The last major marathon for the year
FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - November 8, 2019 - 12:00am

Among the several running events held around the world, there are six very popular marathons. Usually held on the last Sunday of February, the Tokyo Marathon starts first then followed by the Boston Marathon which is always held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April.   The London Marathon comes in at the last Sunday of April.

On the last Sunday of September, the Berlin Marathon begins.  The US celebrates Columbus Day, and on the second Sunday of October, the Chicago Marathon is held.   The last, biggest, most famous and the hardest to join is the New York Marathon.  It also has the most expensive registration fee at $295 for US residents and $358 for foreigners.

Because me and my wife Denise are now based in the Big Apple, last Sunday would have been our chance to watch the race and experience the crowd.  She also has an STC high school classmate who joined the race supporting a charity and we had planned on positioning ourselves somewhere along First Avenue when the runners descend from Queensboro Bridge.

A clumsy and frustrated athlete like me separately had a knee and ankle injury during my younger years and as the age advanced, uric acid migrated on the subject joints and depending on what I had ingested, will have painful bouts of arthritis and it just picked the days before the NYCM.  Unlike our boticas back home, we just can’t buy any painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs as they would be asking for prescriptions.  The pharmacist instead gave me some fish oil supplements, a box of Salonpas and a tube of hapas.  Maryosep!  I was forced to accessorize with a walking cane and stayed home.

The marathon was one of NY’s last major event for the year and the TV networks showed it live until 3pm.  With 129 countries represented and 54,205 registered runners, the world came to run in New York City last Sunday, which included an elite field of long-distance runners from 24 countries whose main source of income is of course, running.

Runners were assembled at the West end of the Verrazano Bridge on Staten Island and a loud boom from a cannon started the race, and then Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blared on the speakers.  With more than a million spectators cheering along the 42-kilometer route, runners passed through all the five boroughs of New York (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and Manhattan) until the finish line at Central Park.  Even on TV, the atmosphere was festive.

The best runners in the world come from Kenya and of course, they finished 1-2 in the men’s and women’s field, receiving $100,000 and $60,000 respectively for their efforts.  Geoffrey Kamworor won his second NYC title in three years with a time of 2:08:13.  Joyciline Jepkosgei completed the Kenyan sweep topping the women’s field in 2:22:38.  She became the first woman to win the marathon in her debut since 1994 and the youngest female winner at 25 since 2001.  Both Kamworor and Jepkosgei are world record holders in the half marathon.

At least 31,000 gallons of Gatorade and 32,000 bananas distributed every mile after Mile 3 were consumed by the 53,627 who crossed the finish line, 814 more than the number last year.  Unlike in some races where we can see differently outfitted runners, the NYCM does not allow runners to wear costumes although there were a few who braved the morning chill and ran without shirts.

Hopefully, I’ll get to witness in person the world’s biggest running event next year, if my joints finally cooperate.

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