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Having limped round the marathon as my first 26 mile race in 1996 with a stress fracture I felt that another go was essential - preferablly with less pain. Morris Tarragano from the office took up the challenge too. Who would have thought that a smoker would be such a star runner.


Most of the Marathon is about Queuing! The first big queue (after Heathrow Terminal 3) is the registration hall. After freezing outside for 30 minutes and fighting through the crowds there are lots of chances to see the stars like Grete Waitz, 9 times winner, here signing autographs.


The course takes you through the five boroughs - after two miles above water as you cross from Staten Island over the Verrezano Narrows bridge. On the day the visibility was perfect and the views of Manhattan as we crossed the bridge were spectacular.

But first you have to get to the start. The corner of 42nd St and 5th Ave was amazing at 6.45 in the morning with
rows of buses stretching into the distance and thousands of runners doing the same.


The start is all about bagels, coffee, bottles of water by the container load, hunting for baggage trucks, keeping warm once you've dropped your kit, enthusiastic Italians and huge queues for the loo - well you have to do something to kill all that time. And then suddenly under the circling helicopters and crush you are off.


Plans to take photos along the course were not a great success. A desire to keep the pace at the start, and sheer exhaustion later on meant that after carrying a camera all 26.2 miles all I got was one shot of 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Memorable moments... that bridge, and the view of Manhattan, rock and roll in Brooklyn, a million kids looking for high fives, deafening cheers coming into Manhattan, and the realisation that I had not trained enough for 3hr 7min - a very painful last 6 miles!


So how did I do? 3hr 13 is respectable but not what I was after. Hats off to Morris and his 2hr 58m, a fantastic time. Check out my split times and some comments on training. The New York Running Club web site does a fantastic job of recording the whole event. Check this out for details.

ross.cattell@dial.pipex.com