Race Report: Mogadishu Half-Marathon

by Sophie Tholstrup

While you guys were registering blistering times and smashing PRs in Central Park this weekend, NBR's lesser known Just East chapter was moving at a significantly slower pace in temperatures hot enough to melt metal at the Mogadishu Marathon. 

The first marathon to be held in the country since the outbreak of civil war in 1991, this was the creation of a couple of young British military guys stationed here, who run for London's Midnight Runners back home. They wanted to celebrate Somali running talent and try to break the narrative of drought, IED attacks and conflict with a more hopeful story. The marathon is also helping to raise much-needed funds for the drought response - more on that below!

The race is named after Samia Yusuf Omar – a Somali Olympic runner who  competed in Beijing and dreamed of doing the same in London in 2012. Tragically that was a dream she never got to fulfill. She drowned in 2011 making the hazardous crossing to Europe as a refugee.

More than 200 runners from over 30 countries competed over a 5 mile, 15 mile and 26 mile course inside the protected international area surrounding Mogadishu airport. Diplomats, peacekeepers and even Olympians braved the extreme conditions, scrambling over sand dunes, navigating barbed wire fences and fortified compounds, one particularly important military colleague even running with his own armed close protection team. 

32 Somali runners - including members of the Olympic team - competed, and proved that even when the rest of us are complaining that our faces are melting, SERIOUS speed is possible. Particular props to the Somali women, who smoked the competition in the 5 mile race wearing long yellow polyester trousers and modified headscarves.


I probably shouldn't mention this, since there were only about 6 women running and I covered several miles at more of a death-shuffle than a recognizable running pace, but since this is likely the only time in my life I will ever get to say this.... first female half marathon finisher in the house!

This race was the textbook definition of type two fun. It was unbelievably hot. The friendly water table volunteers had, I later discovered, been briefed to ask borderline-looking runners questions to check whether they were delirious. Military medical crews kept a beady eye out from the back of ambulances for runners whose brains had started cooking. Several runners were told to stop, but I think each and every one of them disobeyed orders and trudged to the finish. At one point I spotted a man with a hose spraying filthy graywater onto the ground and dived underneath it for a moment's relief. But it was WONDERFUL! I ran with Ugandan peacekeepers, Italian diplomats and Ecuadorian aid workers, high-fived Olympic hopefuls and race walkers in full makeup. An Indian soldier critiqued my running form, and I fangirled deliriously at young Somali women in head-to-toe yellow polyester  running faster over 5 miles than I could manage over 100m.

I got asked to deploy to Somalia to go and help out with the drought response while - and I say this with shame - skiing in the Alps. I jumped on a plane with a suitcase full of ski gear, had a four-day crash course in avoiding/ surviving kidnap, how to stop blood loss if someone's leg gets blown off and what to do if you find yourself being horrible to your colleagues (drink more water), and then turned up for work in the UN's Drought Operations Centre. The operations centre is full of aid workers on laptops, scrabbling for data on who needs what where, what's being delivered and where the gaps are, trying to ensure aid get to those who need it most as quickly as possible. I sit next to the water guy, behind the protection lady and am constantly bothering the food people. It's a strange deployment, in that we sit in an air conditioned shipping container in a walled compound protected by peacekeepers, and we feel a long way from the people we're here to help. Running a race with elite Somalia athletes doesn't change that, of course, but coming together around a love of running was a really powerful experience in lots of ways.

Somalia - already reeling from years of conflict - is in the grips of a devastating drought, with a real risk that the country will slip into famine in 2017. More than half the population - 6.2 million people - are in need of assistance, as failing rains have driven food shortages across the country. The drought has caused massive livestock death, and forced a quarter of a million people to leave their homes and walk for days into urban centres in search of food and water. Nearly one million children are at risk of deadly malnutrition, and cholera has swept across the country, infecting 12,000 people since the start of the year. In 2011, famine killed 260,000 people across the country, and aid organisations and the newly-installed government are working frantically to avoid a repeat of history.

I know there are a million calls on your goodwill and hard-earned cash, but this is a real case where every dollar makes a difference. It costs around $90 to feed a family of seven for a month, and around $100 to provide lifesaving treatment to a seriously malnourished infant. All money raised will go directly to the organisations making the most impact here on the ground. If you're looking for a direct and efficient way to help avert famine, please do give what you can: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sophie-tholstrup

Here's hoping that there are many more marathons in Mogadishu's future and that, as the situation here improves, these will move out of protected compounds and onto the streets, with anyone and everyone free to participate.

I'll be back in the Greatest Borough soon, and can't wait to see you all. 

NBR love,


NBR Represents in the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon

by Kevin Grevemberg

This weekend myself (Kevin Grevemberg) and fellow NBR'ior Fernando Feria flew out to the City of Angels to run the LA Marathon. Neither one of us had a particularly stellar train-up leading up to this - in fact we both would freely admit that we were woefully underprepared for the endeavor. Fernando and I discussed at length during our "too little too late" Narwhal 20 milers what strategy we would follow in order not to die out there. We settled on going out slow then shooting for a 4:30 finish time – seemed doable.

