The 2010 edition was my 9th Manhattan Half Marathon in the last 10 years! It’s far and away the New York Road Runner race that I’ve run the most frequently (with the Brooklyn Half Marathon and NYC Marathon close seconds). My times for this two loop course of Central Park have ranged the spectrum from 1:27:28 to 1:45:43 (most falling in the mid 1:30's). It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s annual highlight of my race calendar.
I didn’t have any particular time goal in mind except to finish in under 1:40, and try to run a consistent 7:30 pace. Don, Emmy and I drove in together. We had great weather - above 30 and overcast. In fact, the temperature was 20+ degrees warmer than the arctic conditions (14 degrees) we had for last year’s race. I opted for tights and two long-sleeved tech shirts - and may have been overdressed.
On the way over to baggage we tossed out the idea of doing the Grand Prix Series again. I generally get in only 2 or 3 of the borough halves during a given year - and only completed the full series in 2005. In fact, we three did all 5 halves that year - and Don then went on to repeat the full Series again in 2006! Hopefully, the 2010 schedule for the other four races will be doable.
We ran into Jim and Sharon - headed in the opposite direction - on the walk over to the corrals. We also said hi to George, Eliot and a few more Taconic Road Runners on the walk along side the corrals. Before the start, Mary Wittenberg made a couple of brief announcements, including the tentative date (2/20) for a possible run for Haitian earthquake relief. Then, off we went - southbound, for a pair of counterclockwise loops of the Park.
My first mile was 7:24 - and seemed fast considering the crowded start. Mile two was a more manageable 7:31 for a 2 mile split of 14:56. While the 7:28 pace was faster than the 7:37 or so I that needed to come in under 1:40, I figured the Harlem Hills would slow it down without too much effort on my part. While I wasn’t going to push the pace, I didn’t want to back off either. Just after 2 miles, Emmy caught up to me and said that someone had taken off her shoe!
In the blur of running conversation she said that someone had stepped on her heel at the start and it came off in the middle of a crush of oncoming runners! After the race Emmy gave us the details - which involve her sidelined, watching the oncoming runners trample it under foot until someone stooped down, grabbed it, and tossed it over to her! Aside from that mishap, she went on to run a 1:36 (and second place in her age group).
I finished the first loop in 44:02, well under a 7:30 pace. The slowest mile was in the Harlem Hills, a 7:35, and the following mile along the rolling hills of West Drive, a 7:25. I caught Emmy at the 6 mile water station, and she seemed fully recovered from the shoe incident. But she did let slip a small regret about the evils of a stair master and her training for the Empire State Building Run-Up next week.
My second loop was relatively uneventful. I could see Emmy up ahead of me for most of it, but I didn’t see any other familiar faces. The 45:10 that loop took inched over a 7:30 pace. My 12 mile split of 1:29:14 made the sub-1:40 very doable. Mile 13 went by in 7:26, and the last 10th in 41 second, for a 1:37:22 finish. I was very pleased with that time.
Afterwards, I ran into my good friend Michael handing out info on the upcoming Cherry Tree 10 Miler next month - a fantastic race, by the way. In fact, along with Frank, Maggie, and Ralph (who I had just met thanks to Phil) I ran into more Prospect Park Track Club members after the race than Taconic team mates! Emmy, Phil and I socialized for a while. Phil had a great race, knocking off a 1:22 to cap a 100 mile training week!
All in all, it a great day to spend in Central Park.
No races next weekend. Instead, we’ll be back in Central Park for a group training run with the World Lung Foundation Running Team. Anyone interested in running the NYC Half on behalf of a charity - please consider running for the World Lung Foundation!
Here are my race splits:
here are my race photos.