Events

NYC Marathon 2004       Picasa Photo Album

  Wayne   Mark

I can't explain what went so wrong at the marathon. My legs just gave out from under me around the 21 mile mark, an I was walking at mile 23. I'm so disappointed and embarrassed with my performance. I told Linda & Michelle to start looking for me just under 4hrs. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I felt great, until just before 10am. when they brought out the marathon pace teams, and I found out that my race number had me starting with the 5 hour marathoners. Realizing now I had an hour of slower marathoners to pass, until I caught up with the 4 hr. marathon pace team. The marathon pace team leader carried a stick with 3 balloons attached to the top of it, with the expected finish time written on the balloons. They had pace teams for each 15 minutes of the hour. If I would have paid the fee to join a pace team, then I would have been lined up correctly with the 4 hr. marathoners.

Finally the canon went off at exactly 10:10am right on schedule, and we started walking out of the park . I could see the lead runners going up the Verrazano bridge close to a mile away. Finally just before the START,I was able to start running. Climbing up the Verrazano bridge most of the runners in my Blue Group right ahead of me stopped and walked up the bridge. This left a large opening for me , and it was the only time throughout the whole marathon that I was able to run freely. I went through the first mile in 9:11, which I was happy with, since the Verrazano bridge is a lot steeper then it looks on TV. Once over the top, and starting down the other side I caught up with the main crowd of runners. It was almost impossible to make any head way, when your close to back of the pack of over 37,000. runners.You had to watch for an opening, then sprint ahead to get through, before another runner beat you to it. By the time I made it on 4th Ave

Fourth Ave in Brooklyn is one long Ave. It goes on for miles, and it is no where near wide enough to handle this quantity of runners. The three color groups Orange, Green & Blue, the one I was in, still haven't merged together yet. I found myself running all over the Ave. in order to pass people. Finally I noticed there was an open space right next to the curb where all the spectators were standing. So I headed up this area, and was making good progress, only to notice I was running on one hell of a slant. Figuring this would kill my legs later on, I made my way back to the center of the Ave. on level footing. All of a sudden runners start darting right across in front of you, forcing you to come to a complete stop. This was the first water stop, and if your not careful you could spend more than half a minute at one of these stops, before resuming running.

Soon my Blue group merged with the Green group, this created more congestion. I figured I was running now at a 10 minute mile pace. Continuing on up 4th Ave., slowly but surely I managed to pass runners, and soon I was with the 4:30 marathoners, then around the 10k mark I was up with the 4:15 marathoners. I glanced down at my watch , and it read 53:20. I kind of found that hard to believe that I was averaging less that a 9 minute mile, with in this large body of runners. When I went pass the 7 mile mark, I glanced back at my watch only to find that it was still reading 53:20. Realizing that another runner must had hit the stop button on my watch some time after the 5 mile mark. Now I had no watch to pace myself with, which intern created more frustration. However I continued on getting by one runner after another.

Just before the 8 mile marker. I finally caught the 4 hr. marathon pace team, only to lose them again because of another water stop. Then total bottle neck occurred at the 8 mile mark, when we merged with the Orange group, this is the group that Mark was in. I never saw the 4 hour marathoners again. So now I had to try and get buy more runners. I continued to pass runners right up to the Queensboro bridge around the 15 mile mark. Climbing up the bridge I noticed I wasn't passing anybody anymore, and I just didn't feel as comfortably running as I had been. You come down off the Queensboro on to 1st Ave. with a tremendous roar from the crowd,

First Ave is very wide, and there's no place to hide from the heat of the noon sun, which has now reached 69 degrees F. As far as you can see up First Ave. is wall to wall runners. You travel more than 3 1/2 miles up 1st Ave. on to the Willisboro bridge into the Bronx. the Willis bridge is a fairly steep climb, but they have a nice soft carpet laid down for you to run on, which was a nice treat for your feet. It was around this area where the last chip mat was located at the 20 mile mark, and as I crossed it I thought to myself, ( I bet the guys back home are getting a hoot over receiving this crummy times. ) Oh well maybe Mark is holding up his end of our running club.