We met up in LA and stayed with NBR alum's Todd and Chantel aka the Chantodd™. They were incredibly gracious hosts. Since I had abandoned any notions of a PR or a BQ long before, I didn't experience the jitters I had while picking up our bibs at the marathon expo. In fact, the warm weather and sunshine had me excited! We basically did what you shouldn't the night before – aka drank too much alcohol and too little water which was only offset by the amazing pasta dinner that Todd prepared for us.

We left a bit late and arrived at the shuttle bus pick-up 10 minutes too late and were told the last bus was gone. Fernando then asked the transport captain "Well what do we do now?" Before he could answer, a handful of other stragglers showed up as well as another bus. The transport captain told the driver in broken Spanish to take us to such and such point and that we would have to walk the rest of the way to Dodger stadium. The driver nodded and we took off. Whether he hadn't understood the instructions or didn't care, he proceeded to take us all the way which, was great as we would definitely gotten lost and missed the bag check.

Fern's late sign-up for the race put us in the very very back in an open corral. This was good, as it kept our speed in check for the first two miles until we picked up Todd, who had agreed to pace us Bandit-style the whole way. Todd was basically a combination sherpa/tour-guide giving us little tid-bits about what to do and where to eat in each of the neighborhoods we padded through. Mile after mile peeled away and I was struck by how enjoyable this was turning out to be. We weren't in a hurry and not worried too much about splits. I started to get a bit of an IT warning shot across the bow around mile 17, but after a good stretch during a bathroom break I shook it off. Looking at our split times post race we had basically started to negative split after the first 25k and kept that up for the duration. We ran into an awesome Cheer squad led by Chantel and their running team Republic somewhere in West Hollywood. The photo speaks for itself - we were actually still having fun deep into running a marathon!

As we passed mile 20-21, we conquered our last big uphill climb - the rest was cake. When we hit mile 23 we did something I have never been able to do in a marathon - we started to drop the hammer getting faster and faster. The last mile we clocked a 7:20 pace - a far cry from the 10's we had been doing in the beginning. Todd, who had been taking short vids right behind us the whole way, hilariously stuck with us almost to the bitter end until course volunteers standing next to signs that basically read  "bandits GTFO!" finally drove him off 100 meters from the finish.

We did it. We didn't die. I finished my 3rd marathon and more importantly Fern finished his marathon marathon - his 26th. Not only that – we "crushed" our goal time crossing the line at 4:17:38.

Can they all be this fun? NYC marathon see you in November...

The SRC Blue Point Brewing 10-miler: My Hometown Run

by Pete Schwinge

Growing up in Patchogue was nothing extraordinary, it was a decent sized town with not much excitement on Main St. (7-11 and Gino’s pizza were the only late-night stops, and Swezey’s is where every mom bought their kids clothing). We mostly we spent our teenage years driving around to Port Jefferson or Huntington - where the action was.

Fast-forward to today. In the last 5-8 years, Patchogue has exploded with nightlife, restaurants on-par with the city, and has turned into a destination town midway between the city and Hamptons with access to Fire Island. Blue Point Brewing (technically in Patchogue) started in 1998 and quickly reached high levels of recognition (The award-winning Toasted Lager is a personal favorite). The Sayville Running Club (SRC) and BPB teamed up in 2010 for the inaugural 10-mile Run to the Brewery, and in the last few years have gone from numbers in the low hundreds to over 1,300 runners this year.

The run is a “USATF sanctioned event over a USATF certified course covering a flat and pleasant 10 miles through the suburban roads of Patchogue, Blue Point and Bayport.” There’s no pomp and circumstance to kick off the race. Words emitting from the portable bullhorn was barely audible and the air horn sounded the start. “Oh, I guess we’re starting!”. There’s no corrals, “Where is the B corral? I’m on the B-squad...ya know, I’m on JV track!”  So naturally, you found the NBR crew all congregated toward the front of the pack!

The vibe is energetic, and the runners are competent - all levels - but mostly there to run (and eventually, drink!). It was a quick pace throughout the flats with only a minor uphill around mile 8. Unfortunately, at mile 9 it was where I found out my childhood dreams were crushed when I noticed they had closed the tiny restaurant shack known as Flo’s. All I could think about my innocent years of playing on the beach and eating grilled cheeses. A little part of me died inside. Ok, I’m over it now. That was also the time I caught up to Orlando and yelled “1 mile to go. Woo!” in which Orlando glared at me with the ‘who-are-you-and-why-are-you-yelling-in-my-ear’ Then he smiled and took off. I never caught back up to him.

The after-party consists of a cover band playing your favorite hits of the 80s and 90s “Don’t Stop, Believin’” while under ‘semi-heated’ tents with some post-race food, snacks, and most importantly...Beer! The NBR crew totally commandeered one of the heaters and huddled around telling campfire stories while ingesting plenty of liquid barley and hops fresh from the kegs. Overall, a fun and successful event!!

