Andy H finishes marathon series finale with a flourish!

Andy unable to resist an in-race slug of beer at mile 17...

Andy unable to resist an in-race slug of beer at mile 17…

New York Marathon for Children In Need
Andy Humphries writes…
The New York marathon was the finale of this amazing marathon package with Radio 2 Children In Need. I can’t say my running has improved but it has been a fantastic experience and we have met so many incredible people. In fact I have to say I was looking forward the weekend far more than I was the actual run.
Me and my fellow marathoners met on Thursday night in London then headed to the Radio 2 studio for the Breakfast show on Friday morning. The celebrity guests and singers were very uplifting. A perfect start to a marathon weekend. After the show we were whisked off to the bus to get to Heathrow for our flight to New York accompanied by Vassos and his wife. We have developed a real bond with the other runners and their families so Jack and Sal came along too.
I was so determined that I would not make the same mistake as I did for London and certainly did not want a hangover on the day of the marathon. I can’t say I was a saint but at least avoided the demon brew on the Saturday. Paula Radcliffe came to give us some last minute tips on running New York. That was very useful because, although I had run it before,  that was 20 years ago and I couldn’t remember that much about the course except the dreaded bridges!
It was a very early start on marathon day, and with over 50,000 runners it’s bigger than London. To accommodate this many, there were 4 waves and I started in the 2nd wave at 10.15am. The start is one end of Staten Bridge which is 2 miles long so the first mile is uphill ( and the second mile down hill). It was the first of 5 or 6 bridges which made up the bulk of the 800+ feet of climb.
My goal was to ensure that enjoyed the marathon and finished in a reasonable state so that I could rejoin the party as soon as I crossed the line. After a few miles I realised that i wasn’t going to achieve this and also need the loo! So I stopped at a toilet then restarted a bit more slowly. I didn’t think there were as many spectators at London and certainly far fewer barriers which meant people would occasionally step out and just cross the road in front of you.
There’s another long bridge and therefore hill at 15 – 16 miles. At that point I felt strong and enjoying it all. Our families were at about 17 miles so it was great to see them and I could not resist the beer offered to me at that point which also served well to wash down the ibuprofen. It certainly caused much amusement with the crowd.The rest of the race seemed to go quite quickly! I certainly enjoyed it to the end and after.
This has been a year of Personal Worsts and this was no exception! 3 hours 53 minutes. My loo and beer breaks might have added a minute or so but I am not sure I could have run much faster.
The Children In Need package maybe over but we have met some wonderful new friends who we will be seeing plenty more of. As far as running is concerned I think this was my last marathon on the road. I think I prefer more relaxed longer distance off road runs. I have signed up to run the Green Man with Jo Rich in March and really looking forward to that.

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