Leaving the Bronx and closing in on the 21 mile marker, my legs just told me they had enough at this pace, and only agreed to continue at a much slower pace. Now all those runners that I worked so hard to get by, were now passing me and I was getting in their way. When a race walker passed at the 23 mile mark, I gave in an started to walk. I ran a little, and walked a lot through the park. On the last turn before the 26 mile mark, Linda & Michelle were still standing patiently waiting for me. I was so close to them I reached out and grab Linda, before they even saw me. Michelle ran ahead an snapped a couple of pictures, since I looked in such fantastic shape. Boy I want to tell you the longest 2 tenths of a mile is in New York Central Park after you pass under the 26 mile banner. I looked up at the clock which read 4.47:25, and shook my head in disbelief. After four months of all those training miles it was pretty hard to accept a time like that. The only solution is to go back and do it right the next time. I know I've got a 4 hour marathon left in me, but it wasn't to be on this Nov 7th.

After you cross the finish line, I had to walk another mile to get to my UPS truck to pick up my kit bag, then another half mile walk to the family reunion area to change. The proudest thing I accomplished on Sunday, is that I had to walk 47 blocks back to the hotel after just running 26.2miles. It was impossible to get a cab. Linda & Michelle went back on the subway, and I beat them back to the hotel. It took me an hour any 20 minutes.

The greatest thing about the New York City marathon is the tremendous support the runners get from huge crowds of New Yorkers that line the streets encouraging you on, through each borough, and the volunteers are so pleasant and nice to you.

One word to describe it. AWESOME.

Wayne Banks


I don't often write a log on a running event, the last time was about 15 years ago when I ran MacKenzie mountain. I want to remember all of this run though. The following comes from my log:

Taking the M train to Central Park West:

It's been 24 hours since the marathon began. I'm sitting alone in a restaurant on 3rd Avenue and for the first time in a month, I'm feeling great. I've got steak, eggs, coffee, and the New York Times marathon section spread out before me. Donna is sleeping in so I got an hour or so to enjoy on my own. I'm a little stiff, my leg muscles are sore, but it's a good soreness.

Yesterday during and especially near the end of the run I believed that I had failed. After the run and after hearing words from my support group and others (My wife Donna, BJ my niece who could really relate because, as a first time runner this year, she had just completed the Chicago marathon, her mother Jo-Anne, also a first time runner, finished Chicago, Danny my brother, Donna his wife and a runner who had just completed a half marthon in PEI, my son Jube and my daughter-in-law Michelle a runner, Macey-Jane my youngest grandchild, Tate my daughter and her husband Tim a sometimes runner & other grands Alma & Ellie, & Atticus (congratulations gappa), and my friends Russ and Marion an ex runner), my perspective slowly changed and I now feel pretty good about the event. Even though I did hit the wall and hit it quite early (about the 16 mile mark), at the finish there were more participants behind me (20000) than ahead (17066). I finished in the top 19% of my age group and not one 75 year old beat me!! (A guy with one leg and a guy with no legs did however!! Wow!).

As I sip my coffee I am savoring the event and I do not want to forget the little bits so I'm jotting down a log of recent memories. The write up below comes from that log.

Three weeks before yesterday I finished my last long run, 21 miles around the basin, the last 10 of which I ran with Jerome (I talked to Jerome on the phone after the marathon), with Roy supporting. It was very hard and I struggled to get through the last 8 or so miles. It certainly did not help my confidence and I felt intimidated by 26 miles lurking in my future. After spending that evening at Russ and Marion's I woke up the next morning with a hangover and a cold that lasted two and a half weeks. This further eroded my confidence. Though I consciously tried to think positive throughout the last 10 or so days before, deep down I really had no confidence that I could finish.

The two days before in NY were hectic and stressful. I did not want to run and was angry with myself for getting into this situation. I felt I had gotten on a midway ride about 120 days ago and I could not get off. I was happy though that the day I could get off the ride was approaching. I swore that when this thing was over I would never run again. I ate poorly, slept poorly, and could not relax.

