This is a week after the fact, but it's definitely worthy of mention. Last weekend I joined some friends for group long runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I led a group on a 32-mile run across all of the bridges of Manhattan Island, and Sunday Dave Obelkevich led his annual 32-mile run around Manhattan in honor of Ted Corbitt.
My bridge run is a repeat of a run I organized last March, which is why I called it the "2nd Occasional", since it's just basically whenever I feel like leading it. I first ran it solo a number of years ago, and thought it would be fun to have a group doing this urban "trek run" as I call it.
Posting the run on meetup.com and facebook, I got a good response with 17 runners joining us at least part way. 12 started at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal: besides myself there were Dave, Deanna, Louis, Amy, Maria, Leslie, Bill, Denis and three Mikes - A, O and S. After an out-and-back on the GWB, we proceeded to the Henry Hudson Bridge to zigzag across the Harlem River bridges between Manhattan and the Bronx. At first, the bridges are spaced apart a bit, but by the time you get to Yankee Stadium they're pretty close together until you cross the Triborough Bridge (I'm still calling it that). We had some runners stop partway, and some join us along the way - Grant joined us at 207th St., Susie and Brittany at Yankee Stadium, and another Mike O. and Elizabeth after the Triborough. The East River bridges are bigger and farther apart, so it can be exhausting, especially the Queensboro Bridge for me! But that just makes it all the more special to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan for the finish!
We had five runners go the whole distance - Denis, Deanna, Dave, Michael S. and myself. But the best part was just running with the very cool people, making new friends and chatting and getting to know these fine folks better. And it seemed like the other runners had a good time, so I might lead another "trek run" soon.
Same thing with Sunday's run around Manhattan. This was a different crowd, many runners who I already knew well, like Dave O. and Alicja. But Dave's been holding this for many years, starting at his apartment on West 97th St., and going clockwise, taking three breaks roughly every eight miles. It was schedule to coincide with Ted Corbitt's birthday on Jan. 31, and when Ted was still alive he would meet the runners at their first break at 218th and Broadway. Our second break was at the apartment of Dave's friend Susan on East 86th St, and Susan put out refreshments for us. It was the least I could do to play a little Bach for her, even with my cold, stiff fingers! Our final break was at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, then on up back to Dave's apartment.
I love these winter group runs, because it gives motivation to get out there and go long in the cold, dark days, and makes it fun. So a big thanks to the 30-odd runners (NOT 30 odd runners) who I ran with last weekend. Happy running to all!