Marathon runners in Greenpoint!
The night before the marathon I stayed up a little later and made a sign. Inspired by my friend Pete and his recent and very impressive High Five Running stint during the Columbus Half Marathon, I wrote in large letters "HIGH FIVES to Help You Stay Alive!"
I woke up early the next morning and walked down to Manhattan Avenue. Greenpoint was right at the halfway point of the marathon. As I grabbed a cup of coffee I saw the elite women zoom down the street. I knew this meant that the elite men's group wouldn't be too far behind. I got a spot almost at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue and kept my sign folded up as I figured the elite runners wouldn't want to pause for a high five. The men's leaders ran by soon after I found my spot. After about twenty minutes the throngs of runners from the first wave started coming through. I unfolded my sign and immediately started high fiving people and stayed there for the next four hours.
Being a spectator for this event is an awesome experience. I knew people would be tired and starting to hit a wall so I wanted to make sure to be there to help them rally. I yelled encouraging things almost the entire time. "You look awesome!" and "You're halfway there! You can do it!" I could see people reading my sign and then saw them smile. Some people ran over to me from across the street for a high five. Several people grabbed and squeezed my hand *hard* as they ran by. Many people smiled and said thank you. Two people who were walking by grabbed a high five and then immediately started running. Speaking from my own experience, getting high fived while running makes me really happy. I don't know how else to describe it. To be able to make that connection with someone else gives me a boost of energy. I hope I was able to do the same for the runners who ran through the neighborhood.
A few things I noticed.
The French people who were running the race were SO HAPPY! Every single one of them looked so thrilled to be running and passed by with huge smiles on their faces.
I saw about eight Koreans running the race and so of course I yelled at them in Korean. Apparently my Korean has not deteriorated too much as they all enthusiastically waved and/or fist pumped in response to what I said.
I need to work on my high five aim. Thankfully, at one point an older Polish man stood behind me and started handing out high fives as well, thus catching those missed high fives.
The North Brooklyn Runners are ROCK STARS. I think I want to check out their Monday night beginner runs.
Looking forward to next year!