By: Gary Scarano
62 miles. Officially it is called The Great New York 100M/100K Exposition, but I called it the Great New York 100M/100K Adventure race, for reasons which will soon become obvious. As it turned out , I completed two ultra races in June. The North Face 50 Miler in Virginia on June 4th and this race on June 29. In addition I completed a number of safety runs so I am sure that by far I ran more miles this past June then in my whole life. I like to write up these stories so that I can remember them. I hope you enjoy, but please don’t be bothered by it’s length.
As most of you know, on May 4th, I attempted to run the Bear Mountain 50 Miler, but fell twice and cracked my ribs, but my legs are the things that gave out. I stopped at 30 miles. After a two-week rest I began my Rockland Lake “safety runs” (Run until you can anymore, but at worse case you are 1.5 miles from car, always near bathrooms). On May 18th I did 33 miles, on May 25 I did 36 Miles and on June 1, I ran the North Face Endurance 50 Miler: North Face Endurance Challange 50 Mile DC
I thought I was ready for the next race that look very interesting, no hills, not technical (not dangerous) and in NY City. The GREAT NY 100M/100k race (www.TGNY100.com). I did not enter it in on time, but by providence, I was waitlisted and was entered into the 100K. Two weeks before I wanted to run 39 Miles, but could only make 24. One week before I wanted to run 45, but could only make 27. I felt like I was going backwards. A friend of mine, Don Mathieson, asked now much protein I was eating and I didn’t even know. I also realized that I was not taking my vitamins, but it was only one week before the race. So I took three days off and ate right during that time.
I got up at 1:30am and took a shower, got things ready and ate breakfast. At 2:30AM I was ready to leave. I drove to Don’s house. He is a real friend who agreed to drive me to the city, pace me on his bike then drive me home. On the way down, as we discussed it, it would be impossible for him to pace me. He would have to park at mile 29, ride with me to the end of the race, but then my car would be back at mile 29. That was fine because Doc Bruce Yang was going to pace me starting at Mile 43.
We got to the GB bridge which was just stopped at 3:45AM with traffic. Then it was the clubs were getting out and it was a zoo on 46th street. We did not make it to Times Square until about 4:30am. I got my wristband (no bibs) and tee shirt. Times square was full of people, packed. The bathrooms at McDonalds were close, but I pushed through the barricade to use one of the most unclean bathrooms I’ve ever seen.
I was nervous and excited. We got some last minute instructions, Anna Uzzell Harreveld sang the National Anthem accompanied by a Jackhammer (no joke, only in NY, I called I the Jackhammer Anthem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDxtA4pCT_c
Pre Race Instructions
Now before I say anything, I understand the difficulties in organizing a 100 Mile UNOFFICAL race around NY city. No closed streets, not official markers allowed. There were aid stations every 5 miles, but only water was provided mostly and we had to carry out own food. So we were the ‘underground ‘ 100M/K race. We were told that if any police stopped us to just say were out running with some friends. The race Director, Phil McCarthy and Assistant Director Trishul Lorne W. Cherns did a fantastic job, but just like everybody fell at the Bear Mountain Race, everyone got lost at this race.
Also, you really had to use your brain while running this race, reading the directions, looking for obscure markers. It was a very different experience. I have a new respect for those trackers in Africa that run down a deer by being able to differentiate that specific deer’s tracks from the whole herd. Now that’s a level of concentration far beyond this race.
We all downloaded the 4 pages of font 6 instructions, which I could not read with my eyes. They were very complicated. I did not know the city well and right off the bat I knew I would have to run with someone or I would get lost. The directions said there were little yellow ribbons to mark the trail in some areas, faded yellow chalk in other areas, green lines in other, and flour (yes flour) in some park areas. If I didn’t run with someone I was trouble.
I brought my camera with me and took some videos and completed a three minute video of the race. In addition, there were some professional photographers who also took shot and provided them to the racers for FREE!
I started slow and realized I forgot to turn on my GPS. It did not get a signal until .9 miles into the race. I found two men, one a doctor my age and another a younger man from Boston to run with. I stay with them until about mile 18 when I just could not keep up. As it turned out, they both dropped out of the race at 50 miles (I was probably bothering the so they sped up to lose me and then could not finish ☺ ).
