'Although I was not one of the thousands of runners who took to the streets of New York at the weekend to tackle the New York City Marathon, I was able to enjoy my own unique marathon day experience from my home in Lincoln. Sunday 1st November had been marked in my diary as soon as I found out my friend was going to be running the event. Since flying out to New York to spectate was sadly not a realistic option, I knew I would have to find some other way of being able to support her and take in the race.
I must admit, although I have always been aware of the New York City Marathon, I have never really taken the time to fully appreciate the race. From the build up on social media the days before the event I soon realised what I had been missing out on, and how it appeared the whole city becomes struck with marathon fever. I just could not get over the Opening Ceremony either - what an amazing way to kick off race weekend! Seeing my friends photos from New York and reading her messages it seemed a bit surreal she was actually there in this wonderful city and immersed in the running environment.
The time difference between New York and the UK meant the Marathon started at roughly 2pm UK time, so armed with our home made banners (see image), my friend and I settled down to watch a live stream of the race. I felt nervous as the commentators continually went over the race, the course, the running surfaces, the weather - it felt as if I was about to run it! As the elite runners set off my excitement for my friend grew as I saw the route she would be running, and listened to the commentary team real off the sights she would be passing. I was also armed with my mobile phone, the New York Marathon app firmly opened, ready to track my friend. I anxiously kept refreshing the app until finally she set off.
Watching a little icon edge robotically on a map along the streets of New York was ridiculously addictive, and the countdown to every 5km point - when the app gave you the split breakdown along with a predicted finish time - was almost agonising at times. My friend started really well and I was a little scared at first in case she had gone out too fast. At one point the tracker stopped moving and a small wave of panic did rush through me as I feared she may have stopped! But my friend's icon went on, and her pace also maintained strong. As the race went on I no longer felt worried for her, but instead was just in awe of how her little icon just kept on going!
'Watching' the last couple of miles was the worst. I knew by now my friend was going to record an incredible time and that she would be well within her aim for the race, so that was not the fear. But I suddenly had flashbacks to my own marathon and how this final stretch felt - the overwhelming tiredness, the constant mental battles and conversations going on in your head, and the way you someone just about manage to keep your legs moving despite the pain. The little icon on the app was my friend after all and it was hard to think of her going through this, whilst at the same time being so happy that she was about to smash a PB! As my friend's icon inched over the finish line I felt incredibly proud of her, and just wished I could have actually been in New York to see her physically cross the line! I will be there when she runs the 2016 London Marathon though, and if watching that race in person is anywhere near as memorable as watching it on an app then it looks set to be a special day.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...