Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Do It

Do you know what starts in Boston, stops in London and Berlin, blows through Chicago, and wraps up in New York? No, not an Elton John shopping spree, but the World Marathon Majors fall season. That's right, the 26.22 mile road race that has come to signify the epitome of human physical endurance wraps up its season with the NYC Marathon this Sunday; and I don't plan on missing it. I've logged too many miles not to be there. In fact, I haven't missed the NYC marathon in over 20 years -- as a fan, of course. You'd have to be out of your mind to run that far, unless something really big and hungry was chasing you. Heck, I drive to the mailbox to get my paper! But I love being part of the spectacle that is a world-class marathon, and NYC is the grand daddy of them all.

Hey, did you know that the first marathon is said to have been run by the Greek messenger Pheidippides? The Greeks had just defeated the Persians at Marathon and, having fought in the battle, this fellow ran all the way to Athens to deliver the good news. He proclaimed, "We have won!", or words to that effect, and then dropped dead. That's a really lousy story when you think about it, and why it inspired long-distance foot races is beyond me. You'd think the lesson learned there would be NOT to run 26 miles -- even under the best of circumstances -- but there you have it. These days, the world records for running this absurdly long distance is around 2:05 for men, and 2:15 for women. Are you kidding me?! My flight from Chicago is going to take longer than that, and we'll be cruising at 600 m.p.h.

While in Gotham, I am going to stay at one of my favorite spots to rent a timeshare: The Manhattan Club. I know I have talked about its incomparable elegance and sophistication in the past, so I won't go on and on about it. But seriously folks, this is what going to New York is all about. Right in the heart of midtown Manhattan, close to everything, ensconced in oak and marble, and starting as low as $200/night. It is not out of reach of everyday travelers. Besides, it's not every day the NYC Marathon comes to town.

Well, I have to run to get to another of my favorite NYC events. The New York Comedy Festival happens to coincide with the marathon, and I am equally enthusiastic about the comedy festival circuit. Rather than cheer on the participants -- as I do with the runners -- I prefer to heckle the comedians. I figure it keeps them sharp and their material fresh. They tend not to see it that way, and I am presently banned from Caroline's, The Comedy Factory, or from coming within 500 feet of Lewis CK. For comedians, some of these guys are really wound-up tight. Maybe they should take up running.

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