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November 06, 2006


Peter Durand

From an email sent out by the marathoning scribe herself:

Hi Everyone!

Whew - the dust has settled, I've recouped from the marathon, and am ready to share the awesome experience with others! I also took some video while running the marathon, but it may be awhile before I can edit it. Durn life stuff is getting in the way. But here's some cool stuff so far!

Here are some basics about the New York City Marathon.
What makes it so amazing is the course! The marathon goes through the streets of New York's five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. The course unites dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, passing over bridges, dodging a few potholes, and finishing up at Tavern on the Green in world-famous Central Park.

It was an amazing experience.
The bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn was *unbelievable*. I'm attaching a couple photos below. The sheer number of people and the view was just mind blowing! There I am in the light purple shirt and black pants! See? Near the back! The one with the running shoes on! (just kidding) There were so many people, that it was 20 minutes after the canon went off when I got to cross the start line!

Lance Armstrong was in the race as well - although, since I'm slow, I never caught a glimpse of him - darn. Armstrong was quoted saying, "Even after experiencing one of the hardest days of the Tour nothing has ever left me feeling this bad,” he said at a post-race news conference. Armstrong called the race “the hardest physical thing I have ever done.” While he competed in triathlons as a teenager, Armstrong had never attempted a marathon." A little bit of redemption for us long distance runners out there! ; )

My stats:
I'm a *slow* marathon runner. I finished in 5:38:22, stopping to take photos and video along the way and enjoy the sites. I placed 34,615th out of 38,368 runners! It was awesome and if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way. Actually, the term 'marathon experiencer' would be an accurate description. I run marathons to experience the journey, notice stuff, and maybe learn a little something along the way.

What did I learn while running the NYC marathon?
Well, aside from the incredible scenery and absolutely amazing fans, not a whole lot. Now the NYC marathon was an absolutely stellar experience, so allow me to explain. What I really learned came immediately after the marathon. After the marathon, there are about 38,000 runners and then add their family members trying to leave Central Park to get their hotels, homes, restaurants, etc. Imagine, if you will, all of these people plus families, trying to get a cab - all at the same time. Eek. So here's my story. I had just left the marathon finish/family reunion area, finisher's medal on my neck, wrapped up in a shiny NYC marathon space blanket (heat sheet) provided by the marathon officials, exhausted, and trying to find my way back to my hotel - over 15 blocks away. After just having run a marathon, wet and getting cold, the idea of walking another 15 blocks sounded less than enticing. After seeing the impossibility of getting a cab, I asked a friendly New Yorker if they could suggest another way to get back to my hotel. They pointed me in the direction of a bus stop a block down, saying that it was only $2, and that I'd be there in no time. Awesome!!! So I hopped on the bus and was looking for a slot to insert my 2 one dollar bills...and couldn't find one. The bus driver informed me that the bus only accepts $2 in coins, no bills, or you can use your metro-card. Not having any coins on me (running a marathon with a ton of coins in your pocket is not a good idea), and not being from the city (therefore no metro-card), I hung my head in disappointment and turned around to get off the bus to begin my 15 block trudge. Then something AMAZING happened. From the back of the bus, in a loud, decidedly thick New York accent, I heard, "She just ran the fockin' marathon! Let her ride for FREE!" Then one second of silence - and no one moved. And then all of these loud voices chimed in, "Ya, let her ride for FREE, let her ride for FREE, c'mon, she just ran the marathon, let her ride from FREE!!!!!" The bus driver, sensing a possible mutiny, waved me back on the bus - to the cheers and applause from the other riders!!! I said my exhausted thank-you's, and plunked myself down into a seat next to a local who turned and smiled. The other riders immediately started asking me all sorts of questions about the marathon, wanting to see the medal, and giving congratulations. Inside the bus, you could literally FEEL the happy satisfaction from the other riders as they looked at me and each other, nodding their heads in affirmation of having righted a wrong.

So, what did I learn after running the NYC marathon? That New Yorkers are some of the most amazing people on the planet - coming together when they feel they see something unjust - and feeling passionate enough about it and courageous enough to band together and turn a perceived wrong into a right. I love New York!

Thanks for all of your support!

Rob Benn

Right on Steph way to go! - we look foward to seeing the movie!

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