This is a post by my husband John who ran the New York City Marathon (2007):
I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to run two very different marathons this year. I think I ran the smallest marathon (Guam) and the largest marathon (New York City) in the same year. In Guam, only about 100 people started, 46 finished and I was so proud to be in 16th place. There were no spectators along the course except for when I saw Patti and FG as they headed by car to the finish line. I did have my share of boonie dogs attacking me but thankfully didn’t get any dog bites.
By contrast, NYC marathon was huge. Over 38,000 finished the race and I placed an impressive 18,504. From start to finish, the roads through all five boroughs were lined with what seemed like millions of people and bands playing all along the route.
While the Guam run started at 4:00 am, NYC started at 10:10 am but I got up 4 am just to get to the start on time. I had to catch a bus from Grand Central Station at 4:30 am in order to get to the start on Staten Island. I arrived at the start at 6 am and, along with thousands of others, I was doing anything possible to keep warm including stuffing the Wall Street Journal in my shirt which helped fend off the cold. Some smart people brought cheap sleeping bags which they tossed at the start.
The organization of the race was exceptional and the woman who was tasked to do the job deserves a raise. Everything ran like a Swiss watch ~ very precise. When the gun sounded at 10:10 and the elite runners took off, they started moving the mortal runners up to the start line in groups of a thousand, then a pause, then another thousand. With my bib number of just over 25,000, I started 40 minutes after the gun sounded.
The view from the start over Verrazano-Narrows bridge and the fire-boat with sprouting water was fantastic. For the three miles or so, the road was lined with discarded clothes which were being shed by the runners as they warmed up. The girl scouts volunteered to pick up the clothes, wash them and distribute them to the poor.
The entire route was very crowded and it was very difficult to run freely through the course. I remember it wasn’t until mile 17 that I could run at my own pace and not have to dodge people. It was incredible the number of people who carried and used their cell phones ~ there was a mini people-jam at the Queensboro bridge when so many people stopped to make calls. This was the first marathon that I ever saw anyone with a cell phone. Ah, America…
Overall, it was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone on the marathon circuit. Don’t plan on setting personal records but enjoy the crowds and the city.