Road To ING New York City Marathon 2012 - Pilot Episode
But why New York City Marathon?
I don't know the exact answer to that question. Maybe the fact that INYC Marathon is the world's largest marathon. It is also one of the World Marathon Majors which a total novice like me can enter. I first heard about it back in November 2008, on a shuttle bus from work site to Ras Gas canteen when I heard someone behind my seat, who has just came back from INYC Marathon proudly sharing his experience with his mates. I was eavesdropping. He was saying that the event was like one big party where hundred of thousands if not millions of spectators showing their support to the runners by lining up the streets singing, dancing and chanting. He said you don't need to be a runner to participate. There are many walkers joining the event just to experience being in one of the greatest marathon races and enjoy the sights of New York on foot. I was listening in awed.
One thing though, it is not easy to get in. The organiser receives about 100,000 applications annually for a maximum quota of 47,000 runners. You can enter either by meeting its qualifying time of 2:55:00 (men 18-39 yrs) or running for charity bodies or entering a ballot for the remaining places. The odds to get selected from the ballot is slim. Some people tried it three years in a row before guaranteed a place the fourth time. But I must be very lucky. I submitted my application on 23 April 2012, two days before the closing date on 25 April 2012 and did not expect anything. I even decided to register for Penang Bridge International Marathon 2012 when the on line registration opens on 28 April 2012.
I was jumping up and down when I received an email from the organiser on Friday 27 April 2012. I don't know if the feeling is comparable to winning a lottery, but it was surreal. I was just talking about it with my running mentor Tee Morgan during our Friday run in the morning earlier. Tee just came back from running the London Marathon and planning to run in New York next year. I was trembling and could not believe the fact that I will be running my first* marathon in New York. In the world's largest marathon. Alhamdullilah.
With 189 days to go I believe I will be ready to conquer the streets of New York below 4:30:00. If Oprah can finish her first and only marathon sub 4:30 hrs SO CAN I.
* This is technically my second, I ran my first marathon in 1994 but finished outside cut off time. No medal and certificate to prove.