Notes: Remember to drink lots of water before you start on the beer. Helps prevent the dehydration headache (speaking from experience). The bib pickup is not as efficient as many of the runs we’re used to - and only later that night will you realize Madeline Hanley is not a 35 y/o male named Matty Hanley (sorry about that, Madeline!). Plan ahead and carpool or stay at an Airbnb the night before. The Patchogue train doesn’t get there early enough.

And finally, why NBR is comprised of such an amazing group of people. Carpools for everyone either going out the night before or morning of. Caitlin gets major props for coordinating the Airbnb for the people going out the night before - next time though, put Large Hot Tub with 80s neon lighting on the front page of the brochure. The group dinner was wonderful and chill night out that comprised of burgers...and more burgers...and great conversation (“Our table is where the Magic Happens!”).

Blue Point Brewing was recently acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev and moving to a much larger space in town and are planning on more events. Therefore, this run could only grow from here. I would gladly take the lead in seeing how we could add this as an official destination race for the crew and see if we could possibly get some guaranteed spots, and whatever else is involved. It’s worth the trip, with a great crew of people.

P.S. I noticed a few November Projects there, but only one Dashing Whippet.

P.P.S When I said NBR while picking up the bibs, the woman responded with, “Oh, I know the group, I’ve run next to your jerseys many times!”

P.P.P.S. I PR’d by 58 seconds...go me!

NBR's 2016 Racing Year

by Logan Yu and Danielle Carrick

It's been another great racing year for NBR! In 2016, we had 508 (275 men and 233 women). runners cross the finish line at New York Road Runner races.

nbr race finishers

NBR raced year round and the most popular distance was the half marathon with 572 finishers.

nbr race finishes by distance

5505004504003503002502001501005001. of NBR FinishersRace Distance

The Brooklyn Half led the way as the most popular race followed by the NYC Marathon.

2016 races with nbr runners

Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon 2016NYC Marathon 20162016 NYRR Staten Island Half2016 New Balance Bronx 10-Mile2016 Scotland Run 10K2016 United Airlines NYC Half2016 Front Runners New York LGBT Pride...2016 NYRR Ted Corbitt 15KNYRR Washington Heights Salsa Blues ...New Balance 5th Avenue Mile2016 NYRR Al Gordon 4M2016 NYRR Five-Borough Series: Queens...2016 Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run2016 NYRR Team Championships: Men 5MNYRR Retro 4-Miler2016 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K2016 Jingle Bell Jog2016 NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K2016 City Parks Foundation Run for the...TCS New York City Marathon Tune-Up (18M)2016 Gridiron 4M2016 NYRR Team Championships: Women...2016 Run as One (4M) Presented by...2016 Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K2016 Boomer's Cystic Fibrosis Run to...2016 Japan Run 4M2016 France Run 8k2016 Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff (5M)2016 Memorial Sloan Kettering's Fred's...NYRR New York Mini 10K2016 Race to Deliver 4M2016 NYRR Spring Classic 10K2016 New Balance Bronx 5K2016 MORE/SHAPE Women's Half-MarathonNYRR Queens 5K2016 NYRR Staten Island 5K2016 NYRR NYC 60K2016 Achilles Hope & Possibility (4M)NYRR Flushing Meadows Summer Classic2016 NYRR Pete McArdle Cross Country...2016 NYRR Harry Murphy Cross Country 5K2016 Kurt Steiner Cross Country 5K2016 Henry Isola Cross Country (4M)NYRR Fred Lebow Cross Country...050100150200250300 301 166 121 120 113 107 92 92 81 80 72 68 68 63 58 49 44 43 42 41 40 40 40 39 36 35 32 31 30 30 26 22 16 13 7 6 6 6 5 4 2 2 1 1Number of NBR Finishers

NBR had tons of runners with 7+ races.

