I did not run the 2009 NYC Marathon, BUT, in honor of my 3 friends who ran it I wanted to do a write up.
A common question I hear in the weeks up to, and during the Marathon was “Baker, are you running this year?”
I wanted to, believe me. As a runner and someone who has run NYC, to be a spectator definitely feels like you missed the bus. But, to be part of the cheering committee, especially when you know people running is great!
There are a few ways to run the NYC Marathon, and I did not get in using any of these tactics.
– Charity. Raise upwards of $2500-$3000 for any given team and you can run. Here’s the catch, if you don’t raise 3K, they take the difference out of your bank account. Last year this was how I got in. I wasn’t a runner at the time and never figured on doing multiple Marathons. In fact, I am quoted as saying at the finish to my friend Ila “I will never do this again!”
– Grandfather clause. Run 15 or more NYC Marathons and you’re in. No comment.
– Qualify. My time would need to be 2:55 in any marathon or 1:23 in a Half, which I just missed by 2 minutes at Grete’s Gallop.
– Lottery. 100,000 entries, roughly 40,000 accepted. Its like the Ivy League of running. I did not get in using this tactic this year.
– Lottery rejections. If you apply and are denied 3 years in a row, you get automatic entry the next year.
– Running! What better way to secure a spot? Run 9+ Road Runner Qualifying Races, volunteer once and you are locked in for the following year. So, with my 13+ races I am in for 2010! I will also run these races next season and ‘snowball’ myself into the marathon every year from here on out. Had I known this last year I might have done it, but remember, I wasn’t a runner at that point.
I went up to Bar Coastal on 78th and 1st around 11AM. Anyone who lives in NYC and hasn’t been a spectator at the world’s greatest spectator event really needs to get in gear. It was my little brother Jeff’s birthday so we had a dual purpose. Actually, our middle brother Phil, and his wife Naomi, had a child the night before. Cayden Charles Baker, so Jeff and I were also celebrating his birth and calling each other Uncles all day!
I would be lying if I didn’t say it was crowded. Any of you who know me well, understand I don’t do well in packed bars, but today is different. Today, you just accept it, mainly because every place you go is teeming with cheering New Yorkers.
Aside from partying, I was up there to cheer on my 3 runners…
Becky is my new roommate and friend. She is a runner and has done a marathon before, just not NY. Her leg has been bothering her, but after a visit to her doctor she said it was a green light for the race. I signed up for athlete tracker (which is cool) but beware, after 10K I didn’t receive any more updates for her and was a bit worried thinking she might have been injured. Jim and Elizabeth’s updates were streaming in fine. At around 4PM I got the message though, Becky had indeed finished strong! She’s a trooper and had to fly out on business that very night!
Elizabeth, or Ms Ritz, I met because we both write about running. Our friends Robert and Antonio (who I run with) introduced us. Her leg had also been bothering her 3 weeks prior to the race. She really wanted to run… anyone who knows a serious runner understands that once a goal is set, its hard to get around it even with doctors orders. I was getting all my updates for Elizabeth and man, she was cookin! 8:30s or less all day long! I owed Elizabeth a high-five as she was cheering me on at the Poland Spring race. I missed her and Becky at my post on 78th street as its so crowded and crazy. Its really hard to find your people. She finished and made her qualifying Boston time! Nice work Elizabeth, hopefully after my Disney marathon I will get a BQ and see you there!
Jim is a member of the notorious “Dad Posse” also consisting of Ed, and Mike. Jim’s main goal was a Sub 4 marathon. Jim is pretty funny in the fact that he is real humble about racing. I mean, the guy has done an Ironman! There is no higher power than an IM. I was at the sidelines with Ed and Annelise, their 3 children Jack, Isabelle, and Ben Skywalker along with Jim’s wife Lisa and their 2 children Elizabeth, Josephine (and Louey!) We were anxiously awaiting Jim’s approach, the kids even had signs made up! Very cute. He cruised up looking pretty good for having run 17 miles, eating some gels his wife had and posing for some PR photo shoots. He bid us farewell after his 60 second stop and continued on.
I left the gang and headed indoors to continue Jeff’s birthday celebration. So many friends came out, it was great. We were maybe 20 deep having a blast when I get an email from Athlete Tracker saying Jim had finished in 3:58 and change. I threw my arm up in a fist pump and screamed, everyone around me wondering what the hell I was doing. I looked around and yelled “Jim ran a Sub 4! Hell Yea!” and still, people looked around at each other, “Who is Jim?”
It didn’t matter, my 2 worlds of racing and recreation were smashed together in a funny juxtaposition.
All 3 of my friends, new friends, who I met this year from running and am proud to call friends, were Beyond Defeat. They all accomplished their goals, and each one of them, as I have said in entry 1 of this blog, got to be King for a Day. Congratulations.