We watched the elite women finish their race before heading out to Queens. Priscah Jeptoo from Kenya pulled ahead of Buzunesh Deba in just the last couple of miles. She finished in 2:25:07. Amazing. The men were almost done, as well. I got an update on my phone that Meb hit the 5k mark in15 minutes and change. What?! I can't imagine running a 5k in 15 minutes, but to do it when you still have 23.1 more miles left?! Seriously? Phenomenal. The lead male, Geoffrey Mutai, also of Kenya, finished in 2:08:24. That's a 4:54 pace. Piece of cake.
We arrived at Vernon Road near 45th Street in Queens at 1:00pm. It was a chilly 50 degrees and partly sunny. This is right past the half marathon point. There was plenty of room to get a front row view of the runners. There were a couple of rock bands and a deejay spread out along the street. The whole family got right into cheering anyone who had their names on their shirts. If there were no names, we shouted out their charities or their countries (the largest international field). We saw the 4 hour pacer run by. Most people at this point already looked tired, but if they heard their names, their faces lit up. Many of them thanked us for being out there. We did a couple of high fives, but they were wet and sweaty so we stopped.
A couple of years ago we saw Mario Lopez running over the Pulaski Bridge with an entourage. At the time, I knew he was famous but wasn't quite sure who he was. This year I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Pamela Anderson or Christy Turlington or Patrick Wilson, but no such luck. We saw Shazam and the Statue of Liberty, though!
We stayed until the 5 hour pacer passed. By this point, most of the participants were walking. I felt badly for them because I knew at this pace they had a long road ahead of them. A 5 hour marathon is so much more physically demanding than a 3 hour marathon. To be out there on your feet in the elements for so long has got to be brutal. Before we got to the marathon, I took my 11 year old to a cross country track meet. About ten children ranging from ages 9-13 ran 1.25 miles, 5 laps around the track. The eighth grade girls flew, the lead finishing in 8:13. My daughter finished in 9:54. The little boy who finished last (12:00) must have been 8 or 9 years old and small for his age. However, he finished and with a smile on his face. How can you not be proud of a kid like that? This is how I felt about the last of the runners we saw. They kept going. That's heart.
Race volunteers never cease to amaze me.
Band on the run...