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Marathon Majors part 2 – New York – Alison Jones tells her Big Apple story

New York Marathon November 2014

Following Berlin, I went off to the Big Apple, as many of you have already run this marathon and probably reported on it, I will just give a brief overview from my experience.

This was only about 5 weeks after Berlin, so I was really keen to shake off my bad experience and get back on track, oh how naïve was I. What is it with these marathons that they have to get you up in the middle of the night, especially for New York…

NYC Marathon logo

A bus trip to the start, well I say a trip, it was like the M3 at the moment, stop start, but we finally made it, then through security getting closer to my start time of 10.30hrs. I still had 3 hours to kill, mind you it would take me that amount of time to remove the layers of clothes I had on, and I was still frozen.  This is the first time I have seen people wearing dressing gowns at the start of a marathon, I thought they had gotten up late, but it would seem this is common practice in the USA.

Although there was Coffee on offer, I resisted since my experience in Berlin was still fresh in my memory.

As we congregated in our designated pre-start areas it was blowing a gale, so I decided to keep my hat, jacket and gloves on until we started running, which I doubted I could do since I was so cold, I met a girl in the pen who was giving our hand warmers since she would be tossing them anyway, I could have kissed her; don’t worry I didn’t!

NYC Marathon

Up onto the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and if I thought it was cold and windy in the pen, I thought the world was ending when I got onto the bridge!  So cue Frank Sinatra and off we went, in my case literally, as I ran across the open space of the bridge I felt my feet lifting off and I thought here we go into the Hudson, but a guy running behind me grabbed me by the shoulder and pushed me back to terra firma. Anything after that would be a bonus.

Although New York is billed as running through the 5 boroughs, the first half is in Brooklyn, and the crowds really get excited and are very vocal. When we finally made it into Manhattan, I knew we were nearly home and that Central Park was just at the top of 1st Avenue, she says, a never ending avenue if ever there was one, and you are not quite done when you get to Central Park, you are obviously enjoying it so much they keep you going for a bit longer. I was glad to see the finish in a time of 4.16.55 not my best experience, but we are all human, I was learning fast.

When I watched the race back later, I saw that the elites were running in hats, gloves and arm warmers, and that the wind was a head wind of 60mph, all of that made me feel a bit better.

The long walk back to the hotel was interesting, I felt like batman in the cloak they had wrapped me in and people were crossing the street to tell me how awesome I was, it made me feel pretty special, but not special enough to wear my medal out to dinner that evening as most of the diners did.

Although unrelated to this visit to NYC I must just tell you a funny story from my previous visit to New York in August 2013, with my daughter. I went for a run around Central Park, which is 6 miles round the circumference, and I wanted to try and run about 12 miles, so round I go twice and I thought I would finish off near the park entrance, but as I ran past a particular part of the park I spied a film crew and a group of “gorgeous young people” it was a really hot day, so having just run 12 miles I was probably not looking my best, but decided to be nosy anyway and ask what they were filming, so I stopped and asked, in case it was a film in which case I would look out for it in the future, but no it was not a film I was told it was an “ info-mercial” for the New York Marathon that year, I looked at these “beautiful people” and asked the guy if he had ever seen the end of a marathon close up, to which he replied no, he asked why I was laughing and I said no-one looks like that when they finish running 26 miles, they look like me! Needless to say he did not ask me to star in his commercial, probably just as well!

nyc-marathon medal

Even though my time in New York was a bit disappointing since I had been running nearer to 4 hours previously this was a tough marathon and I realised that I was managing to keep my pace steady, and finish strong, rather than in a heap, although I had not changed the way I trained but had added Strength and Conditioning which I still continue with twice a week.

For anyone interested, I go to a boot camp run by Cornerstone Sports performance and development and have done for the past 4 years, along with my running I feel this has made my running much better and I feel so much stronger and in control when I run marathons, if anyone would like more information, please feel free to contact me via Facebook.

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