New record. Old record 18:35 by Andrew Tourney in 2008
A few month ago as Mike, Ed, Jim and I were wrapping up a race in Central Park, Ed suggested that we all come out to Fire Island to run the annual Fire Island 5K. How could I resist a race on the beach? I was allowed to bring someone with me and Marissa accepted my request. Unfortunately, Mike and Jim were unable to make it this time.
Co-incidentally, Marissa’s step-mom and my good friend Colette happened to be going to the island as well, staying a few towns over! She offered to give us a ride with her awesome toddler Grant. He is just over 1 years old and like the cutest kid ever.
After splitting at the separate ferries with Colette, Marissa and I arrived just after 1 on Ocean Bay Park. SIDENOTE: there are no cars on Fire Island, only bikes. Its very cool and very laid back. All the streets are narrow sidewalks with a little sand overlapping.
Ed and his brother Don own and operate The Fire Island Hotel, which is a really cool place for anyone interested in visiting Fire Island. We stayed there for the first night and it was such a pleasure. I liken it to Margarita-ville. Imagine a few small buildings surrounding a pool and a tiki bar (pumping classic rock) flanked by the beach.
Marissa and I immediately hit the beach. At around 4 we decided to grab some food and then take a run on the beach. I convinced her for the first time that a Pina Colada pre-run would not affect her. I was right. We cruised down the beach and later learned that we ran around 5 miles, although it didnt seem that long. Running on the beach at sundown is maybe the greatest thing ever.
We met up with Ed right after and he advised us on some spots to hit for dinner.
I was happy as I got to eat my beach staple… Lobster, corn on the cob, and steamed clams. We hit up Ed’s tiki bar for some drinks and made a few new friends, one of which took Marissa and I down to a place called Schooners. We were out pretty late that night, it was really a fun time. We also walked home on the beach and there was this fantastic full moon!
The next morning we moved over to Ed’s house (which is two doors up) and then hit the beach with he and his family… Annelise, Jack (9), Isabella (7) and Ben (4). We spent the day boogie boarding and making sand castles with them. They are really a great group. Marissa some how managed to conjure up some pina coladas for lunch which was total brownie points. Colette and Grant rolled up on us at like 5PM to say hi as well.
That night we met Colette, Grant, Ed, Jenn, Rick, Amy and Abigail in Ocean Park for dinner at the Mermaid. I juiced up on some Frutti Di Mare and Red Wine.
The following morning The Eschmann’s, Marissa and I geared up for the race. Ed, Annelise, Jack, Ed’s brother Don and I were running. After I did a few interval sprints with Marissa I jumped in place at the front of the pack of 400 or so runners.
As the final countdown was in place a guy asked anyone who thought they could run a 6 or better mile to step forward. I decided NOT to step forward and be stealth. The 4 guys who did step forward were in their 20’s and like 3 feet taller than me. As the gun went off the four of them shot into a V formation with me tailing them at high speed.
The first mile was nice and we were probably cruising at a 6:20 pace. As we took a turn I noticed we had developed a big gap between the other runners at which point I knew we were the lead 4 in the race. Around Mile 2 the 3rd place man dropped back and I was now in his place. We had picked up the pace and were going very fast. So fast in fact that I was a little worried about maintaining my speed.
At Mile 2.5 the number 2 man was slowing so I thought it was a good opportunity to pass him and trail the leader (who was the defending champion from last years race).
As we rounded the final turn coming up to Mile 3 I looked back and realized it was just me and the number 1 man in contention. I was very excited.
As we cruised forward I knew we had a right turn, a quick left and then a 100 yard straight away to the end. lots of things were going through my mind. I was worried that this guy had saved up a little fight for the end, as I sure had. When would I pass him? Could I win this?
After getting some water I found Marissa and gave her a sweaty hug. We were totally excited about the whole thing. We waited for Ed and his family to come through the finish, which was a very cool sight to see I must say! Jack was so excited to be running across the finish with his Dad!
At the after party festival we all met up (The Eschmann’s, Colette, Grant, Ed, Jenn, Amy etc) and we had some beers (Heineken sponsored event).
An hour or so after the race they did the awards ceremony and I got to go up and get a medal and some prizes. It was really awesome. Jack got an award for number 1 in the 12-15 age bracket too, so he got a medal! Not bad- 2 of our crew got awards! Jack and I took a photo together to celebrate our win.
Yes, I am excited. Look how tall my competitors are!
Jack (Ed’s son who won the first place in his age group) and I thought we needed a Team Eschmann-Baker photo! I see a definite running future for Jack, the guy’s fast!
After hanging out for a little while Marissa and I decided to hit the road and make our way back to Manhattan as we were exhausted.
It was a weekend I will not soon forget.