Just like last year, we hunkered down at mile 8 in Brooklyn right outside of the Atlantic Avenue subway stop. As Kate grabbed our spot, I zipped into Starbucks for lattes. Forty minutes later, the elite women arrived. They arrived and passed FAST, all bunched up in a group of about a dozen. They were there and then not there. A few other groups followed, all pumping faster than I could ever hope to run.
Thirty minutes later, the men came by in a blur. Look, I'm a marathon runner. I can run in the low eights or high sevens for a few miles, but then I settle back into high eights or low nines for the rest of the race. But these guys? They were a tangle of legs and arms, exhaled air, and pouring sweat. This tight pack of runners averaged under five minutes per mile for 26.2 miles. I'm not sure most of us can imagine that. If you hop on a treadmill and turn it as high as it goes, you still wouldn't match their pace. Crank up the incline a few degrees and you can almost recreate the velocity these guys run. Then do it for 26.2 miles. I will always be in awe of what these athletes can do. I didn't yell, I didn't cheer. I just snapped the shutter and then they were gone.
After the elite men and a couple of other groups zipped through, we had a short wait. Then the other runners came through. The fun runners, the rest of us... At this point Kate and I started yelling out names and encouragement, offering our voices to hopefully make someones race just a little bit easier. It's here where the people need your encouragement and shouts. And it's here where you can have so much fun screaming for total strangers.
These balloons summed it up for me, what I wanted to tell everyone as they raced past.
And the woman who keeps me running, my partner in crime and oh so many miles, cheering on all the runners.