Empire State Marathon

For those of you following the theme, you will know that this is the entry for the final part of my sporting triple play in upstate New York.  Of course, when I am talking about sport, I mean someone else doing something sporting and I watch what is happening and take some pictures.

The final event was the Empire State Marathon.  This was centered on Syracuse and was the first time the event had taken place.  My brother-in-law, Tom, was running the full distance.  Tom has run many marathons including in Chicago a few times but this was his first chance to run “from home”.  A nice change from having to be on the road while preparing for a major exertion!

Since it was the first running of the race, we were kind of interested in how well the organization would work out and how people would react to it.  Since it was a smaller event than the big city marathons, the whole route would not be closed to traffic.  This could be a bad thing for the runners.

As it turned out, everything went very well.  We had undertaken a recce of the course the day before to get some idea where we would be able to see Tom.  We didn’t know exactly where the police would let us go but we had some good plans.  As it turned out, it was better than we thought.  We were able to get around very easily and could effectively follow him around the course (well, lead him around so we could be somewhere when he passed).

This made watching the race more fun than was the case for the race in Chicago.  The Chicago marathon is great to see and to run since there is a high level of support all around the route and there are plenty of people running with you.  However, as a spectator, you have to plan your viewing since you need to get from one spot to another in time to see whoever you are watching and then you have to be careful not to miss them as they pass.

In a smaller race, you have a lot more freedom to move around the course and missing someone is a lot less likely.  Many times we could drive past Tom as he ran and I’m sure his fellow runners got used to the sound of us honking the horn as we came alongside.  Whether they enjoyed it, I guess you will have to ask them.

There were people along the course providing support.  One driveway even had a band set up playing for the runners.  That was a nice touch for a smaller event.  We saw Tom multiple times and got quite familiar with those that were running around the same time as him.  We were back at the finish to see a bunch of people come in and then to see him get back significantly head of his previous personal best.  Great job Tom and a great job by everyone who was involved.  I hope next year it is even bigger!

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