Brooklyn Runner

Brooklyn Half
June 2, 2009, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Racing | Tags:

Oops – congrats to all you finishers and participants in the Brooklyn Half marathon on Saturday! Brooklyn Running blog has a nice roundup of stories about the race here. Look up official results here.

Turkey Trot, 2008
November 25, 2008, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Racing, Seasons | Tags: ,

I would be remiss if I did not at least give a shout out for the very fabulous annual Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, hosted by Brooklyn’s own Prospect Park Track Club. The 5 mile race starts at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, this Thursday November 27. Registration the morning of is usually bearable, or go here for registration and more info.

Also, a discussion on who’s running a Turkey Trot landed in my inbox via Runner’s World this morning. Check it out here to see the discussion and add your thoughts. At the very least, running a race the morning of Thanksgiving will make for some good discussion around the dinner table, especially among the non-runners in the family.

Philly on my mind
July 22, 2008, 10:35 am
Filed under: Marathoning, Racing | Tags:

I keep thinking about Philadelphia (not the city, the marathon), where I ran my first marathon five years ago…

Today I remember being so excited and nervous and ready to go on race day morning that, in spite of having thoroughly prepared every other aspect of what I would need that day, I forgot to attach my chip to my shoe before leaving for the race. Not only did I forget to attach the chip, but I completely left it at home!

My parents had spent the night so they could see me in my first marathon, and I was beside myself with anticipation. So there I was, with my bib pinned on, fueled and hydrated, lined up at the starting point, when I looked down and saw everyone’s shoes. By then my parents had left me to go get a good vantage point just past the start of the race, and I went into a full panic. Literally just a minute or two left before the gun, and I bolted out of the lineup, over to an info tent, and seem to recall just sort of waving frantically, saying, “Someone help me!”

Somehow in my near hysteria I managed to explain that I had forgotten my chip and I was very quickly swept into the able hands of a race volunteer, an older woman with a stack of bibs and chips and a kindly, no-nonsense face. “Help me!” I repeated, as she grabbed my bib and started yanking off the pins. “I’m trying to!” she said back. She deftly replaced my bib and attached a chip to my shoe — apparently in my state my own hands weren’t quite helpful in this process — when just then I heard the starting gun go off. I think I squealed or something, and she said something, “Don’t worry, you’re good to go.”

Indeed I was. I sprinted back over to the starting line and managed to get over the mats still in my pacing group. When my parents spotted me coming through the start, they scarcely noticed anything was amiss. It took a couple miles for my jittery nerves to calm down, but they did.

A few days after the marathon I wrote a letter to the race organizers acknowledging this volunteer and the help I received. Who knows what ever happened to that letter, but to that one volunteer, I will always be grateful. I hope some day I can be the same kind of help to someone on race day.

What a Disappointment
May 12, 2008, 11:10 am
Filed under: Marathoning, Racing, Running Routes | Tags: ,

I was dismayed to realize in the last few weeks that the Philadelphia Marathon — where I ran my first marathon in 2004 — has added a half marathon to race day.

I’m not knocking Philly for adding a half. But I’m so very not in favor of the way they did it. The half marathoners line up right alongside those running the full marathon. They go off with the same gun. They benefit from the same crowds, same support stations as the marathoners, but they only run half the course — essentially getting all the glory but without having to work as hard.

This seems extremely unfair to me. I get it that the half marathon is a good race for a lot of people, but it’s not fair to have the half run on exactly the same course at exactly the same time as the full marathon. The marathon is a special race, and adding the half in this way does a disservice to a distance that should be respected and honored. If the race organizers wanted to give people a chance to participate in marathon day, they could have set the half marathon an hour or two later, and put the finish at a different point.

And it’s worth noting that typically the field for the half marathon in Philly is about twice as large as the full marathon field. The year I ran it, the half marathon (then called the Philadelphia Distance Run, and held in September) was about 12,000 runners while the full marathon (in late November) was about 5,000. This also made the half marathon work well with the fall training schedules of people all over the Northeast. Can you imagine running in a marathon and at mile 13.1 — your halfway mark — more than two thirds of the field drops out because they are finished? Hearing them get cheered on to their finish while you still have — yikes — 13.1 more miles to go? It seems so wrong.

I had a great experience in Philly in 2004. I was living in that city at the time and did my long training runs up and down the Schuylkill (pronounced skoo-kul) River, which takes you past famed boathouse row and its teams of skullers. That strip and many others that I used to run are part of the marathon course, which made it extra special for me, to be able to run my first marathon on home turf. I loved it. The crowds were great, the weather was perfect, the finish in front of the “Rocky Balboa” steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum was the perfect way to end a marathon. It’s a race I’ll never forget.

I used to rave about this race, encouraging all my friends to do the marathon there as well. Not anymore! How sad … Why the change in 2006? Philly was a treasure among the huge fall marathons in New York, Chicago and DC, all of which are much harder to get into. It’s really too bad.

Prospect Park Speed Series
May 7, 2008, 10:31 am
Filed under: Racing | Tags: , ,

The annual Prospect Park “Speed Series” — a 5K race every other Wednesday night — is about to kick off. This low key event, organized by Prospect Park Track Club, is a fun way to race a 5K every two weeks over the summer and track your progress over time. The field is small enough that you can potentially medal in your age group, and everyone gets cheered on royally coming through the finish. There’s no t-shirt or chips, but official times are taken and posted, and it’s only $5.

There’s more information at the PPTC website here.

Brooklyn Half
May 5, 2008, 9:55 am
Filed under: Racing, training

I should have trained more for this race! But it was still fun to be there and make it across the finish line. A cool headwind, mostly flat course, and nice finish in the park made it a fun race to do. Search results on NYRRC site here.

Turkey Trot Results
November 25, 2007, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Racing

Results for the 2007 Turkey Trot in Prospect Park are now up here.