most frequent nbr racers

james lulogan yucaitlin shukevin kalbjohn mcgovernreginald stacoserene brownhannah dotyadrienne markowskijennifer colonlindsay florasara heegaardneil ruffellgrace lumaria elena pombojohn slaskiteresa curtingregg baldingerjennifer herrbrinda ayerangela ortizdaniel simsmichael hillciaran o'donovanwataru iwatajames kingsteven gonzalezquang tonandrew arthuraldo ceresabruno esrubilskycarmelo parisjose lasallemartin friedrichsalexander stolermanashley davidsonshawn youngorlando cruzchristopher wheeleralvin chubruno buzzettielizabeth floodpeter mendersonlauren perkinsbryan keanestephen tranterbomina yuangel guiloffmadeline hanleychristian fischerpolly joneschristopher berndtjessica boucherlou figueroavalerie floramarcin polakbeverly walleyalison berkowitzlauren tartepeter schwingejohn breenabby pribbleseth pompanantje kristin watermannkalliope whiteeric powellkarina christiansensophie fabbrimichele berardijoe chandrew reynoldsross luebeanthony thomassophie tholstrupstephanie ferrellmatthew schenkerjesse gerstinfred martellerica silbigeralexander walshmarie figueredobrandon wustanley leecarlos salazar riverajeffrey smithselaelo ramokgopacaitlin leejane wattsnicoletta lakatossarah murphyattila maczakolan kenneallylane rettigisaias lopez cobohugh mcdonaldalexandra ceronmatthew stevensarlena yuennatalie ellercarolyn laikatherine stapletondavid gosslanie van heerdenalun williamsjeff poindextercraig kochislisa zhuanna spinnerksenia kagneryotam barkairoma van der waltsylvia fengbrent doylealexander woolvertonfernando ferialorenzo simionatomathew krothian macdonaldfrancesca wedemeyerdamian romerorebecca adescynthia tobarnathaniel hobelmanabbie pughmeghan duffygabriel castanodavid bullardcristina cartagenaalexis kimdelcy winterschristian escobaremily lawnicklas holmluis deliasmeaghan fitzpatrickdaryl valeriorobert schrettltoni mayoross freilicheunice coronamarie barnettkristoffer hedstromnicolette st lawrencejennifer danielsmichael mestrandreagene soboldavid hartstoneemma raubcarolina herrerabrian morganlillian wolfsondana longanthony petrillosean laudekara fanellinick peggmatthew eberhartbom (diane) parkrebecca hirschklaustephen boyd02468101214161820Number of NYRR Races

NBR finishes varies by age group, with the 30-39 year old range being the largest chunk.

nbr finishers by age

NBR saw a lot of runners reach 70% AG in their best race this year.

112 NBR runners had a finish above 70% AG.

70%+ ag finishers

ned boothquinn batsonciaran o'donovanangela ortiztim jeffreysjames chualexander walshben leesestephen tranterlauren perkinsbecky schaumbergkalliope whitelaura cooganmarie barnettnicolette st lawrencelogan yusean mickajoe chanalun williamsjustin parkerdrew reynoldschristopher wongsteven fahmieadam berrybill walkowiczalexander woolvertonblake arnoldlucie beatrixnoah mccolllillian wolfsonjeff poindexterandy kiferjennifer danielsmichael hillpavel marosinconrade welchlindsay harkemajohn montesgregg baldingerevan cooperjohn mulvaneyanthony watkinspaul robinsontaeya konishi schogelsara heegaardcraig kochissean lauderyan shanleysamantha johnstephen stoweelodie pinotjoshua hatcherseth keanheather irvinemartin branch-shawjim isemananne barryalexander stolermanrebecca adestien-tien yumatthew eberhartjennifer mcnameewataru iwatajefferson gatrallrebecca turnbullmeredith mahoneyjason hanrahanannick lamarjoseph whiteben nilsestuenbearden colemanlinda danielskevin drummondadam smithemma raubetienne sabatiertim holleyjordan harrisonmiriam beyercamilla hamptonshane clarkecolin dungannicoletta lakatoskenneth allenkate connollystephen bonicabrinda ayeranthony thomasharold poolemichael stermermelody feoshawn youngelizabeth floodjessica bouchermatthew schenkerroma van der waltmax frumesmichael kimelmankarina christiansensarah murphyderrie davismeghan duffymasha portianskyandrew wanliss-orlebarthomas virziconnie friedmadeline hanleyjeffrey skaarbruno buzzettithomas boardmansteven kvalheimerica silbigerdelia springstubbalvin chu7072747678808284868890 84.98 84.58 83.49 82.37 82.3 82.12 81.93 81.19 80.69 80.57 80.48 80.45 80.19 80.15 80.1 80.1 79.55 79.3 79.27 79.06 78.94 78.87 78.83 78.81 78.65 78.47 78.38 78.26 78.13 77.85 77.82 77.7 77.59 77.55 77.37 77.28 77.19 77.07 76.33 75.92 75.86 75.83 75.82 75.64 75.41 75.23 75.16 75.15 75.09 75.04 75.03 74.97 74.88 74.81 74.76 74.54 74.53 74.48 74.36 74.17 74.11 73.99 73.88 73.84 73.76 73.73 73.71 73.62 73.53 73.46 73.45 73.45 73.43 73.38 73.34 73.33 73.15 73.13 73.11 73.03 72.99 72.86 72.71 72.63 72.53 72.36 72.34 72.29 72.11 71.87 71.43 71.35 71.32 71.26 71.21 71.01 70.99 70.92 70.85 70.76 70.68 70.67 70.62 70.59 70.56 70.47 70.44 70.39 70.37 70.37 70.3 70.12 70.1 70.07Best AG% in 2016

Congratulations to all. We're looking forward to many more miles in 2017!

