Last Sunday, very early in the morning, I imagine two groups of people crossed each other: the crazy people who were just getting home from a night of Halloween debauchery and the even crazier people who were just waking up and going to run the New York Marathon. The marathon covers all five boroughs, starting in Staten Island and going up through Brooklyn to Queens, then down through the Bronx and ending at Central Park in Manhattan. That’s over 26 miles that would take long enough to cover by car or public transit, let alone by foot. Yet around 40,000 people from all over the world decided to struggle through it and many of them were already passing by McCarren Park down Bedford Avenue by the time I dragged myself out of bed.
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting the marathon to be such an event. The streets were packed with people cheering, playing music, and handing out candy and fruit to the runners. Bedford Avenue being the major artery of oh-so-trendy-yet-ironic Williamsburg, there were people holding up iPod speakers playing music from Rocky, as well as a brass band (where do you put a sousaphone in an apartment here anyway?) and a keyboard/DJ duo playing some crazy Kraftwerk-style music. I imagine it must be kind of fun to run through all the different neighborhoods and see the architecture and people change along with the music. I watched from both Williamsburg and Central Park, and that was a huge difference in atmosphere.
When taking the subway from Bedford to Central Park, there was still a positive electricity in the air left over from the street. I wish every weekend was Halloween/Marathon weekend. I guess there’s something moving about seeing these thousands of people really challenging themselves and showing how far people can stretch themselves. I can’t imagine running a marathon; right now a mile seems impossible. But I’m sure everyone watching the race wishes they could feel what it’s like to finish one. And I guess everyone running it struggled through their first mile at some point.
I was surprised to see so many people in costumes. As if running the marathon isn’t difficult enough, why would you put a breathing-restricting rabbit mask over your head, dress as Michael Jackson, or wear a full-body fur tiger costume? And how do you train with that?
Well, after hanging out at the finish line (or as close as you can get without tickets), and having my heart warmed almost to an unhealthy boiling point, I decided to walk around Central Park and savor the fall colors. I also got what might have to be my last outdoor smoothie drink of the year, because winter is definitely coming. I know winter will be brutal, but it will take a lot for me to miss the awful humidity of August.