The Great Saunter of 2008

One of the things I wanted to do in life was to run/walk a marathon. I did that on Saturday and more. Shorewalkers, a New York City-based organization dedicated to preserving the city’s shoreline while improving members’ health and stamina hosts an annual walk around the island of Manhattan each May. A friend and I completed the 32 mile walk this past Saturday and it was a great experience. We set out from the South Street Seaport on Saturday morning around 7:30 am. We rounded the southern tip of Manhattan and headed north along the lengthy Hudson River. The weather was perfect for walking, partly cloudy with cool breeze and no rain. I had done much of the walk before until we reached the west 90s. From then on it was virgin territory for me. I was impressed with the development of much of the waterfront and believe that the city has plowed millions of dollars into improving its parks and recreational areas along the waterfront in the past decade. I had no idea Riverbank State Park was so cool or that there were trails that go directly under the George Washington Bridge and the little red light house. I also found the Inwood community at the northernmost tip of the island quite pleasant. I hardly felt that I was in Manhattan.

Once we had reached the top of the island, we had to start down the eastside along the Harlem River and then the East River, eventually making it to the South Street Seaport where we started that morning. The walk along the Harlem River Drive was beautiful and relaxing. Construction and lack of development near Harlem along the waterfront required that we venture into the city for several blocks before finally allowed to head back to the waterfront. By this time our legs were both sore, but we had to finish. We had come too far to stop by then. We entered Carl Schurz Park in the east 80s and were told by those at the checkpoint that we were flying. We stayed along the East River until 63rd Street and were then forced to enter the city on First Avenue until 34th Street. From 34th Street down the Lower East Side it became a struggle to keep going, but we knew we had to. I downed some more energy drinks and power bars and by 4:30 pm that same day we arrived at the South Street Seaport. In nine hours we had walked over 32 miles and around the entire island of Manhattan staying as close to the waterfront as we could. It was quite the experience.  

Although there were close to perhaps 500 people at the start of the race, we only consistently saw maybe 15 or 20. We kept a good pace (about 3.5 mph) and hardly stopped to rest, as we knew it would be hard to get going again. We ate as we walked and talked, but towards the end it was about focusing on walking and any form of verbal communication was pushed aside. It was almost halfway through the walk that it hit me that I was about to walk much further than the 26.2 miles that make up a marathon. I’ve thought about doing a marathon and can now say that the New York City marathon doesn’t seem intimidating at all. If I can walk it, that is.


One Response

  1. you both are AMAZING! we ditched the walk because i was lame and way to tired after my NICU rotation. 😦 but next year…
    i’m sorry we didn’t get to see you guys while you were here. next time.

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