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NYRR Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M – June 23, 2019

My quest to complete the NYC Marathon guaranteed entry program continues in full force! Today, I ran the NYRR Achilles 4M race. It’s one of the few NYRR Central Park races that I’ve never run, and although I was a slightly phlegmy post-cold, haven’t run since the Mini 10K mess, I still managed to enjoy myself.

Between work trips (to Phoenix, where I didn’t even bother packing running gear and Florida, where I was sick for most of the visit) and Lior visiting, running has not been a priority. Ideally this will change, but we’ll see! On a work-related note, this is the first race I’ve run where I answered the phone (twice!) during a race. Thanks to my bluetooth headphones and running watch, it was a breeze, and nobody asked if I was okay, so I don’t think I sounded like I was dying. Success!

Race overview

This race is unique because it is co-sponsored by Achilles International, an organization that empowers people with a variety of disabilities to participate in mainstream sports. I often see the neon yellow-shirted Achilles runners and guides participating in events, and I think it’s amazing that there is an event that highlights the athletes’ work. The race had a heat for hand cyclists, wheelchair athletes, amputees, and then able-bodied runners.

Since many NYRR races are very similar, this will be a bit truncated:

Cost: $23, probably because I didn’t register early. No complaints here!

Shirt and bib pick-up: Easy, as always. The shirt is a white, lower quality tech shirt, so I doubt I’ll be keeping it. Just in case, I got a size larger than normal, because the cheap shirts tend to be snug in the sleeves.

Transportation: The race starts in Central Park, on the east side around 68th St. I could have run or taken the subway there, but I was lazy and took an Uber. No regrets!

Start time and weather: 8:30am. This runs the risk of a toasty race. It was in the mid 70s (I think) when I ran, and there was minimal cloud coverage. Luckily it wasn’t humid, so this wasn’t terrible. I woke up at 7am, chilled/snoozed my alarm for 30 minutes, dealt with some work stuff, and arrived with plenty of time.

What I wore: Whippets singlet, shorts, hat, sunglasses. I saw two women wearing leggings and long sleeved shirts (didn’t seem to be for religious reasons), and I hope they didn’t get heat stroke, because…wow, were they ever overdressed.

Course: The race starts on the east side at 68th St and goes north. This means that we ran up Cat Hill in the first mile. It wasn’t bad, and it’s probably the ideal time to run the hill, if you have to run it at all. The rest of the east side was fine. We took the 102nd St transverse, and then ran down the west side of Central Park. We hit the Three Sisters (rolling hills on the west side). Two of the hills are around 96th St (I think?) and 90th, and I’m not sure where the third is, maybe 86th St? The hills aren’t terrible, but it’s generally annoying. The hills in Central Park bothered me less than they have during my previous runs here this summer. However, I wasn’t trying to race–I told myself it was because I needed to be physically present in case someone called, but I really just didn’t want to kill myself when I wasn’t going to come close to a PR.

My time goal was sub-40 minutes (less than 10 minutes/mile, and I ran a 37:26, so that was a success! Mile 1 was my slowest at 9:31 and Mile 4 was my fastest, at 8:58. No complaints here!

Medal: This is the only NYRR race shorter than a 10K that offers a medal. It’s not flashy, but it’s still a nice touch:

In conclusion

If you happen to be in NYC during the race (and it doesn’t sell out), come give it a shot! It’s (obviously) a well-organized event, and the only variable is the NYC summer weather.

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