December 08, 2011

Inside A Marathon: Run, Forest, Run...

Central Park's runners' shadows...
I'm sorry, here I go again....

Not a week - [if not a day] - goes by when I don't talk about my adoration for NY Central Park, especially the Central Park Reservoir, but that's because it is not only beautiful, it is also rare, and it is a rather 'odd' forest-y gem in the middle of one of the heaviest urban cities in the world - [excluding Hong Kong and Mumbai, of course] - where one would expect to see no green lands and ponds with various kinds of ducks in it... Moreover, Central Park is, perhaps, the only place - [not counting some small parks and water promenades in the NYC boroughs, like that long beautiful scenic promenade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn] - where ALL of the New Yorkers can work out at  - any time of the day - and do all kinds of sports, from tennis to rugby... However, one of the things that defines Central Park is... the marathons!


Running the 'main' road in the park...
Central Park plays the essentially central part of all the marathons happening in the area - from city marathons to local competitions of some sort. I can safely say that I've been a witness of very many marathons, and while I'm not such a marathon watcher - [neither I'm a participant, as I prefer to run at my own pace and solo] - I do make a stop to indulge in the buzz of the others who watch. I really like to see the ambiance of the atmosphere, the joy and excitement of the others and to capture all there is to make such events, like marathons, so both popular and meaningful... I can say that it does really make me proud of the city, when I see so many people being healthy and being physically active, while the others cheer on them in appreciation for their effort to both do good for the others - [charity marathons] - for themselves, and for the city altogether... (Check for upcoming marathons here.)

Coexisting fitness environment of the park: runners, bikers, roller-bladers, skaters - you name it. All of it and more - at the Central Park of NYC.

But what surprises me the most, every time I witness a marathon of some sort is the fact that - [as I stereotypically believed long time ago] - the participants don't come in the greatest athletic form, meaning - they are not necessary all lean and with muscle definitions. On the contrary, they come in all shapes and forms, tall and skinny, short and big, young and elderly... It was a rather refreshing revelation that made me realize long time ago that it's just one more reason to really love the country - USA, because unlike in many other countries, especially in the Eastern Europe, USA allows everyone to be who they want to be and instead of discouraging and discriminating against some sort of 'defect' or 'imperfection', it's on the contrary encourages everyone to try, to excel, to become best of the best. 

As you'll see in my photo report of one of the marathons I shot over a weekend in the park, I captured the moments of elderly runners - [I really wished that I could run marathons at the age of those runners that I've seen, they were inspirational to me...] - and runners of various ethnicity and physical attributes. I also liked the fact how women run along men in the same kind of competition, it's not gender biased. That's said, I encourage you to see one of those weekend marathons at the park (here's one site to visit for that, click here). I could promise you that it'd really inspire you to either try something new and/or excel at something old...


Here's a glimpse into one of the recent marathons I witnessed at the park. As it happened, while I was shooting the runners, I didn't realize that I actually captured the very winning moment - the winner of the marathon. As I zoomed my camera, I've heard the voices and cheers in the background, screaming "And heeeerreeee's our wiiiner..." 








Another thing that truly amazes me - [pardon for being too sentimental about it] - is how the city and independent groups and individuals support these kind of events by providing certain comfort and accommodations for the participants - from hot tea and coffee to clean water and towels...What's there not to want to run a marathon, then?



And the winner is....:

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