Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ted corbitt "run around manhattan" 50k: race report

The “Run Around Manhattan” 50k on Ted Corbitt’s birthday was one of those fortuitous events that somehow materializes out of the blue! Until Richie’s Broadway Ultra Society mailing arrived on Wednesday and mentioned the run, I hadn’t been aware of it. Then, by Friday, with Emmy and Eliot expressing interest, and emails from Dave Oblekevich with the course route and related information, the event suddenly took on a tangible reality!

Except for a WLF group training run planned for Central Park on Saturday, I had no races on the calendar that weekend. In fact, without the "Run Around Manhattan," I probably wouldn't have run longer than 18-20 miles that weekend. Instead, Emmy arrived 6:45 Sunday morning and we made our way down to the City for the 8:00 start. The run began at Dave’s apartment on West End Avenue, and had a starting field of almost runners! Before we set off, Dave said a few words about Ted and read a letter to the group from Ted's son, Gary. Yijoo Kwon, president of the Korean Road Runners Club also said a few words about his upcoming trans-America run kicking off March 23 - a 110 day, 3500 mile cross county trek from Los Angeles to New York to raise fund to fight diabetes.

We took a couple of group photos outside the building and began. It was cold (mid-teens) and the wind chill easily brought the real feel down to the low single digits. Aside from Emmy and Eliot, there were plenty of familiar faces - Phil, Alicja, Ruth, and Grant from B.U.S. (Broadway Ultra Society), Ralph (Phil’s teammate from the West Side Runners), and a group from the KRRC. As the day went on, I got to know more of the runners, including Elaine who would do the Empire State Building Run Up with Emmy on Tuesday. A very diverse group.

This was Dave’s 11 year organizing the event. Not only was the course well laid out, but it included 3 planned stops at donut/bagel shops at roughly 8, 16, and 24 miles. Runners could catch up, rehydrate, and regroup - which went a long, long way toward making the event into more of a group effort than individual run. The sense of camaraderie among the runners was there from start to finish. We were responsible for our own support, but were blessed to have Alex ride alongside the group on his scooter! He was a one man mobile aid station - with hot chocolate, black coffee and tea on board. Last but not least, Alex kept tabs on elapsed time and distance stats.

We started off northbound on the Henry Hudson Parkway - running on the bike path alongside the Hudson River. These were some specular views, with the approaching George Washington Bridge ahead and the icy river in view. This was probably the windiest, coldest stretch of the day. I ran most of this portion with Alicja. After we passed the GW Bridge we moved away from the water and continued north to the Henry Hudson Bridge and Inwood Park. Phil contributed this stretch of the route - his running backyard, actually. We had an informal stop in the park to regroup, and the headed east.

Our first official stop was at Twin Donuts just past the Columbia's Butler Field. It had a decidedly Dunkin’ Donuts atmosphere - and the owners didn’t mind the long line of runner making use of the facilities. The most challenging terrain - a climb up Fort George’s Hill - greeted us on the next leg of the journey. While I knew there were hills in Manhattan - had no idea there was one that big lurking along the route! Phil does repeats on that hill (which at that point easily looked like a small mountain). We made it across to the “east” side of that northern strip of the city and turned south.

That stretch led us down to Marvin Gardens Park and we picked up the NYC Marathon route headed to Central Park. It felt great to run this stretch without having to put in 20+ miles to reach it (the mileage point on the NYC Marathon course). We took Fifth Avenue down to 86th Street and made a left, running cross town to York Avenue and our next scheduled stop at Bob's Bagels. Eighty-sixth Street was an unpleasant stretch (the only one of the course) - busy, crowded, and difficult to navigate. I didn't even want to stop at the bagel shop, but Emmy convinced me otherwise. Then we continued over to the more traditional "east" side, turned right and began the long run down to South Ferry via (mainly) the FDR Drive.

Below Houston Street was familiar territory for me. I especially enjoyed the sights of the approaching East River bridges - the Brooklyn, my favorite. By this point in the day (noon) plenty of crowds had gathered along the waterfront - and South Street Seaport in particular. The wind had died down, but the temperature hadn’t increased significantly. We continued to our third and final stop, at South Ferry, where we all regrouped. At this point I was a bit anxious to get moving since it seemed our stops had be consistently increased beyond the suggested 10 minutes!

The final leg practically a straight shot north, along the West Side Highway. After Battery Park City, we ran the last leg of the NYC Half Marathon in reverse! I ran with Eliot for the first couple of miles. In front of the Chelsea Brewing Company I stopped to rehydrate (with water - haha) and then ran the last 3.5 miles back to Dave's apartment with a member of the KRRC. The highlight of this leg was running by the Intrepid - always an inspiring site for me. The two of us finished in just under 7 hours (6:55).

It was an exceptionally great day all around (excuse the pun)! Back at Dave's apartment we changed into dry clothes and socialized for a bit more, before it was time to head home. I can easily see myself back for the 12th edition next year!

check out the race photos.


CTmarathoner said...

what an experience!! nice race report --I am so happy that we didn't back down because of the cold..

UltraBrit said...

Sounds like so much fun. Great race report Frank.

misszippy said...

Great report. You clearly have access to, and take advantage of, great races there in NY.

Chicken Underwear said...

Wow, I was just thinking of adding this event to my list of things to do this winter. When I Goggled "ted corbitt run around Manhattan" Your blog came up first!