In a God-awful steampit of 88 degrees and 71 percent humidity, I placed my abilities (or lack thereof) to the test, in my 4th race of the year.
The Nike Run Hit Wonder was in it's first year. The concept? Have a very highly commercialized run, that would consist of having first-rate bands from the 80's that had massive appeal, and actually had more than 1 hit too.
These bands which included A Flock Of Seagulls, Dramarama, Kajagoogoo, General Public, Tommy Tutone and Tone Loc all played along the course. The course was Central Park but interestingly enough it started on the upper west side . We entered in through Central Park West & 110th street, and would head south for one entire loop (on the 10K course) around the park. Afterwards, we'd exit the park and cross a few blocks with a finish line at Morningside Park. Inside was a very large bandshell where Devo wrapped up the evening's highlights.
"Big Pussy" from "The Sopranos" was on hand to start the race, and later on to introduce Tone-Loc and Devo onto the stage.
This race played more like a rock concert than it did a race. There was a lot of local hype around here, plus they limited the amount of entrants to about 5 or 6,000 runners. The environment was electric. It was definitely more than the fact that I had moved out and was a single man again too. This race was something special and different. I felt free. And it felt great.
I had found out about this race from my friend Paul Serraino. He along with some of the other co-workers at Avon, like Stu Berlowitz, and some lady (I forgot her name now), were also running. I actually met up with them by the starting line. I don't know how I found them either because another unique feature of this race was that everyone had to wear the running shirt that Nike gave them because the shirt had the running number right on it. The technical shirts they gave us were of great quality too. 3+ years later, and I still have mine.
The weather was incredibly brutal. The crowd of people on the course made it even more stifling. To our pleasant surprise there were a couple of water spritzers along the course, but it was still too hot. The best part of the race was finishing and heading inside Morningside Park, where they gave out endless supplies of food and water. All of us walking down the hill to the meadow was an awesome sea of blue. It felt as if I was part of some kind of massive cult congregating. Well, at least I wasn't wearing purple nikes.
Tone-Loc nearly brought the house down with Funky Cold Medina, but Devo really stole the show. I had called my friend, Doug Botero and let him hear a few notes. He mentioned that he was unable to hear any of it. But then again, he never was much into them anyway. too. The worst part might have been just before the end of the race. Someone must have forgotten to tell the race directors to have the cops coordinate the traffic passing between Morningside & Central Park. It was like playing chicken, and none of the cars in that area were too thrilled about stopping either!
I never was a hot-weathered runner, and the results proved as such. My net time of 1:00:23, meant that I lumbered in with a 9:44 per mile pace. Overall, I placed 3408th place out of 4865, gender-wise I placed 1857/2288, and in my 30-39 age category I lagged in at 877/1064.
Wow, that was really bad. Well at least it was a qualifier for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Another step in the right direction.
They also gave us nice medals too. After the concert had ended, I left with Paul, Stu and DAMN.......What was that woman's name again??? We drove in one car down close to near where the train station was. And from there it was off to my appalling, if temporary, surroundings of the McGrath basement again.