The morning was foggy and the sun did not come out to about 11:30, but then we were at mile 21 going towards Orchard Beach. Then the sun was brutal, and it reached 92 degrees. I was running alone and got lost at Orchard beach, turned around and saw some people ahead of me that used to be behind me. I lost about ¼ of a mile. I hit mile 25 in about 5 hours 15 minutes.
For the rest of the run in the Bronx (we did not enter Queen until we crossed the JFK bridge at the ad station at mile 36, only a marathon left to run ☺). I was by myself reading the directions, but only had to stop a couple of time. It was not that bad.
Before the race a number of runners were talking about how everyone gets lost in Queens. I knew I needed to pair up with someone.
The Nightmare in Queens
After I crossed the JFK bridge my friend Don met me and I was able to change my shoes at the Mile 36 aid I can’t tell you how much that helped. There was an Ultra runner I met in a meeting in NY who had did a 9 hour 50 milers, but the heat was getting to him. He passed me on the bridge like I was standing still, but I passed him latter. I joined two other men who were also running.
In the Bear Mountain ultra I fell twice, one cracking my ribs, in the DC Ultra I fell three times, but I did not fall during the race, almost. While running with these two men I was behind them. One of men leaned down to pick up a piece of cardboard. I was wondering why when I then saw him through it in the garbage. At this point on the sidewalk, a tree had raised the sidewalk and I tripped, but right into the backs of the two men in front of me and did not fall. I was very fortunate.
Initially I was having difficulty keeping up with them but slowing my legs, due to the new shoes, stared to relax and I started running comfortably. I pass them, passed the man who had completed the 9 hour Ultra and was now on my own. It was not long before I realized I was lost. I just stop and waited 5 minutes for the one runner to come, but he did not know the way. He went into a deli to order something and I waited another 5 minutes until I saw the other two runners. I yelled at the guy in the deli that we were lost and need to make a turn about a block away and headed toward the other two runners. I caught them and was now stiff after not running for 10 minutes. They decided to stop by a McDonalds. Little did we know we were off course. Other runners were also stopping in. We all thought we were on course. The two men I was with wanted to order food and rest. I didn’t want to wait.
A man and a woman were leaving and I asked if I could run with them. We left and I followed them, but we didn’t know were going in the wrong direction. After about 10 blocks the weirdest thing happened. One of the two people I was running with was a Doctor and we bumped into two of his friends with a cooler and ice pops!!!! Now what was really weird is that we were off course and they found us. We all thought we were on course. I ate one ice pop and his friend, another Doctor, asked if I would like another which I took. Then it hit me, I had the most intense brain freeze of my life, I felt faint and thought my eye was going to pop out. The female doctor took my arm and asked me if I needed to go to the hospital. Her husband gave me his hat to warm my head. Can you imagine that after 40 miles to be done-in by an ice Pop? I waited a few minutes for it to pass, we said goodbye and started running again, of course, in the wrong direction.
We stopped about a mile later and they said we were lost. I was just following them. We had to turn around go all the way back to McDonalds and pick up the course from there.
I looked at the map after the run, what was supposed to be an 8 block run took us 62 blocks! I estimated about 4 miles off course (blocks are longer in Queens than Manhattan). All in all I estimate we lost at least an hour.
Back on track we entered the park by Astoria. There was an aid station at mile 42 and they offered me a very cold beer very nice. The man and woman I was running with took off, but my friend Don cam by with his bike and offered to pace me. I picked up the paced and was able to catch them with Don’s help. I was pulling 10-11 minute miles at this point, which is very fast after 42 miles. We were just passing Citi Field.
We then entered another part and I was slowing losing touch with the two people I was running with. They we within eyesight so I was not worried since an aid station was coming up and they usually stopped. At the 47-mile aid station, they did NOT stop. Oh no, I was alone again. I tried to pick up the pace, but after few miles I needed to take a bathroom break. There was a bathroom in the park about a ¼ mile off course so I stopped and was horrified it was closed. It was about 7:30 at night, so into the woods I went. Well, there was a man walking the path repeating very loudly over and over “oohhhhhhhhh” “oohhhhhhhhh” “oohhhhhhhhh”.. He was getting closer and closer. I just knew if he saw he it would be “ohhhhhhhh $#^!”. ☺ I got out of there quickly.
