July 24, 2024
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July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The 2021 NYC Marathon: Part 3

13.1: I was halfway through the marathon and I felt strong, but feeling strong half way through a marathon begs the question, “Did you forget just how big a marathon is?

(26.2 miles?)

Bingo! It’s like swimming across the deep end of the pool when you were a little kid.

You are only halfway. You still have way more to transverse before you are safe.

Anything can go wrong…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The halfway mark of the NYC Marathon is on a bridge. Literally. There’s a marker, right in the middle of the Pulaski Bridge.

(The “who” bridge?)

Casimir Pulaski was a Polish military hero who fought in the American Revolution.

(For the Americans, right?)

Yes, for the Americans. He was even mentioned in season three of the West Wing.

(Why is there a bridge in Queens named after him?)

Would you rather we move it to Bayonne?

(No, I’m asking how did a bridge that links Queens to Brooklyn acquire the name of a Polish general and American Revolutionary War hero?)

The same way we got Columbus Day.

A group of his compatriots petitioned.

In the 1950s members of the Polish community in Queens asked to have the bridge in their neighborhood named after the American Revolutionary War hero.

Once over the bridge, it’s another mile to the Queensboro Bridge, aka, The Ed Koch Bridge.

Running the Queensboro is like running the Verrazano. Long incline up … which took all the run out of me.

So, I was walking again, but that’s OK, I was doing math.


Math! Ya know, arithmetic. In my head…

(With me.)

I figured that at that pace I had a shot at breaking my 5:24:10 record. Maybe even go sub five hours.

I reached the top of the bridge…

(You mean the middle.)

And I began running with the descent.

(This feels way better.)

Then I exited the bridge and was in Manhattan at 59th Street.

(Feelin’ groovy.)



You said, “Feelin’ groovy.”

(It’s the name of the song.)

What song?

(“The 59th Street Bridge” by Simon & Garfunkel.)

So why did you say, “Feelin’ groovy”?

(It is part of the song title.)

Mile 15-18 is from 59th to 135th streets.

After exiting the bridge, I ran up 1st Avenue and now both sides of the streets were lined with spectators … and these people were nuts.

For blocks, the crowds were cheering “Iron man, Iron man!”

One very drunk guy yelled “It’s Tony (bleeping) Stark!”

All of this went on for two miles as I ran north.

Then, I heard something I had not heard since 10 o’clock … “DAVID!”

I look around. I had just run past Martin “Bodie” Bodek.

I stopped and grabbed a selfie with Bodie. My good friend had gone through hip replacement surgery only weeks before, but he wasn’t going to stop that from completing his 20th NYC Marathon. Even if he was going to have to walk the whole 26.2 miles

(You’ve done that before.)

In the words of “The Princess Bride,” “And thank you for bringing up such a painful subject.”

Picture taken, I was off running again.

Mile 18

The ramp from 135th street in Manhattan to the Bronx is always “littered” with marathoners whose run…

(Had run out?)

You could say that. It’s a ramp full of the Walking Dead … but not me. During my first NYC Marathon in 2014, I had to walk and I felt dejected that my run was gone.

I have vowed never to do that again, so I had to take my pace down a bit.

Definitely not my 10:15 pace but I was still running.

Hello Bronx!


The crowds in the Bronx are just as spirited as the ones in Manhattan and that is a good thing. There was a DJ on one block and a Japanese drum circle on the next. With just two miles of the running course in the “Boogie Down Bronx,” this borough of the NYC Marathon is the shortest, other than the 100 or so feet of Staten Island we run on before we are technically on the Verrazano Bridge.

The original Marathon course was exclusively in Central Park.

(That sounds terribly boring.)

Nah, I once ran a 60K race there.

(How far is 60K?)


No, how many miles is that?


(So, 26.2 is a walk in the park for you.)

I see what you did there. Where was I?

(Running, in the Bronx…)

I was running and there was fatigue … but no pain.

(Where is the pain?)

Who knows?

(It’s a marathon; Just wait.)

David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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