Taeya's NYC Marathon Race Report

by Taeya Konishi Schogel

Since my mind wasn't all set for this marathon to beat my previous time, I was so relaxed, that on race day I was waiting for the train to get to the ferry terminal and realized that I forgot my throwaway clothes.  Luckily there was a deli right there so I bought trash bags. That was good news.  Then I got to the train and realized that I wasn't wearing my Garmin. Oops, I forgot it!  Since I was running with Miguel, I was ok without a watch. After that everything was fine.

I was worried that I couldn't carry 3 gels and 2 salt packets that Miguel gave me. I put some under my gloves, and some in my shorts pocket. I was holding one of the salt packet for easy access, but because I was wearing gloves and thanks to the wind, I lost one of my salt packets before reaching mile 2 :(  Then, I don't know at which mile I took one of the gels, but at that point I was carrying my last salt packet in my hands while taking the gel and water.  Somehow I lost this unopened packet AGAIN!  Then on Lafayette avenue my shoe lace came untied, at this point I was thinking "Great!  What else can go wrong in this race!?" I had to step aside and tie my shoe. Then, I kept going. Since I didn't have a watch and was going by feel, Miguel kept yelling at me that I was going too fast. Thanks to him, I kept the pace we were supposed to run at. The cheers from spectators were awesome! Especially the voluncheers at mile 12! Then I lost him on the Queensboro bridge.

At this point I was worried I was going too fast or too slow. I didn't know my pace that well. Then at mile 23 all of a sudden, I had a super sharp pain in my stomach. I really had to go to the bathroom, but just sucked it up and kept going thinking it's going to pass. It didn't pass, but I just had to reach the finish so I could use a bathroom. I reached the finish and didn't even look at the clock. My mind was focus on finding a bathroom. Sure enough there weren't any.  One of the volunteers told me they were outside of the exit zones ... great! I walked to pick up my stuff and felt like that walk was endless! Finally, I got to my stuff. I stretched for a bit and was trying to look up my time on the phone. It only showed me a prediction time of 3:15 so I was happy as I was shooting for somewhere between 3:10-3:20. As I received texts from friends, I had to text Angela and Linda to ask what my finish time was as I had no idea. They told me the time. It was nice to know that it went better than expected. But seriously what a hot mess I was!

Thanks again for cheering!  It's always so nice to see familiar faces thru out the course!

2016 NYC Marathon Water Table Report

by Mary Harvey

This was my fourth consecutive year working the water table with NBR, and the first time my pops joined. So you guys know, he asked me if he could join us last year right after the marathon. Duh. Yes.

I asked pops what it was like, as an outside(ish) person coming in to this, and he paused for a moment, and told me he had been thinking about it, and he was so impressed by the experience that he had no criticism. Everyone was kind and welcoming. People stepped up and filled in exactly where they were needed as soon as they saw a task to be done, whether it was filling cups, hauling trash, raking, or searching for keys.

I have to add that it was an amazing experience to have so many people wish my pops a happy day as he turns 70. Thank you all so much for including him!

NYC Marathon Race Report

by Becca Ades

I’ve had the same marathon goal since I was 16 years old watching the local Burlington City Marathon. Sub 3:00. It was the ultimate distance AND time. What could be better? It was goal so lofty that I didn’t attempt it for the next 16 years.

Not until I qualified for the NYC Marathon with the Staten Island half (with 8 seconds to spare baby!). It was time to get serious. And serious I got. I ran the NYC half and spent the better part of last spring trying to chase down a 1:25 Brooklyn (I’d been around the block enough to know the race predictor for a sub 3:00). That was not to be. 12 hours before the starting gun, I was diagnosed with a femoral neck stress fracture. The remedy: no exercise for 6-8 weeks. My heart sank.

I was able to start running again in early August. I was under strict orders not to go below 8-minute miles, and I could only increase my mileage by 10% a week. Things were all dandy and fine until I got my Pfitzinger book and realized that HOLY F***! I was already into week 12 and only up to 24 miles. I had to make a choice: I could follow doctor’s orders and maybe run a marathon for fun OR I COULD GO MARATHON OR BUST. The choice was quite simple. My mileage doubled in the next week.

The more I trained, the more magic I realized I would need for race day. Every week I improved, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Marathon pace felt hard, workouts felt hard, every running task I completed felt harder than it should. It wasn’t until a few weeks before the marathon, that I began to feel like myself again. I ran Matt Schenker’s crazy workout (the one with 800s at 5k pace sandwiched by 15 minute tempos at half pace), and I hit it out of the ballpark. Maybe I could actually do it? The 3:00 marathon was in reach for someone as crazy as me.

Race day came.  I had the ten-ten-ten plan from Jose.  The gun went off, and I executed.  The first ten miles I cranked out 6:50-something after 6:50-something mile.  I felt great!  The magic fairy dust had arrived after all!  I was really going to do this!  And then around mile 11, a familiar feeling came—one I knew from the half.  The pain in your hamstrings that tells you, I got you for another two miles. 

