New York City Marathon

US Wealth McCarthy |

4:45am (thankfully felt like 5:45am) - Wake up

6:00am arrive at the NY Public Library for a bus to Staten Island. 

8:45am arrive at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island (longer journey than usual because security was tight as 52000+ runners entered “the Fort” through metal detectors).

The race is so big that the runners are divided into waves by color.  I was in Wave 2 -Orange.

10:17am the cannon goes off as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” plays and 17,000+ runners and I head over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn.

That’s how my day began on Sunday, November 4, 2018.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a 26.2-mile journey through all five boroughs of New York City.  I can’t describe how exhilarating it is to crest the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and see thousands of runners on the course ahead.  When running the New York Marathon, you are never alone.  My good friend and running partner Terry and I spent the next 4+ hours being pulled along by the crowds.  Nowhere on the course is it quiet-- Bands at every corner, cheering volunteers handing out water and Gatorade at every mile.  New York’s finest are positioned at every crossroad to keep the streets safe and cheer on the runners.  Every neighborhood goes out of their way to represent their neighborhood pride.  The streets are lined with kids looking for high fives, which is a tremendous boost getting through the miles. 

On this particular Sunday in November, I was sporting a t-shirt that I adoringly call “Q.” I found this gem as we were cleaning out my parents’ house back in 2007 in a box of stuff my Mom had kept for me:  “Suzy Q” on the front and 14 on the back.  My friends made it for my 14th birthday.  Needless to say, “Q” got a lot of attention.  Who doesn't’t know the song?

I have so many memories of marathon day.  My favorite is just before mile 15, entering the Queensboro Bridge on the lower level.  It’s eerie, dark and quiet.  Runners are feeling the miles and the pace slows as we trudge along the mile and a half stretch of bridge.  Then you hear it, a kind of rumble.  Everyone’s energy changes. The pace quickens, and our excitement grows as we emerge from the lower level into the sunlight and are greeted by no less than a million people cheering as we enter Manhattan! It gives me chills even now writing about it.

Getting to the final stretch was easier knowing that my husband Rob and daughter Hannah were at mile 21 in Harlem, waiting and watching.  After that, I had only five miles to go. For me, those were the hardest miles. On tired and cranky legs, I headed up Fifth Avenue to an amazing crowd of spectators five people deep and into the stunningly colorful Central Park.  Then it was literally all downhill from there.  The best part is that final downhill on to Central Park South and back into the park to the Finish Line.

This was my 21st marathon (my fifth in NYC), and I have to say this was one of my favorites!  Thank you, New York and the friends I met along the way, Tim and our staff and my family for putting up with my long run schedule and for their constant support.  Thank you, Jill, Nanda, Laura, Sean and the rest of our running group for dragging me through all the training it takes to accomplish a marathon and especially Terry for running alongside of me on this fantastic journey through New York City.