In Boston Marathon in 2103, 2 bombs went off in the finishing area, killing 3 and wounding hundreds. I had never considered marathons as possible terrorist targets, so it was with a bit skepticism I accepted a charity spot to the New York Marathon in the fall the same year. Could it happen again…?
Well, to put it like this. The security measures taken before, during and after the race could not have been better. Body search, police helicopters constantly hoovering above us, plenty of armed guards in the starting area and along the course and a tightly closed off finishing area (it took me like 1 hour to get out of there afterwards..). Even with all the security the organizers, and the good people of New York managed to give us an event for a life time. What a crowd and what a support along the way!
New York Marathon starts at Staten Island, ends up in Central Part and passes through all the boroughs of New York along the way (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan); all the places you are familiar with through watching TV, but which some you maybe would not have visited if ever in New York. In other words, very exiting.
Pre-Race Expo – Excitement (and tiger balm) in the Air
Race Day – Shivering Cold
Included in my charity spot was a bus to the starting area about 04:30 in the morning. I did not feel particularly tough jumping over poor homeless people sleeping by the entrance to my hotel in the morning or when I passed several fairly large rats while wandering alone in the dark in Manhattan, but I made it to the bus and finally we were on our way. Something else included in the charity experience was a heated tent, hot beverage and bagels before start, something that really saved my morning since I was freezing cold.
Right before the start gun went off, the speaker listed earlier winners of NY Marathon and when the Norwegian Grete Waitz was mentioned, I must admit I got major goose bumps; this was BIG!
The race itself was nothing but amazing. Even slow woggers like myself were cheered on with great enthusiasm and along the course we passed several iconic places seen on TV. The finishing line was in Central Park and I was all teared up when I finally got my medal after some exhausting hours.
Post-Race – Time for Sightseeing
In the days after the race, we were as usual sore all over, but we were able to do some sightseeing.
Central Park is an amazing park in the middle of New York with a zoo (famous through Madagascar), lakes, entertainment, skating course, horses, joggers, tourists, and thousands of squirrels. I could have spent several days in this park, just exploring, but since we only had 1 day to our disposal, we chose to hire bikes to cover as much as possible.
Empire State Building
The famous 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, famous from movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” with an amazing view of New York.
World Trade Center /”Ground Zero”
The World Trade Center site, formerly referred to as “Ground Zero” or “the Pile” immediately after the September 11 attacks.
Hockey Match in Madison Square Garden
First time at a hockey game. Madison Square Garden was a fantastic venue, but kind of stupid that we were not able to buy beer without a passport; we were obviously old enough.
High Line Park
High Line Park is an elevated rail line turned park and is definitely worth a visit. Read more about it in a separate post.