The night before I was very anxious and could not sleep at all. Wayne and I had agreed to meet at the 42nd St. Library to travel to Statten Island on the bus together. He told me he was leaving on the 6am bus and I told him NOT to leave without me. I got up at 4:30 and was alone, carrying my UPS bag, on the uptown subway platform at 5:15. Across the tracks waiting for the downtown subway was a man in shorts carrying a UPS bag. He was heading to another bus pick up location as there were no more tickets available for the Library busses. He seemed nervous.

I got off at 42nd street at 5:40 and headed for the Library. I gradually began seeing more and more people with UPS bags all converging on the corner of 42nd and 6th. Within minutes there were hundreds then thousands of people milling around at this intersection. (Meanwhile unknown to me Wayne had arrived at the intersection at about 5:30 and was looking for me). I continued down 6th Ave a bit to a location in front of the Library where I could stand on some steps and search the throng of people moving 6 wide down the sidewalk along side of the busses.

On these steps were protesters urging runners to wear a "No Mandate" sign against Bush and the war. Maybe one in 7 took the sign and later I saw very few runners with it actually on. The protesters were quite vocal and vicious toward Bush. A few runners (mostly women) eagerly grabbed the signs and thanked the protesters. One runner shouted "Check the popular vote!" Twice I was asked by volunteers to move on but I just moved a few feet and continued looking for Wayne. Apparently Wayne passed by me unnoticed after a long wait. I got on a bus about 6:25am.

The bus trip was about 50 minutes and I dosed a bit. I sat with a young woman, a teaching student from Chatanooga, Tennessee. This was her first marathon and her first visit to New York. She said she was nervous but she didn't seem nervous. Like a "old" person trying to make conversation, I told her one of the few things I knew about Tennessee, that it bordered on more states than any other, about eight or nine. She said she did not believe that and thought there was some western state that had more. The ride went smoothly until we got to the bridge where traffic was stopped and took us about 10 minutes to cross.

There were a lot of people already milling around the staging area and I followed the orange balloons to the waiting area. There were line ups for coffee, water and juice and gatoraid and muffins and bagels and power bars and pictures and other food stuff being distributed under small tents. There was a large open central grassed area almost completely covered with people laying down or sitting. Also nearby was a large tent about 120 by 50 also pretty full. There were hundreds of washrooms with long lineups. Just adjacent to this area was the line up of UPS trucks there to transport our bag to Central Park. I located "my" truck. I tried to keep busy knowing there was a long time left before the run. I consumed some water, some gatoraid, and a few bagels. I went to the portapotty and stood in line with a young Irishman running his first marathon. He was friendly and explained he was here on a drunken bet with his buddies. He expected to run a 3:45 marathon and had a side bet that he would beat Paula Radcliff, the British runner with the fastest time this year male or female. Though he wanted her to win(she did), he'd win the side bet if she blew up and left the race. There were many toilet locations with about 50 at each and very long lineups for each. I spent about 20 minutes in line.

Still a long time to go and I was fidgety. I re-explored the area and located the area for the orange 19,000s to marshal. I knew Wayne's # was around 19,000 blue so I headed to the blue area and the 19,000 location (meanwhile I understand he was heading to orange 19,000 looking for me). On the way I was turned away from one tent and told it was for elite women only. I then came upon a lecture on pre race activity and hydration. The suggestion was to hydrate to about one hour before the race and then stop. This would give time to eliminate before the run (however before the run all the toilets had lineups of 50 or more people). They also explained that it takes 20 minutes for the hydration to be of use to the body so one can stop drinking in the last few miles ( I believe it is important to continue so as to help after the run).

I continued and found Wayne's area but no Wayne. ( At this point there are about 38,000 people in a somewhat confined area and the chances of coming across Wayne were not good. I still had over 2 hours to wait so I found a place in a tent and laid down. It was quite cold though I was well covered up. I understood that it would be quite warm during the run so I had shorts and a long sleeve shirt (should have been a singlet but it was so cold before the race I was worried about freezing) but I was well covered with "throw away" clothes. I'd forgotten my hat but my goodie bag had a yellow Sponge Bob hat so I used that. After about an hour of laying down I dropped my bag at the UPS and I went to the orange 19,000 area and waited the long hour for the run to begin. This hour seemed like two.

