Subject: Unique NY 6 Day Experiences!
…IN races that go on for days and days, around the clock, one may experience and witness happenings that may not be present or plausible in “shorter” ultramarathons.
Multiday races are a running world whose boundaries are those of the IMAGINATION.
This world of the imagination IS the world of the TWILIGHT ZONE.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, New York.
April 25-May 5, 2007.
#1) On about day 4 of the 6 day, while rounding the flowered rotary at the north end of the loop, I noticed a man pushing his car in the adjoining parking lot.
A few miles later as I passed this same spot I saw he was STILL pushing his car, seemingly in big circles around the parking lot.
A race worker explained to me that this was celebrity Guinness record holder Ashrita Furman, practicing for a car-pushing world record attempt.
For those who do not know the name or face, my kids and I have seen Ashri on FOX Kids TV, the Disney Channel, CNN News, etc. over the past year.
Besides records for pogo sticking, hopping on one leg, running with a tiger, running with egg and spoon, balancing different objects, etc. he has one BIG record– the record for the person with the most records!
#2) Most afternoons and evenings a former national class, 2:25 Canadian marathoner (now much heavier, but always smiling) would plunk his drum set under a big shade tree and start jamming away. He would adjust his tempo for each runner as they approached, thus FAST moving folks such as 6 day winner Pekka Aalto (505 miles and the most relaxed stride I have seen in years) would get a fast and loud beat while others would get a slow, almost whispering tone.
#3) Speaking of national class marathoners, on the last night of the race I was surprised to have some runners just go flying past me for several laps, probably doing 7:00 miles.
On inquiring, I found that they WERE national class runners (the guy 2:20:03 marathon, woman 2:52) out for an evening tempo run and to cheer on the multi-day runners. In how many cities and races could one have such fast marathoners cheering you on while they themselves were out for a late evening training run??!
#4) The DINOSAURS. Really. At the 1965 Worlds Fair here in Flushing my favorite attraction was Sinclair Dinoland– they had about 9 full-sized, robotic dinosaurs moving around the area in which our 6 day race ran (if you have been to Disneyland CA you may have seen the similar dinosaurs Walt Disny built there after the ’65 Wolrds Fair).
Now, 40+ years later, there are some smaller great-grandchildren dinosaurs at the south end of our loop. One brontosaurus DOES move around, but only late at night.
The adjoining dinosaur playground proved constantly popular with the children at the race (imagine that some European and NZ/ Aussie familes brought their kids along, and all camped out for the week).
#5) The biggest ducks and geese I have ever seen. A big box turtle. A snake. Muskrats. A skunk. A small pug dog chasing a big German Sheperd.
YEP. These and other wild critters danced along the sides of our bike path route. I just do not understand completely how I see so much more wildlife in the middle of New York City than in a big trail race like Sunmart, Headlands 50Km, VT 100, etc.
Perhaps all the big city wildlife was the real inspiration for Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” (and we did have one sax player along the course belting out that classic tune one day too).
AND what about the actual race, and the back-and-forth jockeying for position by the runners, and the constant encouragement of the race officials and workers?
READ all about it in upcoming issues of ULTRARUNNING magazine, MULTIDAY RUNNING, and other sports publications.
Best wishes to all ultrarunners far and near,
(right now I am off to the annual Polk Elementary School Fun Run, and 2 miles chasing 6 to 10 year olds will be a challenge!)