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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Race Like No Other

After 22 weeks of training it is time to start packing and getting ready for a trip to Big Apple to run 26.2 miles across five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan. This year’s marathon has a special meaning to many. It marks 10th anniversary of 9/11, a tragic event that forever changed this great city. Grete Waitz passed away on April 19 this year. She won New York Marathon a record 9 times. Her husband Jack Waitz will be running this Sunday along 47,000 runners who are coming to New York from all over the world. On November 6,  Madlene, Wayne and I will have a privilege of representing Canada. My Maple Leaf shirt is already folded and ready on top of red-and-white racing Kinvaras. Garmin is being charged at this very moment. Compression socks, or leg warmers as Helen calls them, are packed as well. Chris warned me about potentially long and very cold wait in the start villages at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. A trip to Thrifty Store on W. Broadway resulted in throw-away sleeping bag for $14.99 and winter jacket for $9.99 that should keep me warm. Probably the best $25 spent on running this year. My spirits are high, but the self-inflicted challenge of breaking 2:50 in New York sinks in. Noah and Carsten described this course as very difficult with long stretches of uphill running to cross five bridges and many hills especially in the last 3 miles in Central Park. Looking at the elevation map I could appreciate the sheer size of almost two-mile long Verrazano Bridge. To relax and take my mind off time goals, race pace, negative splits, running strategy etc, I decided to look at this amazing race from a light side, as a once-a-lifetime event that should be enjoyed due to its beauty, size and uniqueness. Here are some interesting facts I found on ESPN site about the biggest marathon in the world.
  • 127: Number of runners who toed the line at the very first New York City Marathon, held in 1970. Only 55 actually finished.
  • 9: New York City Marathon victories by Grete Waitz, a Norwegian track star who turned to the marathon at the suggestion of her husband -- and never looked back.
  • 47,000: Number of participants projected to race in this Sunday's marathon.
  • 38: Percent of those racers who are women.
  • 84: Age of Joy Johnson, the oldest female entrant this year.
  • 3,538: Number of entrants from Italy, the country with the most participants outside of the U.S. France and Germany rank second and third for foreign entries.
  • 1,663: Number of attorneys entered in this year's race. Also in the top 10 of professions? Physicians (1,073 entries), good in case of injury along the course ...
  • 8,000: Number of event volunteers during Sunday's race.
  • 2.5 million: Expected spectators along the course.
  • 74: Number of UPS trucks that will take participants' bags from the start in Staten Island to the finish in Manhattan's Central Park.
  • 18,000: Cans of Coors Light ordered for the pre-marathon pasta dinner on Saturday night, which will host 15,000 runners and their families.
  • 4,500: Pounds each of rigatoni pasta and elbow macaroni to be served at the pasta dinner.
  • 17,000: Pounds of clothing discarded at the start line of the race and collected for local charities.
  • 368: Number of portable toilets positioned throughout the course, at more than 35 locations including every mile.
  • 62,370: Gallons of Poland Spring Natural Spring Water available to runners.
  • 32,040: Gallons Gatorade G Series Pro Endurance Formula along the course.
  • 2,300,000: Paper cups used during the race.
  • 60,000: Number of PowerBar Gel packets for runners at mile 18.
  • 130,000: Amount in dollars awarded to the male and female runner champion (amount increases to $200,000 if last year's winner wins again).
  • 31: Amount in millions expected to be raised by all 210 2011 race charities combined.

--Facts and figures provided by the ING New York City Marathon 

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