During all this time I was feeling meek, feeling sorry for myself, wanting to get it over with, not having fun, not enjoying the moment, and overwhelmingly lonely in this large crowd. Everyone around me was excited and happy and laughing and most were with groups. The last hour was spent in a crowd of people standing shoulder to shoulder next to a group of young Italians laughing and joking with each other. Anxious to get started I would stand on my tiptoes to look ahead to see if the crowd was moving. Helicopters continually circled overhead and from time to time one would see clothing being thrown up and to the side usually landing on runners. There were still very long lineups to the toilets. After this energy sapping long wait I noticed more and more clothing being thrown and finally, some very slow movement toward the ramps to the bridge. It felt so good to be moving. There were still lineups to the toilets and still people running to the UPS trucks.

Through all this I'm debating what time I should try for. Believe it or not, the debate was 3:30 or 3:45! I decided on 3:45, 8 minute miles just as the group surged forward. I knew I'd have to pass a lot of people for this as I was in the middle of thousands of 4:00 people. As we moved toward the start point the trot slowly sped up and I crossed the start at about 4 minutes ( Wayne crossed the start about 4 minutes later). The shaded marshaling area was cool but when we hit the bridge it was hot. This felt good at first but half way across it I was sweating profusely. I stayed on the far left side of the 8(?) lane bridge trying to pass along the narrow sidewalk It was wall to wall people. As I looked at the ships down below spouting water, helicopters above, a bridge full of people, a great view of the ocean to the right, and the Manhattan skyline to the left in the distance, finally, for the first time this week, my perspective changed from a negative focus on the run to an attempt to enjoy the moment and for a while I had a positive, happy, carefree feeling about the run.

Numerous people were running along the narrow bridge sidewalk in order to pass but they had to step off from time to time as there were people stopped on it either talking on a cell describing the view, taking pictures, or peeing over the side. I realized at mile 0.5 that I had to pee.

By the time the bridge was behind me, along with the view, I was drenched in sweat but in Brooklyn at least, I could find shade most of the time but had to run from side to side to get it.. When we first merged with the blue we ran for about a km along side them with barricades between us. I was now looking at a 4 hour marathon. A mile later I had to toss the yellow sponge Bob hat as it was too soaked with sweat. The degree of closeness to other runners intensified and decreased as the street widths changed back and forth. Throughout Brooklyn and Queens I was amazed at how many spectators knew the runners. I later realized that many runners had their names written on their shirts etc. Through much of the first half of the run I saw many of the same people over and over. There were two guys running together dressed as the blues brothers in suits, a guy in a tricycle pushing backwards, Norm, a 50 year old guy in a blond wig and a woman's bathing suit (he got a lot of attention), a fed ex guy, many bands playing, community groups, people giving candies, pretzels, drinks, bananas, paper towels, thousands of children trying to high five ( I know I hit a few hundred children's hands), dozens of gatorade and water stops, church and community groups, clubs, and finally I saw the porta potties at about mile 8 and waited in line there. This did not take too long.

Throughout Brooklyn and Queens I felt like I was running down hill even though it was hard. My aim was the 59th St bridge and I saw it a few kms before we reached it. As we proceeded up the 59th Street (Queensboro) bridge I was feeling quite good finally entering Manhattan. It was a climb and the first time I really felt a hill. The views were great. We were not on the top level of the bridge but the shade was elusive and the heat was oppressive. A few people stopped to take pictures or pee off the bridge. As we exit the bridge the ramp turns sharply to the left and curves around under the bridge onto 1st Ave. This is the most dramatic scene next to the beginning of the run as the ramp is steep and lined with spectators. I saw one runner stop at the end of the bridge and pee over the side. As I continued on it occurred to me that he must have been either peeing on spectators or runners as the route went directly under him. I flew down the ramp excited by the scene and people and made the turn. 1st Ave.- straight - long - sun drenched - loud - did I say long?. I was immediately in trouble.

