29 May 2012


As declared in The Other Halves, I signed up for NYRR Grete's Great Gallop.  Since the length of the race course is set at 13.1 miles, it is a half-marathon even if the name does not mention it.  Two big loops within Central Park makes it technically a Manhattan Half.  Do not confuse the GGG with the NYRR Five-Borough Series' Manhattan Half, which also occurs entirely in CP, only counterclockwise.  Also not to be confused with is the NYRR NYC Half-Marathon, which runs through touristy Times Square and costs an arm and a leg.

The thing I like about the GGG is that it is relatively easy to get in.  It occurs in September so it is not hot.  Some people are so upset with NYRR's recent changes, like raising prices, that they really want a 5-boro half series to compete with NYRR's.  I compiled a list of non-NYRR half-marathons and called it The Other Halves.  I concluded then, and also now, that there is no non-NYRR half-mary for Manhattan.  But there is a unique half-marathon debuting at the end of May 2012.

Hosted by the Orchard Street Running Club, the inaugural Midnight Half is scheduled for May 31, 2012, midnight to perhaps 3 a.m.  The 13.1-mile course starts at 141 Chrystie Street, over the Manhattan Bridge, along the DUMBO waterfront to Red Hook for the first checkpoint, 70 Van Dyke.  Runners would then trace their way back toward the Manhattan Bridge, but not to get back on it.  Instead, they would head for the intersection of Kent Avenue and North 8th, checkpoint #2.  Finally, runners would take the Williamsburg Bridge to get back to 141 Chrystie.  All along there are no route marshals to tell you where to turn!  It is an unsanctioned race, for crying out loud!  Definitely not for the faint of heart.  A slow runner like me can easily find himself all alone, separated from the other runners.  Not that Red Hook or Williamsburg is particularly unsafe, the race spans from midnight to 3 a.m. or so.  It is unsafe anywhere in New York during those wee hours!

The idea of having a race late at night is not entirely new.  The NYRR has the Emerald Nut Midnight Run on New Year's Day.  I ran that race to usher in 2011.  Central Park was packed with runners during the wee hours of the New Year's Day.  The subway ride home was uneventful.  There was a drunk woman with a male companion.  She could hardly stay conscious and did not cause any troubles.  Not like some wolf pack of youngsters I had the misfortune of sharing a subway ride with one late night coming home from a concert.

I started writing this blog entry some weeks ago.  By now the inaugural Midnight Half is already sold out so officially you cannot sign up for it.  If you happen to be out on the street at that time, how about cheering the runners? More info about the unique event at http://midnighthalf.eventbrite.com/

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