Posts Tagged ‘ marathon ’

Marathon Sunday

This is the 5th November I’ve lived in Brooklyn, and every year, I get a few invitations to watch the marathon. My reaction to this is normally “why?” The idea of getting up early in the morning–and you have to get up very early to avoid travel disruptions–to stand in the cold and watch people that I’ve never met run down the street somehow never seemed appealing.

Today, things were different. First: I live in a new apartment that is literally 3 doors down from the marathon route. I could have watched the whole thing from my window if I’d wanted to. Plus, no getting up early to travel. Second: time change! I slept until 9, felt like I was sleeping until 10, and was down on 4th Ave., coffee in hand, by 9:45, just in time to get a nice warm spot in the sun, right on the curb.

The crowd around me passed the time waiting for the runners by nodding their heads to the rock band that had set up across the street, in front of my beloved Tofu Food. The band played “Dead Flowers” as the first folks rolled by in wheelchairs and other special accommodation vehicles. The crowd cheered them on. Then the police pushed us back on to the sidewalk, clearing a path on their motorcycles. Finally the runners came. The first group of 6-8 men ran in a pack, one man just inches ahead of the others. We waited awhile for the next group. The runners trickled in slowly at first, and then there was a sea of them, and the band played more classic rock and roll, and the crowd shouted people’s names and countries: Guatamala, France, Denmark, Germany, Chile, Michigan. As it got later, the runners became more creative, dressed as brides, the statue of liberty, a hot dog, a banana. Unconcerned about winning, they went out of their way to high-five the little boy who jumped up and down with excitement as they ran past.

There was a hypnotic quality to the event as the runners faces blurred together and they kept streaming by, as wide as the 6-lane road. I found it hard to believe there were this many people in the world that would want to run 26 miles. Not to mention the work beyond the desire: how many hours they must have trained, how far they had traveled, what it would be like to board the Staten Island Ferry with your fellow runners at 6 AM, what it would feel like to high five us and know you still had 21 miles to go…

While it’s unlikely I’ll ever become a runner, I think could become a sports fan. That is, as long as the sport is willing to come to me.