Throughout Brooklyn and Queens I engaged with the crowd and tried to feed off their energy. This did not come natural I consciously did it to survive. High fiving with hundreds of children really boosted my energy. In contrast, along 1st Avenue I had my head down, I avoided the crowd, avoided eye contact, avoided the children's high fives, avoided the scenery, the runners, and the run. I expected Jube and crowd would be on the left side but I studiously hugged the right side as there was a few feet shade in some places along the left side where the buildings were taller. At each block I recalculated the time cost of walking the remainder. Every step was a chore and I was tempted to give up constantly. For this reason I wanted to avoid seeing Jube and company. When I approached 86th St (27 blocks from the bridge) I believed that they would not be down this far as Danny's room was on 86th Street. I accidently stepped in a sunken valve hole and nearly fell. I searched to the right of 86th and 87th Streets to see if I could see the beer warehouse Russ and I used to visit when I was last here. No luck. Meanwhile Jube, Danny and all the gang were indeed at 86th St and saw me but couldn't get my attention. Saw me trip and saw me searching to the right. Also although I was unaware of it, somewhere along here Wayne passed me.

I hadn't walked yet but I was moving slow and I did not think I could make it. I kept saying "It's only one more hour of pain." I had said this throughout ie four, three, and two hours of pain left. The first time I stopped to stretch ( I probably used the "stretch" as an excuse to stop) was near the end of First Ave. As I held the top of the barricade and squatted (which felt great), I caught the eye of a man on a second floor balcony. He seemed to know my plight and he offered words of encouragement. It helped. Near by was a pommegrant juice stand, private, not with the official marathon. I did not drink only because I don't like the taste. Somewhere along here was the sponge (bob) table and 30,000 sponges were spread across the Avenue. Also there was a power gel table and I consumed one. It was good but for the next block the footing was slippery from discarded gel packs.

As we moved up the bridge into the Bronx, the bridge has a grated surface and the right side is carpeted (orange) for the runners. I ran this bridge with a guy who was also hurting (I thought I was the only one). I acted as if I wasn't hurting. This was his first marathon and he asked in desperation, how much further. I thought there was about 7 to 8 miles left. Just then we came upon the 10 k remaining marker. Though he doubted it, I told him he could make it now even if he walked the remainder. I was certainly energized by the seeing the 10k mark and this carried me through the Bronx. Again unknown to me I repassed Wayne for good somewhere in the Bronx.

I had a warm feeling in the Bronx and it seemed down hill all the way. I felt a warmth from the people or the area or just the closeness of Central Park, or that 1st Ave was over. There were many smiles and much understandin g on the faces of the neighborhood people lining the way. I began the planning of the management of finishing. For the first time in weeks, I believed if I managed it correctly, I could finish. There was not much shade in the Bronx but I felt so good here that I forgot my need for it. Up to this point (about 5 miles remaining), I had completely stopped at the last few water stops. I stopped and stretch once and then walked after that for about 30 seconds. I had slowed down a few times to rub my butt and legs (The first time I massaged my legs I felt grit on my hands). I now realized that due to severe cramping threatening in my legs, in order to finish I would have to run walk. Initially, I would try walk a block, then run 5 blocks etc etc. This worked a few times but I had trouble counting the blocks. I was in a great deal of pain and stress. Though my aim was now only to finish, I still continued to calculate time. (If I walk this much, what will my time be? etc.) I was now aiming for 4 hr and 30 min.