After that adventure and my ½ mile off course run I knew I would not be able to catch the other two. Now it was getting dark and reading the directions was not easy. I kept thinking and hoping that Dr. Bruce would connect with me. His last message before his phone was out of battery would be he would meet me in the park, at mile 52 but he did not know about my 62-block adventure. If I could just connect with him, all would be well.
As it turned out Doc Bruce had his own nightmare. He got out of work late, his stop and go traffic on the way and waited for me for three hours. I am so sorry he went through all of that for me. Ever those I did not see him, I really appreciate his efforts.
It was now fully dark when the directions had the strangest note “Make a left, not marked.” What did that mean??? I was not in the best frame of mind at mile 51 at this point. I wanted to hook up with Bruce and the next aid station was only 3 miles away. I turned around, went to the end of the path, came back, ran to the street, ran down the street turn around again and stopped a car driving by asking for directions. I was completely alone and felt that way.
I was off course at this point and may be 7 miles away from the finish. The guy in the car told me to take 123rd Ave. all the way down. Although I was lost, as it turned out, I was taking a direct line to the finish line of the race and probably cut off about 1-2 miles off the course. I had no idea; I just took the quickest route to the finish. As it turned out, many people in front of me also got lost after that point since I finished ahead of them. I told the race director that I was lost, off course and cuts about 1-2 miles off the course, but also got lost and added more than that on before. He said that was fine, no one didn’t get lost as far as I know.
I finished the race and a few days latter they posted the results. I was shocked that I came in 8th over all and first in my age group. The ONLY thing that this means is that I got lost less than the people behind me. Those who passed the 100K mark and went on to finish the 100 miler are NOT included below. My pace, including all the times I got lost and stopped was a respectable 15:58 only about 55 seconds slower that my 50 miler in DC.
I’m not sure, but it would be nice to run a race that is not “technical” (dangerous), not up large trail hills, and not require you to try to read directions while running. It would be nice to have a timed event where the time meant something.
Thank you all!!!
Here are the 100KM results, without the 100-mile finishers.
The Great New York 100 KM Running Exposition, June 29, 2013 NY, NY
1 Dennis Ball 34 New York, NY 12:04:30
2 Edward Plante 36 Hoboken, NJ 12:12:32
3 Thomas Alm 36 Stockholm, SWE 14:29:58
4 Milko Mejia 44 Fresh Meadows, NY 14:35:35
5 Shishaldin Hanlen (1F) 32 New York, NY 14:54:20
6 Thomas Greenberg 43 New York, NY 15:22:30
7 Jess Movold (2F) 26 Brooklyn, NY 15:31:15
8 Gary Scarano 58 Garnerville, NY 16:26:32 Pace 15:58
9 Eva Ledezma (3F) 30 New York, NY 16:36:21
10 Jeffrey Kasal 37 St. Louis, MO 16:39:18
11 Salt Shack 55 Clearwater, FL 16:42:49
11 (tie) Scott Shiba 29 New York, NY 16:42:49
13 Lucimar Araujo (4F) 57 Kew Gardens, NY 16:43:14
14 Jay Lustgarten 52 Westerly, RI 16:55:07
14 (tie) Frank Pellegrino 58 East Patchogue, NY 16:55:07
14 (tie) Jessica Woods (5F) 27 Brooklyn, NY 16:55:07
17 Barbara Sorrell (6F) 56 Delmar, NY 17:35:10
18 Tiger Ellen (7F) 39 Brooklyn, NY 17:38:15
18 (tie) Robert Villani 54 New York, NY 17:38:15
20 Talisa Hayes (8F) 32 New York, NY 17:54:26
21 Erin Petrella (9F) 36 Brooklyn, NY 17:55:10
21 (tie) Hideki Kinoshita 34 Leonia, NJ 17:55:10
My finish. At the end they gave me watermelon. It was the best watermelon I EVER ate!
Here is a 3 minute video I put together showing my participation in The GREAT NY 100 M / 100 K Race!!! I started out taking many videos in the beginning, once the real pain set in; I was just too tired to take my camera out. Every little thing takes energy 🙂
Here are some other shots