I am pleased to say that I survived the New York Marathon with a time of 4.44.49. It was an amazing experience that will never be forgotten; wondering around the Big Apple the day afterwards with 50,000 others wearing your medal is a fabulous feeling as everyone is saying “Con-grat-u-lations”
I did struggle due to a lack of training in the previous 4 weeks due to an injury but knowing that so many people had supported me and donated to Sue Ryder meant finishing was the only option.
The day started with a 5am alarm call, Uber down to the Staten Island Ferry for a 6 o’clock cruise. There was a buzz in the air at the start village where I waited for my 10.40 wave to go. The time flew by, stuffing myself with free bagels, coffee and sports drinks and then spent the rest of time queuing for the loo. The petting dog was good for the nerves!
The start was cold and we listened to the National Anthem followed by the jostling to get to the 4 hour pace setter……. and we were off. The first mile takes you uphill towards the Staten Island Bridge which feels a little slow but the views are awesome. I then made the big mistake – on the run down the other side of the bridge I decided that the pacer was going a little on the slow side so I took off and finished my first 10k in a 3.30h marathon pace. The crowds had really kicked in, I was high fiving anyone and anything including a dog…..who needed a proper training plan to run a marathon? Duncan Watson did.
By the time I had passed the half way mark in 2hours, it was raining, my pace was slowing almost to walking, my injuries were really hurting and I knew that neither beating my personal best nor a 4 hour finish was a possibility. I was crushed and stopped altogether, phoned my wife Claire and announced I was done. Claire had been tracking me and was really surprised by my pace, I was much faster than she had expected! Hearing Claire’s voice and the encouragement of a couple of the 1 million spectators gave me the energy to go on a little further. Knowing that quite a few of you back home would be asking how it went made me go a little further than that.
I plodded on, enjoying the atmosphere and sights knowing that Claire would be in the crowds for the final section in Manhattan. It was really funny to be called Sue, “Keep going Sue” “You’re smashing it Sue” Clearly Sue Ryder has not reached the States.
For the final 10k I didn’t even notice the hills as I studied the thousands of screaming faces looking out for Claire, she could be anywhere, had I missed her? The crowds became thicker and louder as we entered Central Park for the last time, passing the 800m mark there was still no sign of Claire but then after rounding a corner she was jumping up and down at the 400m mark. I stopped, had a very soggy cuddle and ran the final section with the biggest smile in the world. I had run the 2017 New York Marathon, what a feeling.