    I pulled it together for Bedford Avenue.  It was the most beautiful mile I had even run.  I passed Broadway and heard Linda.  I passed South 2nd and saw Ciaran, Blake, and my college roomie, who had driven down from Montreal.  The road was littered with friends!  I smiled as I passed North 10th and saw mile 12.  Jose saw me and announced my arrival on the megaphone.  I felt like a superstar.  I grabbed water from Shawn, and it was the best cup of water of the marathon!  I crossed the half at 1:30:59. 

    People told me about a wall at mile 22 or 23.  Some people mentioned it at mile 18.  NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THE WALL AT MILE 16.  Queensboro was a lonely, lonely place.  I took my only three walking steps on that Great Gatsby bridge.  And then, from behind me, I heard someone say, “Hey, you’re Lacey’s friend.”  And because even in the depths of my own self-pity, I knew better than to be caught walking, I started jogging (note: jogging, NOT running).  “You got this,” she said.  

    Little did she know how little I had this distance.  The pity fest came back stronger than before.  I’m not a marathon runner I told myself.  The furthest I go is the half.  I thought about how it was bullshit that there was no way to drop out of the race on the Queensboro except for jumping. For the majority of First Avenue, I was angry at how many people were there.  Somebody cheered “run, NBR,” to which I belligerently replied, “I AM RUNNING.”

I did some math in my head.  I had done the half in 1:30, which meant I had 2:00 to do my second half in and still get under 3:30.  I decided I could reasonably accomplish this by running seven minutes and walking three.  I’m not sure how I arrived at this conclusion, but it gave me great, great comfort.  

    This took up the rest of First Av, and I made it to Willis Av Bridge.  Some dude said, “How you feeling, North Brooklyn?” and I replied, “I feel great!” because I had promised myself I would say this no matter what.  “I haven’t been able to feel my legs for the last three miles,” said the dude.  We ran in silence for the next 50 feet.   

    A single lady greeted us halfway up the bridge, “Welcome to the Boogie-Down Bronx!” she said sweetly.  I heard reggaeton on the other side.  People were handing out orange slices. I looked down at my watch (I had considered throwing out my watch in a fit of anger earlier but had decided it would be an empty, expensive gesture), and I saw a 7 as the first number.  Maybe this race is not lost.  I smiled for the first time since Queens.  It felt like hope.

    I had a cheer squad before the bridge back to Manhattan, and I picked up the pace because…they didn’t have to know I was having a shit race, right?  I passed the bridge and was about to slow back down, when I saw Polly, John, and Co.  FUUUCK, I have to be a show-off again.  “Go, Becca!!!” And then a magical thing finally did happen: the wall of doom cracked: I could run again.

The last 6 miles felt like I’d been reborn.  I had a full-blown second chance.  I knew I wasn’t going to get my goal.  I didn’t have that miracle to fall back on.  But I could cheesily give it the best I had.  At mile 23 I looked down at my watch.  It said 2:54:00.  That meant if I ran 3 ten-minute miles, I could finish in 3:24.  It gave me a reason to pick it up.  I remembered the fifth avenue mile hill wasn’t that bad during the blue-line run, and I told myself that as I ran up it. Night Owl’s worse.  F***ing positive thinking was my only super power.  Once I hit the park it’s all down hill!  Then it’s just 4 laps of the track!  I cried when I saw mile 25.  

Central Park South blew my mind.  I could see the finish.  There were no tricks left!  I looked down at my watch.  I was in the 3-teens.  This was much, MUCH better than expected.  I sprinted from Columbus Circle and collapsed at the finish line. 

My finishing time was 3:16:50. 

I hadn’t hit my goal, but I ran the race the only way I knew how.  The only way I was ever going to run a marathon.  Chasing the sub 3.  

And who knows, I may even try it again sometime.

Team Spot Check-in: Martin Branch-Shaw

Caked at VCP.jpg

NBR: Tell us a little bit about how you came to be part of NBR. What was your first run? How long have you been involved? 

MBS: I moved to Brooklyn four years ago from Manhattan (where I had lived since the ‘80s). Having recently divorced, I sought community. I have been a runner most of my life (with the exception of a decade of decadent and questionably self-destructive, but wildly creative years in the East Village). It seemed a natural decision to seek out other runners. NBR’s visible and enthusiastic presence at local running events made it an easy choice. My next step, being a bit of an introvert, was to actually join. I spent a year waffling! Finally, I came to a Saturday Morning Bridge Run on a cold, grey, late December morning. I remember being a little intimidated – I was clearly older than the group assembled at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. Regardless, I felt welcomed and soon meet other runners who juggled active professional lives, training, travel and in some cases, children. This is where I felt the strongest connection, as I am unapologetic about the bond running has formed between my son and I (and I do go on!). 

NBR: How is marathon training going? Are there any specific workouts that are really moving things along for you? 

