The New York Marathon was run after a year’s absence due to Hurricane Sandy. New Yorkers were very happy to have this monumental event in their city again, but they were also apprehensive due to the recent events at the Boston Marathon. Security was anticipated to be tight.
The Marathon encompasses all five boroughs. It begins on Staten Island and runners then cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn. They run northward into Queens crossing into Manhattan at the 59th St Bridge (Queensboro Bridge) and run for miles along 1st Avenue northward into the Bronx. They then turn south and end the 26.2 miles in Central Park. Crowds can watch most of the race from the sidelines, but no one but runners is allowed on any of the bridges.
Our apartment is on 52nd and 1st, so we are located just a few blocks south of the entry into Manhattan at the Queensboro Bridge at mile 16. We watched the wheelchair starts on tv early Sunday morning and then saw both the women and men begin the race. Around 10:00 a.m. we walked up 1st Avenue toward the bridge. Police were out on many corners and traffic was halted at 57th St. Barriers had been placed along the sidewalks close to 59th St. so that no one could enter the racecourse.
We edged into the crowds and had a good view of the runners as they came off the bridge, made a U-turn, and headed downhill into Manhattan. It turned out to be a perfect spot for viewing, as the runners run in total quiet on the bridge, but as soon as they make the turn and head downhill, the crowds are out in full force to greet them. They seem to re-energize seeing all the people cheering them on.
It also was a place for family members and friends to hook up with a particular runner. Many were carrying flags and signs for their runners and edged forward to be at the forefront as their particular runner was about to appear. Runners often left the group to come over and give someone a hug and kiss. It was such a memorable sight!
At first only a single runner would come running by and then a few more. Eventually, after the elite runners had passed, the next groups started by, and the numbers swelled to several at a time. Then came all the rest….it was amazing as the runners came pouring over the bridge, both men and women together, and many smiling and egging on the crowd. And they just kept coming and coming and coming…….we heard that almost 50,000 people ran.
Most of the runners were in tank tops and shorts but many were in entertaining attire. We saw several Supermen, Spidermen, and Wonder Women. Two men ran by us wearing suits and ties and sneakers. We even saw Elvis.
One of the most interesting and amazing was a man who ran with two basketballs and dribbled them the entire time…..we wonder how long it took him to finish. Many carried cameras and took photos or videos of the crowds.
It was an amazing sight with thousands and thousands of people lining the streets and encouraging those in the race. We were so happy to have been a part of this memorable event. The next day it was common to see people about town sporting their bright orange ribbons and gold medals around their necks……each one who ran was victorious!