If you read my weekly wrap, I was in the Big Apple for work last week, for meetings that had been planned long in advance. For all the times I have been to NY, I had never run in Central Park. So I took my chances, went online to the NYRR website and boom ! a 5 mile race through the park was scheduled for Saturday morning. Needless to say, it fit perfectly with my travel schedule, so I signed up for the LGBT Pride Run 5 miler.
The morning pretty much went like clockwork.
The race was scheduled to start at 8:30, so I got up early to eat breakfast. At 7 a.m. my mom, aunt and I were the only ones in the restaurant.
The start line was on the Upper East Side. I was a bit worried about arriving on time, not perfectly at ease with the subway. I debated for a long time, but not wanting the additional stress, I took cab, which meant I arrived with plenty of time to walk around. There was very little traffic that early on Saturday morning.
I have absolutely nothing to say about the organization. Everything was well marked, it started on time, plenty of porta potties.
The race was also uneventful. It started on the upper East side, went north, then came down the West side around the reservoir and back up.
I didn’t find the hills to be an issue and there was plenty of room to run, despite there being over 5000 people. I had not been training or running very frequently due to a pesky leg issue. This required me to really scale back my running, so I felt pretty confident and rested going into the race Saturday. My goal was to finish in 50 minutes if all went well. So I ran the race I wanted to and finished in 50:22 (10:05 pace, and that includes stopping for 30 seconds so my mom could take my picture). I finished in the 50th percentile in my gender, and my results were even better for the age group. I am darn proud of that result.
As this is only my second race in the US, there were many things that struck me, so I thought I would share with you my observations as compared to French races. I am not saying either is better, these are just observations.
Bib pick up was very easy. This was available all week, at the NYRR annex, but also on race morning. Having many days to pick up the packet was definitely appreciated.
Security. The first thing I noticed was the bib and tshirt were in a clear bag, to use at the bag drop on race day. Ingenious. There were also these signs :
Living in France, in the midst of terrorist threat, I just assumed this was linked to a possible threat or attack, but then again I might be wrong. Any ideas ?
Running for someone / a cause. This hasn’t yet taken off in France like it has in the US and the UK. We had a second bib we could put on the back of our shirts, many people did. I found some of them very touching and people had put a lot of thought into it.
The number of walkers. I was in one of the last corals and there were so many people in front of me walking. In France, if there are walkers they would always start at the back.
The race kick off. There was a speech by the NYCM race director & the National Anthem was sung at the beginning. This was a very nice touch. We never sign the national anthem in France.
It was very non competitive. For me to finish in the 50% range, it says a lot. In France, I finished in the bottom 10% a week ago.
No food on the course. There are always oranges, bananas or raisins in France. Maybe there was no food because it was a short distance ???
Enthusiasm of the volunteers. While there are many volunteers in France, most are older and retired. For this race, most were young and all would clap and yell “way to go runners’ with such enthusiasm as people ran by. It actually got kind of annoying at one point.
The bagel. Because of the LGBT, there was a rainbow theme. Many people were wearing rainbow colored clothes, but even at the end, there were rainbow colored popsicles & bagels.
The only thing I found frustrating was getting back to the hotel. I decided to take the subway home, but it wasn’t going downtown, only up town. This was a pain in the butt because you had to go far up town to come back down. It seemed like such a waste of time, that I decided to walk. This added on another 2 miles. At least I got to see the park at a more leisurely pace.
So besides the walk home which I wasn’t planning on, I enjoyed the race. Perfect distance. Perfect weather. Great organization. And Central Park ? Yeah, perfect location.