New York City: 3100 Mile About to Start
There are probably very few places in the world– yes– the whole WORLD– where an ultra runner can go out to eat with a runner from the other side of the globe, and get waited on by a world class, world-record holding ultra runner. But that is what happened Thursday night as Australia’s Sarah Barnett invited my family and moi out to eat at the famous Annam Brahma restaurant in posh Jamaica Hills, New York City. Our server turned out to be USA record-holder (6 days, etc.) Dipali Cunningham! Both the food and service were great (NFI).
Prior to eating out, my family and Sarah had gone to a nearby Sports Authority where they definitely had many more serious running shoes than most such “box stores” I have visited. I would guesstimate Sarah put in 1.5 miles (over the course of 2 hours) as she tried on dozens and dozens of models of shoes. Like many serious multi-day runners, she was trying to find a shoe with SUPPORT but that did not weigh a ton or was not too hard or stiff. The top two injuries in multi-days, shin and achilles problems, are hastened by the three arches in the foot collapsing. Minimal shoes are wonderful in their place, but even the most devout minimalists have been seen switching to more supportive shoes after several days and hundreds of miles.
Sarah and I both ended up buying similar shoes (I am not running the 3100 mile, but am trying to train 10 miles most days while working in Vermont)– also similar to what some of the other top 3100 runners are wearing: Brooks Glycerin/ Adrenaline/ etc., Saucony Hurricane and Guide, Mizuno Inspire/ Wave Rider, plus a few others which escape my limited memory at the moment. The young sales woman was amazed to have a famous runner from Australia in the store, and to see how much she ran and ran while trying on all these shoes!
Another young local Queens woman, this one working the desk at the motel we stayed at, knew about the world’s longest ultra that circles an 890 meter loop of Edison School and Austin Park. Again, this is a unique city in that people on the street who are not runners will know about the 3100 mile (and nearby 6 and 10 day held in April), YET these new Yorkers do not know about Western States, Hardrock, leadville, and other such “holy grails” of many US trail specialists.
My family and I checked out the 3100 course briefly, and were surprised to see race entrants out training on the course! I guess that even in such a long race on a short loop, course familiarity (and seeing which shoes feel best on the generally rock hard surface) helps.
Will try to post intermediate reports the next few weeks, though it will be tough as I am working way out in the woods in Vermont, far from the Internet and the ultra world (but just 280 miles due north of the 3100 mile course!)
Best wishes to all ultrarunners around the globe– and everyone, no matter where you are, think of the valiant 3100 mile (5000Km) entrants as they start their journey Sunday morning.
Checkout Utpal Marshall’s 3100 pre race post: June 15: Miracles Large and Small