MBS: I believe I am the last recipient of an NBR New York City Marathon Team Spot leaving me roughly 40 days to train and taper by way of preparation! My son, Harry, is transitioning from PSAL to NCAA (Div 3), his mileage had to double so we spent the summer training. Now that he is at college, I typically log over 50 miles a week for no other reason than love of running. I’m comparably slow-ish, but feel prepared nonetheless. My favorite NBR runs over the past three years have been Monday and Wednesday nights – socially, these runs attract fantastic people. My most important night (and I am remiss in not attending lately due to my work schedule), is Thursday night track – it hurts, but if you want to get fast, do it. Thursday nights these days I am running lonely hill repeats in Prospect Park! I ran a Sunday Funday Long Run this past weekend, which was amazing with pace groups ranging from 7s to 10:30s. Like most runners, I am my own worst enemy; running with a large group is great for keeping you out of your own head and calming the voice that is nagging you to stop. This particular run, so close to race day, proved to be cautionary: I became dizzy at mile 18 and realized that my diet the day prior and morning of, compounded by my lack of adequate hydration, spelled possible disaster on race day. I often neglect the obvious and, again, advice and support from the group is awesome. 

NBR: Tell the NBR world a good long run story. 

MBS: A Facebook headline for Outside magazine caught my eye this morning, it read, “every long run should be a micro-adventure” (or something like that). That said, I don’t think I have a single long run story. What I do have is a collection of anecdotes. This is a favorite: I am notorious for tripping over cracks in the sidewalk. This is due, in part, to my shuffling gait and less than perfect eyesight. On an early summer long run, I tripped over a particularly hazardous protruding tree root on Willoughby St. I don’t mean an elegant tumble, I mean backpack spilling, water bottle smashing, knee skinning slide. Locals from the building I fell in front of watched in disbelief. On the return leg of this particular “out and back,” I made a mental note to avoid this hazardous spot but became distracted at the last moment and tripped regardless (I swear, same spot!). This time the locals helped me to collect my belongings and get back on my feet. (I noticed recently that, though not repaired, the sidewalk has been painted with fluorescent paint by way of warning). The upside (apart from new friends to high five as I pass) is I habitually scan the sidewalk or trail looking for potential danger – as a result, I have found $86 and a quite nice Lamy fountain pen over the course of the summer! Are there any NBR members who inspire you to train hard(er)? I was recently invited to join the Men’s Local Competitive Group. There are so many fast NBRiors and each and every one inspires me. Is it okay not to name names? There are dozens of competitive, encouraging, inspiring athletes. I am especially inspired by the Masters group for obvious reasons, both men and women. Since upping my training and being involved with NBR, I find I am running personal bests over times I had posted 12 or 13 years ago! 

NBR: What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR Marathon Team Spot?

MBS: Naturally, it means so much. I hadn’t even imagined myself running NY again and was very excited to volunteer at the water table for my third consecutive year. To receive the late team spot email put my office at a temporary standstill until a registration glitch had been resolved. The New York Public Library has many runners on staff! I think what means the most to me is to be recognized by so many folks whose degree of dedication to the group and the sport is unparalleled – the volunteer committee, team captains, race coordinators and tireless run leaders. I’m stoked (and nervous!).

NBR: What do you plan on eating post-marathon? What about the night before?

MBS: Pre and post-race diet is a huge topic of discussion in our household. I am a long-time vegetarian so several days before race day I will begin eating carbs (tons of pasta). I find beet pesto (Meb’s recipe from Runners World) and penne tossed with sautéed beet greens and a side of avocado with miso and ginger dressing works for me. It gets boring after a few nights but better than problems mid-race. In the name of full disclosure, I’ll probably drink an IPA of some sort, too! Morning of: bagel with peanut butter, banana and honey. Classic! I dislike gels but will carry 3 salted caramel Gu (pinned to the waistband of my running shorts). GuBrew for hydration and electrolytes pre, during and post. Post-race: I find it hard to eat after a long run/race. Chocolate almond milk with yoghurt and banana is good for recovery. I also like vanilla almond milk, kale and date smoothies. (And more beer!) 

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why? 

MBS: I love this question! My spirit animal is definitely a dog. A mixed, bully breed. Pit and
boxer mix is very close to my heart. Maybe not the fastest animal but tenacious, gentle
and loyal – and very competitive when challenged.


OMG: Last-minute Running-A-Marathon Tips

by Cherie Yanek

This is adapted from the North Brooklyn Runners workshop from the 24th of October, where we shared our ideas on how to prep for the marathon. As the Educational Member Program Coordinator, I provided framework and ideas; everyone also shared their own great tips. While this is geared towards the NYC Marathon, you can apply many of the tips to any marathon. Ultras break all the rules, so many of them won't apply...unless, of course, they do!


Last minute tapering...

