June 25 was a beautiful day for a long run, especially one that ended at the beach.
A few years ago, I got the idea to run the length of the A train, the longest subway line in New York, at over 31 miles, starting at the 207th St. station (the farthest north entrance at Isham St. and Broadway), not far from my house, and finishing at Far Rockaway - Mott Ave. in Queens. The run itself was about 33 miles. With the Meetup ultra and trail running group, I thought I'd put it up and see if anyone wanted to run with me. Fortunately, there was a good group of runners willing to make the journey. Between Meetup and Facebook, there were over a dozen who signed up, and there were ten of us who started: Lanny, Dave O., Leonardo, Dennis, Susie, Pru, Weihao, Joe, Phil and me. Ellen McCurtin signed up, but she gamely arrived at the start to give us her best wishes, saying that a foot problem would keep her from running. Still it was great to see Ellen and say hello!
The 8:00 a.m. start coincided with the 5:00 a.m. start of Western States in California, so we were feeling a kinship and sending those runners our support. The start was cool, overcast and humid. In Manhattan, we ran down the west side bike path, for ease of running. By the time we got to Chelsea Piers the sun came out and the temps went up. But the humidity seemed to drop a bit by the time we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Lanny and Dave had gone their own way on the upper west side, but at Chambers St. we were joined by Allison, a Tri-Life friend of Dennis, Susie and Joe. The Tri-Life athletes are really a great bunch of runners! On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, Leonardo went on his own back to Williamsburg, and Pru went home at the Nostrand Ave. station, and Allison ran with us until the Liberty Ave. station.
In Brooklyn, we essentially ran down Fulton Ave. and Pitkin Ave. before reaching Northen Conduit Blvd, in Queens and the Cross-Bay Blvd., which led to the Addabbo and Cross-Bay bridges to the Rockaways. It was roughly at Beach 70th St. that looked like a good place to hit the beach! The weather was warm and sunny, the waves were rolling, and the water was suprisingly clean! (It was filthy there just last weekend.) A perfect way to cool down and have a little fun in the water.
A couple miles later, we were at Mott Ave., and the end of the A train! After some pizza, we all headed back. So a big thank you and nice job to Dennis, Weihao, Susie, Phil and Joe for joining me from end to end! A special shout out to Phil, who ran his first ultra distance, and on his birthday, in preparation for his first ultra race this fall!!!
It was great to run in the company of these young men and women! We'll have to do it again next summer!
Pics: 1. The 207 St. station; 2. Dave and Ellen at the start; 3. The runners - Leonardo, Lanny, Phil, Weihao, Joe, Pru, Dave, Dennis, Susie, me; 4. The gang at the beach; 5. The other end!