Covering the New York City Marathon was pretty freakin’ sweet. I haven’t been with the magazine long enough to not get totally starstruck from meeting elite runners, and I met a whole lot of them.
Friday night was the Runner’s World pre-marathon party, and Lauren Fleshman, our November cover model, was there. I have read her blog and followed her on Twitter and she seemed like she’d be totally cool, and she did not disappoint. I offered her some course advice—perhaps unsolicited, but I thought I was being helpful—as she had never run New York, or any other marathon, before. (And she did great in her debut yesterday, so, hooray!)
Saturday morning I got up to help our video guy cover the Dash to the Finish Line 5K, and I got pulled into being the question-asker for a couple post-race interviews. I met and interviewed Sara Hall (Ryan Hall’s wife, who won the women’s race) and Dathan Ritzenhein (former 10,000-meter American record-holder and 3rd in the men’s race).
And yesterday, marathon day, was just incredibly cool. The press room looked like this:
The giant screen in the middle was NBC’s coverage, the screen to its left was the view from the lead car of the women’s race, and the screen on the right was the view from the lead car of the men’s race. Both races ended up being more interesting than anticipated.
Mary Keitany was supposed to win the women’s race, and it looked like she would, as she opened up a 2:30 lead on the chase pack by the half. But, her lead kept slipping, and she got caught around mile 25. She tried to hold on, but a relative unknown (Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia) won, and Buzunesh Deba (also Ethiopian but resides in the Bronx) took second. I wanted her to win, since they’ve not had a winner from New York in a very long time, but oh well.
In the men’s race, three men broke the old course record. (Men’s course records have fallen in all five World Marathon Majors this year. I don’t know what’s up with men’s marathoning, but it’s nuts.) Meb Keflezighi got a two-second PR over his winning time from New York in 2009…and came in 6th. (And he was racing in Skechers, his sponsor.)
I got to interview Meb afterward. I thought it would be harder to get to him after the press conference, but it wasn’t, and he was very nice and gave me some good quotes I could use in my story. (Which you can read here!) Cool dude. I hope he does well at the Olympic Trials in January.
That’s it for the elites I met, but I saw a whole lot more at the party, in the media tent, and at the press conferences: Jenny Simpson, Paula Radcliffe, Geoffrey Mutai, Emmanuel Mutai, Gebre Gebremariam, Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Molly Prtiz, Bobby Curtis…on and on.
I realize these names mean nothing to most people, but now that I am officially a #RunNerd, I am entirely too excited about all of it.
When I wasn’t totally geeking out, I got to do some other cool things. I spent some time with my Runner’s World International folks at the pre-marathon fiesta Friday, and I got to go out afterward this year since I wasn’t running the marathon. (The guys from Garmin know how to party. I know who to call if I’m ever in…Kansas.)
Saturday, I talked on an Ask the Editors panel at the expo, and people actually had a lot of questions for us. I love giving advice as if I am some kind of authority. (I kind of was—I was one of the two people on the panel who’d run New York before, and I was the only of us who hasn’t qualified for Boston, aka: I was more like the average runner.) I went to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q (nom!) with Carly and our intern, and Carly and I found a sweet beer bar with 30+ taps near my hotel.
All in all, a successful few days. I’m sure the luster of working all weekend at these events will wear off someday, but it hasn’t yet, and I’m already looking forward to Boston.