Central Park was mostly a blur and at about three and a half miles to go, I went to a walking mode whenever I felt a cramp threatening. During one short walk, my son Jube and my sister-in-law Donna appeared beside me. I saw my brother Danny in the crowd. I felt embarrassed to be walking and immediately began running. Jube ran for a few hundred yards then left to meet the others at the finish. Donna asked if I wanted her to run with me and help. It did. Though at this point I believed I would finish, I knew she could help. I would now try to immediate begin walking when I felt a cramp. I could tell that if I didn't I wouldn't make it. Donna at first resisted this then quickly read the condition I was in and helped. During one stop, stretch, and massage on the left side of the street, a race worker was offering me encouragement saying "Don't worry, the hill is almost finished then it is flat." This did not help as I had not realized I was on a hill! As I walked I would massage my butt and I was still sane enough to feel a little embarassed.

Anyway, I got over the hill and through the last few miles. Donna was working up the crowd for me and they were responding. The barricades became more and more secure. I began wondering how Donna was going to get off the road before the finish. At about the 25.75 mile mark, the barricades were moved out and around two stretchers containing runners that couldn't make it. This was shocking and sad this close to the finish. I felt a little vulnerable.

Shortly after this, I made the turn into the park. Donna disappeared (I must ask her how she got out) and I could see what I thought was the banner at the finish. My watch showed more than a minute to get there to be under the four and a half hour mark. I felt great even though I would have to run all the wayto make it. The crowd was roaring and someone said "You're almost there, there is the 26 mile mark!" Immediately I felt deflated realizing it wasn't the finish and I would not make the four and a half hour mark however I was very happy because with 4 and 1/2 out of reach, I could now have a little short walk! It felt great. People screaming encouragement knowing what was going on. I ran through the finish with my arms and head high and I felt great for a few seconds.

Runners were being herded along the 15 foot wide barricaded path, packed elbow to elbow and though I just wanted to lay down and sleep, there was no place to do so. There were runners sitting on every space available along the curb in front of the barricades. We then came upon a few tables where volunteers were giving medallions and a "goodie" bag. I can't remember what was in the bag except for a bottle of water which I sipped on. I was feeling a little sick to my stomach. The workers kept us moving along and at the next stop we were given heatsheet blankets. This was a first for me and when I donned it, I immediately felt a warmth. It was good.

Soon I arrived at the UPS trucks and easily found mine and quickly received my bag. The same young kid was working this truck as at the corral area and I thanked him. The crowd continued surging along and down the path. Finally I found a space on the curb to sit. Big mistake! I immediately cramped up in both calves, one quad., and my arm. My legs immediately straightened out into the path of the runners. I tried to bring them in and rolled over in pain. A volunteer, dressed in military garb, a young woman about 28, black, beautiful, petite, asked if I was in trouble and needed help. I was trying to get up and continue moving but I couldn't move. We locked hands and she pulled me up and supported me with my arm around her shoulder. As she walked along with me, she said that if she hadn't just eaten, she would put me over her shoulder. I whispered "thanks for not doing that." After a few yards I could again make it on my own as I continued blindly along not really knowing whatfor or wherefore.

The line split, orange to the left and others to the right. I had the sense to go left. Immediately there were barricades with volunteers kneeling behind them removing the race chips. Runners who did not wish to keep the chip would hold the top of the barricade and put their foot on the bottom rail while a volunteer would then remove it. I leaned on the rail. It felt great. However, when I lifted my foot my leg immediately cramped. I backed off and walked it off and tried again. This time I did not put my foot up but when he (Chinese or Japanese) loosened my lace (my chip was on the bottom of my laces), I cramped again. I took off my shoe and continued walking in circles. When the volunteer finished I couldn't get in position to get my shoe back on so I continued walking along holding my shoe in my hand.

Ahead I saw the medical tent. I was feeling sick, I couldn't stop moving or sit or lift my legs without experiencing extreme pain. At the tent entrance I saw Danny waiting just outside the barrier. He told me to continue into the med tent and he would wait as long as it took. The place was full, no beds left, and a young doctor asked me my trouble. When I explained the cramping he said "dehydrated" and asked if I hydrated during the race. I explained that I drank a little at every water stop, he suggested then that what I needed was salt. He gave me a pack and said "just don't take it if you feel sick. I did feel sick so having no place to park myself in the tent, I left. Clutching my shoe and a salt packet.

