An English woman in New York
So with just a week’s notice my work asked me if I would be available to go and help out in our New York office. Obviously I said yes and then before I knew it my flights were booked and I was researching what was on that Sunday to entertain myself.
Sad as it is to admit, the first place I looked was the New York Road Runners website just in case there was an organised (or should I say organized) race on. Genuinely not expecting to find a half marathon around Central Park but as soon as I saw it I couldn’t stop thinking about it; and aiming always to live life without regrets I contacted them to see if there was a possibility someone else could collect my number on the Saturday whilst I was flying. The answer was ‘yes’ and so with my fee paid I began wondering what I had done, given I have done no proper training, only the club Monday and Wednesday night sessions!
As my cab from the airport drove me across Brooklyn bridge at sunset on the Saturday evening I convinced myself it would all be fine I wasn’t there to race only to enjoy the experience; what will be, will be.
Not properly fuelled and a little tired from travelling, I rolled out of bed on the Sunday morning to make my way to the nearest ‘sidewalk’ and hail myself a cab to Central Park, South West.
My cab driver was a proper New Yorker and just what I needed, he kept me chatting which was a perfect start to the day as it stopped me getting nervous!
Bang on 8am my ears were treated to The American National Anthem and as the sun began to shine we were on our way. 6856 runners in total, all female, all with two and a bit laps of the park in front of them before we could all enjoy brunch!
The route was quite hilly, I had been kidding myself New York was flat and so the run would be but the hill at the Harlem end of the park was Denton Bank-esque!
At 9 miles I considered pulling back on my pace, I was already going much faster than I had ever run a half marathon before and the balls of my feet were starting to burn. But I had a whole city to explore on my only day off in New York and the sooner I got to the finish line the sooner my feet would stop hurting, so I ignored my head and got a wriggle on.
The final point one of a mile was a nasty hill climb but the crowds were amazing and I gave it everything I had left, crossing the finish line under 1hr50. Now granted I was only one second under but I don’t care (that is 7mins and 2 seconds faster than my best GNR and) I have never felt so proud of myself …ever!
With a big smug grin on my face, I was ushered down the finishers lane to be gifted a free bagel and apple…whilst in The Big Apple! What more could I ask for from my first race in the US of A.
Michelle Nesbitt-Burrell, More magazine’s Women’s Half Marathon, New York, April 13th 2014 – 1hr 49m 59secs.