Sunday, November 05, 2006

Inspiration '06

It occurred to me today that this week in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill is my favorite time of the year. It's why I love New York. It's inspiring and fun and momentous events all Wizard of Oz in your own back yard. First Halloween then the marathon in the space of a few days.

I stood on the corner of Lafayette & Vanderbilt today, somewhere in the middle of mile 9 and I clapped and cheered and took pictures fo two and a half hours. I was only going to stay an hour or so but how can you just leave them when they're all running so hard? So I stayed on a bit longer, not until the bitter end certainly but through the bulk of it.

I go early enough to catch the lead women. Or, as it was today, the lead woman. This woman was at least two full minutes ahead of everyone else. Unfortunately she'd set too hard a pace for herself and she didn't finish in the top three. She looked smokin' at mile 9, though.

The next people by were these 3 women. I'm almost certain they're the winners of the women's race. They didn't finish in this order, though, from left to right it is, I believe, 2nd, 1st, 3rd.

The lead men were going so fast that this was the only shot I could get of them. My camera doesn't even recover fast enough to get off a second shot before they were halfway down the next block.

This woman was handing out treats to the runners. I'm not sure what was up with that but she had bananas and then she had Hershey's miniatures. She blew her whistle, she told them to take some candy and share, she met them halfway into the street, it was nuts. Part of me wanted to warn the runners not to take anything because just in general taking candy from strangers is an important kindergarten lesson but this nice little old lady? How could you say no? But if you hear a news story about poisoned runners let me know because I might have a lead.

Two of my greatest fears embodied above: blindness and running.

A local fire house was set up with their truck at the top of the block. I think they had members of their house running the race. They were showing all the kids in the crowd the truck and letting them climb around and wear the hats and everything. Probably twenty runners came out of the race and jumped up on the truck to have their picture taken with the firefighters. I was also amazed by the number of people from other countries who applauded the firefighters as they ran past. There were tons of FDNY runners, too, and they got huge cheers from the guys on the truck. My neighbor, who is an FDNY paramedic, ran by and got a big whoop from us all. I can't wait to see her around and congratulate her.

I'm over wanting to ever run the race but I don't think I'll ever get over watching. It's just way too fun and inspiring and momentous.


  1. Very cool. Thanks!

  2. good luck with NaBloPoMo! This post as fun to read, I hope to run NYC marathon in 08....


  3. Anonymous9:57 AM

    I went to Williamsburg and watched from my friend's apartment ledge. So inspriting. I saw the blind guy take a leek at the porto potties across the street, totally saw that same man being pushed by his two sons.
    One of the images that really struck me was this man with no legs pushing himself down the street on a skateboard looking contraption. I saw 2 people doing this. They had made it to mile 11 and I can't even imagine how. So inspriational!

  4. I would love to run the thing just to see all the neighborhoods. I'd like to see a short documentary, if it could be made, showing what the run looked like in the seventies and now. Nice fotos. I have neighborhood envy.

  5. Anonymous6:59 PM

    There is an organization for runners with physical and cognitive disabilities, called Achilles Track Club. Volunteers are paired with runners/walkers to keep them company and/or safe. Blind runners, for example, may be tethered to their partners. They are always looking for volunteers for their bi-weekly training sessions. Sadly, I've only made it once, but it was pretty great. I'm told that typically, the runners are cheerleading the volunteers to keep up.