New York, New York

Applications opened yesterday for the 2011 ING NY Marathon.

If you want to see a well-managed race with spectators cheering from every nook and cranny of the course, you need to apply. There will be approx. 45, 000 others on the course with you, but from the back of the pack, it’s not shoulder-to-shoulder as it appears in the photos.

Five bridges to cross, stepping into all five boroughs of New York City. The most notable bridge is the first, the Verrezano bridge, with a slight incline and 1.5 miles from end to end. It takes you from Staten Island to Brooklyn.

You’re done half of the race by the time you leave Brooklyn, then walk a few miles in Queens, and enter Manhattan for the first time across the Queensboro bridge (59th street). The walk up First Avenue to the end of Manhattan seems longer than the four miles it really was, but between the crowd cheering, and the gels they gave out at mile 17, you find strength to go over another bridge to the Bronx for one mile.

Bronx was much better than I imagined, and the mile in the Bronx went by quickly. I’d forgotten there was a wall at mile 20 in the Bronx until someone’s sign reminded me that we were ‘through the wall’.

Across another bridge and I could feel slight excitement in my body as we headed back into Manhattan.. From the enthusiastic spectators in Harlem, the crowds kept growing as we headed down 5th Avenue to the last few miles in Central Park. Before you know it, we exit the park for what feels like a victory lap, with throngs of cheering spectators for the last 1.2 miles along Central Park South and back into the park to the finish line.

Just when you feel you’ve walked enough, unfortunately you have to walk another 10 blocks past the UPS trucks with checked bags to get out of the park! It gave me time to put a few layers of clothing back on as the air was cooler, and the sun was setting. It was dark by the time I exited the park. It would have been nice to have somewhere to stop and stretch at the end, but walking slowly was a nice relief as well.

A lovely well supported race. I would strongly recommend that you apply for it now as it may take you 4 years to get in!

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