New Yorkers Run to Watch Each Other Run
by Jeffrey Harmatz
Nov 06, 2008 | 2379 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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A traffic-stopping, heart-pounding event hit the city this Sunday, as runners in the New York City Marathon wound their way through all five boroughs. The annual tradition pits thousands of runners from all over the world against each other, but rather than dividing people, the marathon unifies not only those who compete but the people who come out to cheer them on.

The 26-mile route snakes through all five borough, beginning at the base of the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island and famously finishing in Manhattan’s Central Park. But most of the run takes place in Brooklyn, close to one-half of the route, more than 11 miles, occurs in the borough.

Beginning in Dyker Heights, directly on the opposite side of the Verrazano Bridge, the Brooklyn leg of the course goes through Sunset Park, Carroll Gardens, Downtown Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg, and ends in Greenpoint before crossing the Pulaski bridge into Queens.

As the thousands of runners made their way past the 12-mile mark in Greenpoint, they were met with what may be the most spirited supporters. The intersection of Nassau and Manhattan avnues just north of McCarren Park was the gateway from Williamsburg into Greenpoint, as runners navigated the tight corner with screaming supporters on either side of the street.

Not one but two bands set up on the small triangular block between Bedford Avenue and Nassau Avenue and filled the air with indie rock music as runners finished drinking (or drenching themselves with) the water and Gatorade that was handed on the street behind Automotive High School.

But it was a few short blocks from the refreshment point where Williamsburg and Greenpoint really shined. As runners powered into the turn, hundreds of locals cheered and screamed, waving banners and holding signs that inspired the competitors to carry on with the enormous physical undertaking.

A sign typifying the alternative, Williamsburg and Greenpoint mindset reading, “The Reason Ur Feet R Hurting Is B/C Ur Kicking So Much Ass” offered a flippant but encouraging message to the runners, and was just one of the many inspirational witticisms ready to provide inspiration to the runners who had already run twelve miles in approximately an hour and a half.

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