  • You can't cram in all the last minute training. These last two weeks, it's about maintaining your fitness and resting. Don't try anything new, don't exhaust yourself in workouts.
  • Add in a bit of speed if you can - but nothing you won't recover from. Your mileage should be cut way down - 1/3 of peak to even 1/4 of peak. Less is best.
  • If you haven't trained properly, tell yourself that under-training is better than over-training, because with over-training you risk injury.


  • Eat normal food, nothing out of control new.
  • Old school carb deprive/carb load is out. 
  • You don't want to carb load with too many carbs. Sorry, you really don't need to eat 18 bagels.
  • Low fiber the day before. If you have stomach issues, pay attention to the fiber you eat. I know a runner who (no joke) does a liquid diet the day before races because of her stomach issues. (Sounds miserable to me, but she swears by it).
  • No beets the day before. No. Just no.

Marathon Expo

  • Try to go earlier so you don't tire yourself out.
  • Buy new clothes/gear is okay; using it race day might not be a great idea.
  • Usually cheap place to buy gels - but so is Amazon Pantry. You pay $6 for a box and you fill it with goods. But don't buy new snacks to try marathon day. No new clothing or shoes for race day!

The Night Before

  • Remember - Daylight Savings - fall behind!
  • Set as many alarms as you possibly can. 
  • Try to get lots of sleep all week long - it will make up if you don't sleep well the night before the race.
  • You should have been hydrating all day long (and all week long really) but stop drinking an hour or two before bedtime. You don't want to wake up to pee 12x.
  • If you can't sleep, try to relax. Meditate, rest as well as you can, maybe even read (but nothing too stressful ... like don't read articles about the current state of politics in the US).


Breakfast and Coffee

  • Only have coffee if you know it works. (Coffee makes you poop)
  • Low fiber breakfast - no more than 9 grams of fiber.
  • Hydrate - but maybe stop drinking an hour or so before you get on the bridge.
  • Hydration and coffee make it easier to poop.
  • A little bit of protein for breakfast w your carbs. Some examples: peanut butter on toast or bagel, banana pancakes (Don't those sound delicious?), maybe even maple pecan oatmeal (small portion, or a smoothie.

At Fort Wadsworth

  • Stay warm. Bring throw-away clothes to stay warm. Hideous is fine, as long as it's warm.
  • Keep your bib on the bottom layer.
  • They have tea, coffee, bagels, & bars - but don't try anything you haven't had before.
  • Keep a disposable water bottle to carry with you into your corral.

First Few Miles - Halfway

  • Use a pace bracelet (available at the expo) to keep track of your pace.
  • Try to stay even to your pace.
  • Don't get too excited too early.
  • High fives are fun, but don't waste time high-fiving everyone.
  • Tell spectators to wear bright clothing or carry a specific balloon or sign - it's HARD to see them, and for them to spot you.
  • Tell friends and family to track you with the app.
  • If someone loves you, they can see you three times! By Atlantic Terminal, go onto 1st ave up in the 90's, then go to 5th ave to see you one more time before they meet you at the finish.
  • Set mini-goals (vs. "I have to run 12 more miles, shoot me...."): the next water stop, the crowds at 1st Avenue; seeing my BFF at mile 20; that huge TV screen in the Bronx; etc.
  • Grab your cup - pinch it twice if you can.
  • If someone wants to cheer for you, tell them chances are, you might be choking on water right after the aid station, so they shouldn't wait right there.

The Wall

  • Get your calories in early. 100-300 calories is recommended every hour. Most people take a gel every 45 minutes or so (and take it with water).
  • Regular nutrition can help prevent the wall. If you start to bonk, liquid nutrition will be absorbed faster - and thus help you climb out faster. Gels are great because they contain more calories than Gatorade
  • Send a friend to the Bronx - helps to have someone to look forward to.
  • Set a goal - running in honor of a family member or friend - it's easier to dig deep for someone else than yourself. (I ran in honor of my Uncle Jimmy who died of leukemia. Seeing all of the TNT peeps meant a lot to me that year he died.)

The Finish

  • Last mile feels like forever, but the crowds at the bottom of the park ROCK.
  • Don't look at your watch at the finish - it will ruin your finishing photo (and how can you get your photo on the bus then??). The will have your exact time online by the time you're ready to look anyway.
  • Have your family meet you in the family meeting area.
  • If you have a drop bag, add some sandals, socks, and a complete change of clothes. Also, add a tasty snack with some protein if you are picky or if you want something more delicious post race.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Change your clothes if you can or at least get that wet sports bra off.


  • Go run the next day. You will hate me for saying it, and it can be the slowest run you've ever done (seriously, 16 minute miles is fine), but just get out there and DO IT. You'll get some of that crap out of your muscles and feel better. Then, take off the next week if you really want.
  • You will want to eat everything in sight - the next day too. Protein helps with muscle recovery. Try to eat 15-30 minutes after you're done - something with protein.
  • Get lots of sleep. You just trashed your body and your immune system is shaky - get lots of sleep.
  • The engraving on your medal the next day is pretty freaking cool.
  • Pick out your next marathon!!!!