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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

#63: Bite-sized Chunks of the Big Apple — Part Four

Saturday, or New York City Marathon Eve, was also International Friendship Run day. We collectively rose at just before 7, grabbed breakfast and then headed out for the party.

Walking down to the United Nations building at 1st Ave & 46th St., we passed the French, who were out in force, congregating 200-plus-strong at the New York Public Library.

I had no idea nations were gathering in such a way; all resplendent in their respective team shirts and tracksuits.  Probably just as well, though, as my loyalties would have been torn.

Our party of four zig-zagged through the Manhattan streets, following the flashing fluorescent green man – and making sure we stayed ahead of the French. Anything to get a competitive edge.

Everyone – 20,000-plus people – gathered outside the big UN building for the pre-race ceremony and presentation of the Abebe Bikila Award for outstanding contribution to distance running. Kenyan legend Paul Tergat – Geb’s former foe – was the 2010 recipient.

The run got going around 9am and took in a small slice of the downtown core, before winding its way round to Central Park, finishing just before the main marathon finish.

It was a great opportunity for nations to come together; to reinforce the spirit of the marathon (especially NYC’s) and for those that weren’t running the 26.2-miler to sample what the atmosphere would be like.

Charlotte & Tony had a blast.  It was also a nice little warm-up for the marathoners, even if we were essentially only jogging.

Mickey snapped plenty of photos en route and we got some shots with the Japanese, Finns and Dutch (well, I’m not sure we actually did with the latter, but it rounds out the story).

Mr. P. was keen to bag one of the Netherland squad’s (remarkably fetching) orange shirts and we tried to entice one member into surrendering, though he politely declined (claiming it was a collector’s item or something… which it was).

We waited for Charlotte & Tony to come through, but missed them, as they were only just behind us (32 mins to our 28 for 4k).

Jogging back down the course to search for them, we bumped into fellow Vancouverite and marathoner Brooke Spence and had a few shots taken with her at Columbus Circle.

Mickey and I then headed back to the hotel via the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble – any excuse to hang out at a book store – and the Ed Sullivan Theatre (EST), home of The Late Show With David Letterman. Now THAT was very cool… and, of course, I posed for a couple of shots. The EST took a little seeking out. But Mickey manfully sucked up my hero-worshipping, seeing that I was clearly a dog with a bone.

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds. 


Stas Buttler said...

Happy Christmas! following:)

BC Johnny said...

Thanks Stas! Hope you're having a great Christmas, too. Look forward to following your mix of movie reviews and more general topics. Best of luck!