Spectating the Marathon

The idea of running 26.2 miles may make most of us nauseous. But 37,000 people disagree. They will be parading through New York to show us how wrong we are. The least we could do is rouse ourselves, grab a couple bear claws and a coffee, and cheer on these fools. Here’s a quick primer.

The official site includes a helpful spectating guide as well as a cryptic, but addictive race simulation. Here’s a music video to give you a taste of race day. The site’s training guide reminds us why we will be spectating, not running. It offers more than 500 words on how to manage race-day pain. On blisters they have this: “Keep in mind that if you experience a serious blow-out, there will be medical stations near every water station after mile three.” Mindy Solkin, the owner of The Running Center sums up our general marathon misgivings succinctly, “The sport is about ‘pain management … not about ‘pain-free.’”

As always, the New York Times is proving that if you throw enough good reporters at an event, new stories pop up. Witness the divide between disabled marathoners that prefer handcycles and those that favor traditional push rim chairs. Or check out the diverse contingent of elite runners that train in Boulder, in part for the altitude boost. (The Colorado mountain town sits 5,430 feet above sea level.) And finally a marathon swag piece. Apparently the NYC marathon participants average income is around $130,000. You’d think with that they could afford to outsource the first 25 miles.

Cheering for the marathoners can be fun. Many of them post their names to their shirts so you can yell, “Go, Bob!” as Bob passes. I like to zero in on a single person when they are still 20 or 30 yards off and then cheeer directly for them until they pass. It makes for a very intimate experience. I’m also trying to come up with some good new cheers besides the skiing style, “GO, GO, GO, GO, GO…” but most of them seems a bit sad:

“Don’t give up!”
“You’re doing great. Only 14 more miles to go!”
“Look alive out there!”
“Catch that slow guy! Reel him in!”

Austin    Nov 3, 12:26 PM    #

How about, “Don’t stop. Whatever you do, don’t stop”

— Simon    Nov 3, 12:33 PM    #

Have you seen this article about how you can pay to see online video of your friends? It’s Orwellian:

“Along the course, all runners will have computer chips tied to their shoelaces. When the runners make contact with the rubber mats at the three locations, the chips will emit radio signals that identify them and their locations.”

— Malcolm    Nov 3, 12:41 PM    #

Personally, I’m a bridge builder on the race course. I cheer for the foreigners that run with flags decals on their cheeks or in traditional costumes. Go Laplander! This year, I am bringing a pocket dictionary. Vamanos!

— mike    Nov 3, 12:55 PM    #

“Nice job there!”

— Joe    Nov 3, 12:58 PM    #

at mile 21 a fan had a big sign that read “all walls have doors!” even though I was hitting a wall, I found the sign untrue. I woulda preferred, “pick it up you loser!”

— Tyson    Nov 3, 01:42 PM    #


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