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Non-Race Report: Manhattan Half Marathon

January 25, 2010

So, the original plan for today was to run the Manhattan Half and smoke my previous PR of 1:50. Alas, that didn’t coincide very well with my 2-week break I’m on, so I had to do a little re-thinking. I decided, very last minute (Friday night) that I might as well volunteer as I already had the race in my schedule. This was some major wine-induced thinking and not thinking about the weather (hello January) and me picking the 2nd-longest race to volunteer for. Alas, I woke up Saturday with a confirmation email that I was volunteering as a course marshall. Awesome.

In the end, though, it was really fun and helped me see the other side of races. I got to the park nice and early (6:50) with a massive cup of hot tea in hand, received my super hot reflective vest, some vague instructions and headed to about 86th on the east side (between miles 1&2 and then 7&8 on the second lap), behind the Met, but a big crosswalk.


Big crosswalk=massive amounts of pedestrians and their pups. My very official job was to keep the runners in the course, leaving about half the road for non-racing runners, bikers, walkers, etc., making sure pedestrians crossed the course at appropriate times and to be the best cheerer I can be. Also, to take as many photos of my fellow Dashing Whippets as I saw. That was only partially successful as my camera has been on the fritz lately.

Rich! First lap.

It was totally fun watching the super fast leaders. Those are some fast runners. On the second lap, the leader was about 1.5 minutes ahead of the guy in second. I have a small feeling he won.

Leader. Fast. Really really fast.

During the first lap, the pack was quite dense and there were lots of runners running on the outside of the cones and I would yell at them to get inside. Ummm, I am those runners. I am the queen of running to the outside of the cones to get out of the pack, and I’m constantly yelled at. Never again. I’ve seen the other side and I respect all those volunteers who yell at me. Or I’ll just run outside when the course marshalls can’t see me ;). Other than those runners, the most annoying thing were the pedestrians and their dogs. We would tell everyone to use their discretion when crossing–looking for a break in the pack, and most people respected that. However, there were a few that really ticked me off. The worst was an older woman with a cane and a large standard poodle. She decided to cross right in the thick of it, very slowly, after I asked her to wait a few minutes. She got yelled at by the runners (that sooo would have been me) and dropped the leash on her dog halfway through. When she got to the other side (my side), she realized she left the dog’s ball where she started and started to turn around. I said “NO! I’ll get it!” and sprinted across and got the ball. However, she still hadn’t grabbed her dog’s leash, so the dog followed me back through the race, and we all got yelled at by runners. Ugh. Eventually, the leash was grabbed, the ball was found, and she left. That was annoying. Blah.

I’d say the best part was the cheering! I’m a pretty high energy, peppy person by nature–kinda a born cheerer. Some marshalls just stand there. Not me. I’m yelling, clapping, losing my voice, all for the purpose of encouraging my fellow runners. I LOVE watching the NYC Marathon every year just to cheer on the runners. It’s such a blast and I got to do that lots today. Seeing smiles on the runners’ faces after they hear me made me want to cheer louder and clap more. It was so much fun!! I hope everyone who saw me appreciate it. One of the best parts was during the last third of the first lap, a mother and 3 about 5-year old girls needed to cross, but I asked them to wait. They heard me cheering and started cheering too. They were so adorable!! They were probably better than me. Eventually they crossed and were headed to the dog park, when I told them the leaders would be around for their second lap in about 10 minutes. They begged their mom to stay and they did and were in awe over the lead runners. They stayed for about 20 more minutes and were saying all the same stuff I was saying…it was pretty hilarious. Future professional cheerers? Maybe.

My prodigies.

This is becoming a really long post about volunteering. Sorry.

In the end, yeah, I was pretty sad that I wasn’t running and I was jealous of everyone out there, especially considering the almost perfect conditions. But, I know this rest is good for me and will help me out in the long run. My evil leg is FINALLY feeling better and I think I might be ready to run next weekend. And, volunteering really was super fun (besides the fact that I couldn’t feel my feet besides my two pairs of socks after 5 minutes) and I’ve already got my +1 for the NYC Marathon in 2011.

Well done to all the Dashing Whippets! I think everyone ran got a PR!! I’m pretty proud to be part of that team.


And tomorrow starts Yoga Week! Yoga every day. I’m psyched. And scared. I suck at yoga, have I mentioned that? Yeah. Really bad. Wish me luck!

Omg…totally forgot! Two crazy things happened while volunteering. During the first lap, I hear a runner say my name and all of a sudden I’m being hugged. I realize it’s a girl I knew from my camp, in Canada! I was shocked!! I snapped her pic on her second lap. Hi Julie!

Julie! She’s on the right, waving. I can still picture us sitting in the canoeing cabana lusting over Mr. Darcy. Yeah, I was weird.

And then, a little later, I hear someone call my name from behind, and see a girl. “Betsy?”. “Yes…” “I’m Lisa.” Me pausing. OMG…LISA!!!! I’ve followed Lisa’s blog since my old cooking blog and she just moved to NYC and is training for the LA Marathon and did 20 today. We’ve never met in person but she recognized me. So crazy. We need to go running together Lisa!!

Ok…now I’m done. G’night.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 6:41 pm

    OMG I ran the half and saw you at the race yesterday. How could anyone miss you? Your enthusiastic cheering was such a boost to all of the runners, I know how hard it is to keep that up for 2-3 hours (in freezing cold in your case), so thank you, it was much appreciated!! Take care, I hope you recover soon.

  2. lisa permalink
    January 25, 2010 11:03 pm

    Once you heal, let’s go run! I actually had joined the Dashing Whippets when I moved here, but have yet to go to their Tu/Thu night runs. Truth be told, I don’t know how to run with other people… I must try!

    Anyway, soooo glad to have met you!

  3. Scott permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:16 am

    It was great to see you on the course, Betsy! Thanks for cheering for us…

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