Monday, 16 November 2009

The Manhattan Project

The penultimate blog comes from my cousin, Melanie, who kindly came to support me in San Francisco and New York. You may recall from Mel’s previous blog (Journey Of A Thousand Miles, Sunday 30 August 2009), that the San Francisco Marathon inspired her to get running. Next stop is the Vancouver marathon and half marathon on 2 May 2010.

Before I hand over to Mel, I’d like to apologise for the confusion created by the reviews at the end of last week’s blog (The French Connection, 9 November 2009). Many thanks for the deluge of supportive emails and phone calls from those of you who were outraged at the blog’s harsh treatment. I can confirm that the reviews were firmly tongue in cheek. On the one hand, I’m pleased that the blog has such an air of credibility. On the other, I’m disturbed at how plausible Lawyer’s Digest’s comments appeared. Tune in for the final fivemarathons blog next week, when I shall be discussing the benefit of carbing up from spaghetti trees (

It’s hard to believe that a busy and exciting city like New York would embrace any one particular event, but you could certainly feel a buzz in the atmosphere surrounding the NYC Marathon. Arriving in New York several days before the event, I was met by numerous promotional sights: banners, bus advertisements, billboards and even a “ticker tape” display running along one of the buildings in Times Square. Dunk had told me that if I had thought the atmosphere around the marathon in San Francisco was great then New York would be “electric”. He was right.

Warming up for the International Friendship Run, 31 October 2009

Venturing out and about in New York prior to the marathon, we as Dunk’s support team (his parents, my Mum and me) had many enjoyable encounters and conversations with native New Yorkers and other visitors. Wearing our fivemarathons t-shirts was just the invitation for many people to enquire, “So, you’re here for the marathon?” Hearing the stories of other participants and friends and family gave the marathon a bit of a small town feel in the midst of the Big Apple. With 42,000 plus runners in and around Manhattan, you can imagine what fun it was to connect with others in this way.

In Central Park, at the finish of the International Friendship Run

As Dunk mentioned in the last blog, we had the pleasure of running in the International Friendship Run that took place the day before the marathon. I had told Dunk ahead of time that I was really looking forward to running with him sometime in Central Park, but I wasn’t expecting it to be in such an enjoyable and international event! It was the first time for me to feel a part of the special comradeship that exists between runners. It was a real thrill to run through the streets of Manhattan and over the marathon’s finish line in Central Park. Once the run was over Dunk gave me some helpful advice to answer those who asked what I was doing while in New York. He said, “Tell them you went to New York for the marathon and ran with your cousin.” Sounds good to me!

As you might expect, I was excited to see some of the sights of the city. Having traveled there a few times before, I had covered the typical tourist agenda: Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Harlem, Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island, etc. Since Dunk had also been in New York previously, I was hoping that he would like to share some of his favourite spots. Imagine my anticipation on the day before the race when he hailed a cab and instructed the driver to take us midtown by the New Yorker Hotel. I was eagerly anticipating some great sightseeing or shopping. Now imagine my reaction when the destination was the discount clothing chain, K-Mart, where we proceeded to hunt down some inexpensive clothing for him to discard just prior to the race. Add to that the joy of eating generic pasta (cafeteria style) at Sbarro’s the two nights before the race and you get the drift that this was a working holiday! Take it from me, your best bet is to hire Dunk as a mountain guide and someone else to tour you through New York! All joking aside, we did manage to squeeze in some decent fivemarathons team power shopping. Also, we were very pleased to be able to see the newly commissioned USS New York, containing a 7.5-metric ton bow stem fashioned from steel taken from the World Trade Centre site.

With Dunk at the marathon finish line in Central Park

Finally, Dunk has asked me to provide here a brief update on my running. As some of you may remember, I became inspired by the experience of the San Francisco Marathon to try running again. It has been a steady pleasure to run regularly with my husband through our small town. As we start to stretch out the distances, our frequent companions here are dogs and pick-up trucks while running down often dusty dirt roads. One fine morning recently through the fog we saw a buck (male deer) in the distance, standing in the centre of our path. He stared us down for some time and then moved off into the bush, only to return shortly thereafter to assert his territory. After much yelling and hollering on our part he finally ran off for good, much to our relief! Such are the joys of smalltown Alberta life! Presently, we are eagerly training for the Vancouver half marathon on 2 May 2010. We’re thrilled that Dunk will be joining us and other family members to run the marathon (

Journey's end

I told Dunk that his fivemarathons was like a drop in a pond with ripples flowing outward. I am certainly one of those ripples who have been blessed by this venture of his. Thanks, Dunk, for the inspiration and joy you have brought to so many by undertaking this grand plan! You may never know the full extent of what you have accomplished and how many lives you have touched. God bless you!


Barcelona, 1 March 2009
3 hrs 57 mins (new PB)
London, 26 April 2009
4 hrs 01 mins
San Francisco, 26 July 2009 3 hrs 43 mins (new PB)
Berlin, 20 September 2009 3 hrs 46 mins
New York, 1 November 2009
3 hrs 53 mins


Coniston 14 (14 miles), 28 March 2009
1 hr 48
Humber Half Marathon, 15 June 2009 1 hr 40 (new PB)
Congleton Half Marathon, 11 October 2009 1 hr 33 (new PB)

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004