Last weekend, I ran the 2014 NYC Half. If you live in the NY metro area, and were up early enough, you may have seen it on TV. 20,750 people started in Central Park, did a counterclockwise loop around the park, ran out to Seventh Ave through Time Square, across 42nd Street to the West Side Highway and ran parallel to the Hudson River to end in lower Manhattan. The interest in this race for the running community was because this would be the first time Olympic and World champion Mo Farrah (winner of the 5,000- and 10,000-meter) would race against current NYC Marathon champion and fastest ever all conditions marathoner Geoffrey Mutai. The two will be meeting again in this years London Marathon on April 13th. Although Mo Farrah took a tumble in the park between mile 5 and 6, he was able to recover and finished in second place, 17 seconds behind Geoffrey Mutai.
The NYC Half Marathon is a lottery drawing race. However, if you complete 4 of the 6 “Five Borough Series” Races, which consists of The Fred Lebow Manhattan Half, NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, Queens 10K, Bronx Run and the Staten Island Half, you are guaranteed entry for the following year.
For people who enjoy an “experience” beyond just the run, this is one of the two times Times Square is shut down to traffic (first is New Year’s Ever for the ball drop). For many runners, the backdrop of running this iconic stretch on NYC, is motivation to take on their first half marathon. With limited training due to the harsh winter and some pain in my IT band, I completed my race in 2:33:37; a new East Coast 1/2 PR (My fastest was the Rock N Roll Las Vegas 1/2 which was 2:17 – simply because the whole course is flat and there is zero humidity!)
Sadly, it was freezing out the morning of the half. The day before had been sunny and warm, but race day was only about 34 degrees. This deterred a lot of the people I invited to come cheer from making an appearance however, some very special braved the elements to cheer for me. My mom, who never treks in to the city, showed up to see me run a long distance race complete with a poster. She was with my sister Ka-Ka and The Flash, whose brother also ran the half. They were all at the corner of 7th and 42nd Street yelling for me. As I was pushing making my way towards the West Side Highway, I heard some one scream my name. I turned and saw LH & The Secret Agent waving and holding up a sign LH had made. I’m so grateful to them for cheering me on and being part of this experience. This is a great kick off to my spring racing season! Next up, the More Fitness Women’s Half!