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NYC Marathon 2012 – The World’s Greatest…that wasn’t

What started as the desire to simply race together, culminated into a trip of a lifetime for my sister and me. Last spring, after considering our options, my sister from Vancouver and I decided to register for the NYC marathon through an international travel group, which guarantees entry. Knowing we weren’t fast enough to qualify nor lucky enough to win the entry lottery, we bit the bullet, paid the substantial fee, took a deep breath, and started to train. Even though spending time together in the Big Apple was certainly important, we were both serious about the marathon and the training. This was her first and my second where I had some “demons to exorcise“.

Through June and July my focus remained on triathlon which gave me a solid base to start a 16 week plan with running 4x weekly, plus cross training with the usual swim, bike and TRX. Training was a dream. I missed maybe 2 runs the entire time, felt strong and fast and injury free, and my three 30+ km runs were confidence boosting. I was aiming for an aggressive goal for me and started wondering in fact whether I was setting the bar too low. I started slowly tapering and reducing my volume three weeks before the race. Running during the second week I started getting calf pain which had never happened before. To be cautious, I rested completely the week before, which was a good thing since there were other issues to worry about, bigger than my calf.

Enter Hurricane Sandy. Here in Toronto, we experienced some of her wrath with high winds, trees down and minor power outages. Obviously, this was nothing in comparison to what happened in NYC and the surrounding areas. By Monday evening after the hurricane, I was convinced the marathon would be cancelled. Even though reassurances were made it would happen, I was skeptical. By Wednesday, I still hadn’t packed. My sister arrived in Toronto from Vancouver and we started considering our options. Drive to NYC if our flight is cancelled? Stay in Toronto and run the Hamilton marathon? Uncertainty loomed, but slowly things started looking up. Mayor Bloomberg was adamant about the marathon running, the NYRR was preparing and making alternate arrangements, our flight was not cancelled and our accommodations were not effected. So Friday morning, we landed in Newark, drove through light traffic into Manhattan and enjoyed a leisurely day in midtown, which was, by all appearances, operating business as usual. It seemed completely unscathed. A text from my husband that evening changed everything. The race was off. We were deflated. Why weren’t these decisions made sooner? Cancellation had seemed like the right choice from the beginning.

International runners in the city were the subject of scorn from some and told to “stop whining” and go volunteer. Some very generous people did. I donated financially but honestly felt placing the responsibility to volunteer on foreigners (and making them feel guilty if they didn’t) was inappropriate. We simply shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

At this point, how the NYRR deals with the situation is unclear. Whether deferrals or refunds will be given is still not known. I know the NYRR has some tough decisions to make and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. As for my marathon plans, Hamilton in November 2013 never sounded better.

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One comment

  • Hey Kathryn
    I feel your pain. I was also supposed to run it. I had literally just got back from the race expo when my husband and I turned on the news to see that the marathon had been officially cancelled. I completely agree with you – it should have been cancelled from the beginning. I am hoping that NYRR will at least refund part of the entry fee or, give runners from this year a discount if they want to run it in 2013. It’s a bucket list race for me so if I have the opportunity to do it again next year, I will.
    I did end up running around Central Park on the Sunday morning with about 20,000 other runners. That was pretty cool.

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