Danny put my shoe on and supported me arm on shoulder as we headed for the others waiting further along. The crowd was relatively thinned out now as we were on the Central Park West sidewalk. I moved along clutching my salt packet. We met Donna Pound, Michelle, Macey-Jane, Betty-Jo (she knew where I was), Jube, and finally the other Donna. It felt good to see her. They all doted on me and I liked it!

I was cold. My heatsheet warmed my upper body but my legs were cold. Donna had brought my denims but there was no way I could get them on. Michelle however always the problem solver immediately took off her pink loose pants (in the middle of New York City) and put them on me. (She then put on my pants). This worked fine. They continued moving me along as I couldn't stop without hurting. I remember at one point leaning and stretching over the concrete wall around the park. The stretch felt good. (This was when Michelle put her pants on me). I noticed the salt marks on my running shirt and shorts.

After walking about 5 blocks, (Jube and Danny or Donna half carrying me part of this) I had recovered well enough to be able to sit in a taxi. We all agreed to meet for dinner in the village later if I felt up to it and Donna and I left for the apartment at 3rd and 4th. The East Indian driver told us, in no uncertain terms, a few stories about beautiful buildings, accidents, bad drivers, insurance, when drivers have to pick you up etc. He let us of on the west side of Cooper Square and we crossed to the apartment. I was feeling very good though it was a struggle to mount the stairs.

I laid on the bed for a bit and called Wayne. He was not in the hotel room but I talked a bit to Linda and found he had a similar experience in the run. I think I talked to Jerome. I crawled to the washroom and Donna nursed me through a long hot bath and we met Danny and Donna on Waverly Place and Broadway by the subway stop. We wanted to have a beer at Chumleys, an 80 year old speak easy hidden on Bedford St in Greenish Village. As we walked along we got a call from Phyllis in Vancouver who had Jube and Michelle on the other phone. They couldn't get through to us so they called her. As it turned out they were on our route so we soon met them and continued on to Chumleys.

BJ was missing as we had either no or poor phone communication. After much concern, mix-up, and ado, she also arrived. Chumleys is a great old beer place with about 15 ancient wooden tables, lots of noise and activity and a great atmosphere. From the 20s onward, authors visited this bar and the walls contain original book covers they would tack up when they published a book. The waiter gave us an unused section in the back and as we walked to it we had to wait as the bar tender opened a large door in the floor and went down to get a keg of ale. There were two or three old dogs in the bar. They seemed to belong there. One old dog (male) slowly moved over to the front of the door to the men's washroom and peed on the floor. I ordered a Pilsen draught and French onion soup. The best! A waitress in the place was from Waterloo and covered half our beer.

After beer and appetizers we walked to a nearby Mexican restaurant. On the way to the subway entered a little bar where "Georgia's Express" were playing great blues. It was a neat place, no cover charge but Danny ordered two Manhattans and paid $27. A few beer later, we all went home. Danny and Donna to 86th and Lexington, us to Cooper Square, Jube, Michelle, and Macey to 40th and 9th, and BJ though staying in Brooklyn, went Jube's couch for the night. Donna and I walked home through NYU and Washington Square.

Tips for future NYC marathons:

1. Plan the few days before carefully, easy on the sight seeing as this can mean a lot of walking and waiting.
2. Unless you need the social part of the event, avoid the pasta meal.
3.Get ear plugs if you are not in a hotel and your apartment is noisy
4. Leave on the last bus possible to minimize waiting time at Staten Island
5. Bring a blanket
6. Use the washrooms early, and look around as there are some in the back with smaller lines
7. Don't count on a washroom being available just before the run begins so plan an alternative
8. Line up late
9 Don't get in a group with a time too far behind what your aim is.
10. If you stop to drink from water stops, a good method is to curl in just after the last water table.
11. Expect and prepare for the long view when you turn onto 1st Ave.
12. Rip-off long sleeves would be good.
13. Prepare for an evolution in your time aim.
14. Plan on things to focus on.
15. Trust the weather report, it's not like Halifax.
16. Expect long grueling waits before and after.

Mark