes you stop and think.
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