Monday, May 28, 2012

Events: Buffalo Marathon: First Person Perspective

QCLA and 5000 of our closest friends ran a half or full marathon yesterday: For those of you who have never run a half or whole marathon, there are two things to remember. 1) its more fun than you probably imagine, and 2) it's harder than you probably imagine! Yesterday your friendly neighborhood QCLA ran the half marathon under absolutely perfect conditions, high 60s and cloudy (remember running weather and beach weather are two totally different things!). Last year it hit sunny and 80 and was exceptionally hot and difficult.

  The course itself was changed this year too, and i have to say i think its a big improvement. It went from 4 overpasses down to one (that you used twice) and for someone like myself, who isn't an iron man, it was much better. It brought you close to the waterfront during several different portions, which is always a good thing. Plus all the spectators lined along the streets was super gratifying, with bands of people lined up at random street corners and roads. Nothing can lift your spirits like random people cheering you on...
Also super cool this year was live bands playing along the route. One was in front of the famous Swany house, who was playing the Violent Femmes on the way by, and the other was a band on the "out and back" at the marina playing Suzie Q, would could be better than some classic rock to get your spirits up.

Another great thing that you don't often see or read about is all the people who aren't at the front of the pack, and what they're running for. Almost the whole race we were running with two Servicemen in full gear with a giant American Flag tucked into their backpack. Many people had tshirts with the names of loved ones who have passed away or are currently fighting a disease, and they were running with them in their hearts. I saw a shirt with "In honor of Cabalo Blanco, my 1st marathon", someone who was inspired by the great "White Horse" from the book "Born to Run" and decided, after he passed away a couple months ago, to honor him by running a marathon. There is so many inspiring people that surround you on your way through the race, that you can't help but feel extra energy from it all.

Officially,  Kiplangat Tisia of Rochester won the men's half-marathon in a super quick 1:05:08, and Natasha Yaremczuk of Paris, Ont., won the women's  in 1:21:30. which is completely insane in my mind, and the winners of the mens and woman's overall full marathon were woman Elena Orlova of Russia, 42 years old in 2:43:48, and the men's was Josephat Ongrei of Kenya, in 2:20:26 . The perfect conditions allowed for the womans masters record to be crushed by 15 minutes by Elena. Really though, everyone who showed up at 7am to put their bodies through hell for their mothers, daughters, husbands, others, and themselves, are winners.
Whats in it for you at the finish line? How about massages, food, beer and drinks. That's how you celebrate!

Overall this year QCLA took a slow but steady pace, finishing the half in 2:35, but i had an excellent time and will definitely be doing it next year! I ended up never hitting "the wall" either, which was very, very unexpected, because as runners know, breaking through the wall is the hardest thing in all of running.
Watch out top runners, you might only lap me once next year!!!!

Here's a photo of QCLA's Bob Z after the finish line... (Sweat included!)

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