Malcolm Anderson: Head honcho. Brains behind Run 4 Tomorrow. The ideas man. Kiwi… lives in Canada. Happy to tell Bill to do everything.
Bill Bronsema: Tech geek. Works for IBM but just as good as a bouncer up at Kings Cross. Lives in Ottawa. Shame he had no time to help me with my 200 lumen “lamp”, state of the art Garmin, vision impaired map reading, Spot tracker, and Minus 5 degrees wardrobe. He did admit to nearly running over me. (yes, really)… but he did help me with the videos and photos below. Thanks buddy. Great guy to have on the team… I think? But seriously, the BEST bodyguard I could ask for.
Dan Marinsik: From the USA, but can’t hold that against him. Only person to complete 10 consecutive Badwater 135 Finishes. After having an acoustic neuroma removed, he now states he has selective hearing… for a reason, seems to be the only guy that you can’t swear at. He also kinda likes to snarl at people All round top bloke.
Yolanda Holder, Walks it in 5:45 consistently. Prefers to communicate electronically via FB than talking to idiots….and there were a few of us….
Dave Major: Pom, geographically challenged (or maybe just liked making me run up hills?) loves a run, loves a beer more. Linda is the love of his life but apparently Dave sleeps on the couch with “Stella” two night’s a week..mm beer…
Linda Major: Mum of the team, always looking out for others. Makes me look like a total selfish sheila…. Poor girl is married to Dave
Me… well, when I’m up against 2 Poms, two Canadians and two from the USA, I just puff myself up to be the big guy and soldier on. Taking the crap that’s dealt and flinging it back was the recipe for the run. I think I kept the humour and managed major DOMS of the smile muscles.
Ottawa to New York… The MINI run..
Freezing conditions greeted us on Saturday 26th October for the start of our run to New York. We were all to run a continual marathon relay. 5 runners running a distance of 42kms each, until we hit NYC.
Leaving from Ottawa, our first runner was quickly re-routed through roadworks and streets that we couldn’t drive along. We had issues trying to spot her along the road dressed all in black. Mental note for all of us to wear reflective vest in built up areas, night and rain. From the start she didn’t carry any food or water with her… by 20kms and on trail she was cold, hungry and thirsty. We didn’t realise she was carrying NOTHING! (until she asked for stuff) This was going to be an interesting week. Reading people’s minds and keeping the humour….
I was the second runner. My 42kms started just as it became dark. Head torch on, wet, cold and trail. Wooo hoooo!! It was pretty lonely out there but I was happy to get this thing started. Questioning the safety of dark trail in a foreign country didn’t enter my mind until I spotted an animal the size of a vicious fisher cat run up a tree….. ok, so maybe it wasn’t a fisher cat…. bigger than a possum, longer and almost weaselish? Looked grey in colour.. Temps were below zero, it was raining/sleeting and incredibly dark. Probably not somewhere I would send my kids to run at night. Bill was crewing and started to drive to a road intersection and run back to meet me. Was comforting to see his head torch coming towards me once I realised it was him…. When the other support vehicle arrived, I had run 22kms. Bill decided to run with me (thank God) What I thought was going to be a 5 km section became a lot longer. After around 10kms, I was thirsty and worried that the van had driven off course. We couldn’t get through to them on the radio and soldiered on desperate to stay warm and moving. The sound of thousands of geese taking off and doing a fly past scared the crap out of me until I realised what it was… It wasn’t until the 39km mark, thirsty and some 17 kms later that we were back in contact. I sculled a litre of water and ran down the track to finish my 42.2kms. Tagged Dave and wished him “wet” as he started his first 42.2. Wet and freezing cold, I wondered how I was ever going to get warm in the car. Malcolm said he was taking me, Linda and Yolanda back to a hotel… yes. Time to dry out
The next morning after sleeping with the Tri Nations (Linda, Yolanda and yours truly) Malcolm rewarded us with a food fix at Tim Horton’s. We then drove to meet up with the boys. Dan was just finishing his run and Linda was going to take over and run us into Montreal and beyond.
After sitting in the car for 14 hrs through Quebec and struggling with ordering Subway in French…. I started my second marathon at 10:30 pm on the Sunday to get to the Canada/ USA border 19 kms away at Aird between Quebec and Vermont. Goodbye Canada…. or that’s what I thought at half past midnight. I was running well until we hit the boom gate. The boys (Bill, Dave and Dan) were sitting in the car waiting to get through when I arrived. Waiting. Bill said he saw a sign 50 metres back, so I went to see what it said. Border opens at 9am…….. and closes at midnight. Shit. It was 12:30am. I wasn’t going to wait 8 1/2 hrs to be let through. “Pause Garmin”
I jumped in the back of the car and quickly became cold and nauseous. I’ll blame Bill’s driving, but I think it was more from being cold, hypothermic and in wet gear. I looked bad enough that Dave gave me the front seat and I cranked up the heat. Drove to another Customs control 40kms away. It was open and decorated with a power hungry Yank with a very small appendage. He asked us what we were doing in the USA and I told him we were running to New York. With a Canadian, American, troublesome POM and an annoying Aussie sheila in the car I commented that I didn’t think he believed us.. he, with small appendage said it was his job not to believe us. Dave (POM) was taken inside for more than an hour to pay his $6 waiver.
Welcome to the USA… arsehole…… Out of border control an hour and a half later, I was pushed out of the car to have a spew…. and finish my run.
Cold and praying to the porcelain gods for the next freaking hilly 23 kms I finished in just under 5 hrs. I was rewarded with a hotel room with 3 men and a huge spa. The spa wasn’t used, the gas station next door was Dave’s saviour selling beer. For me it was a banana, cheerio cereal and yoghurt. Yes, it was my night sleeping with the Tri Nations…
With no midazolam on board, I’m a little concerned about how sketchy I am on the next day. It’s taken me 3 days to remember. My boy buddies and I had to drive to meet the girls and Malcolm…. somewhere in Vermont. We’d left Dan in the hotel to sleep at 2am and I’d start running. Another night run…..
Starting at 3:30am on Tuesday morning, my 3rd marathon was absolute gold. Car temp said Minus 5C and with wind chill, I hate to think… Starting in Vermont with Bill and Dave in the van was not the best combo.. I don’t know if they were taking the piss or whether they really were crap navigators but telling me to go left up a hill and then turning me around to go right four or five times was just nasty (ok, it was only three times, but still…). Having frozen fingers and not able to flip them the bird became quite distressing. So did having a frozen face and not being capable of being the potty mouth I’m famous for… so hard to speak/yell in sub zero land. No worries, they got off on hurling abuse at some poor “lady” running past chairlifts and telling her she was NOT running up ski slopes (I have proof with my spot tracker fellas) Dartmouth skiway south of Lyme.
Even though it was pitch black, the stars and the atmosphere between the 3 of us was like I’ve never experienced. I was wide awake, running in sub zero and laughing like a hyena. The perfect buddies laughing through radios as I ran past bears and vicious dogs. Somehow, no matter how much he wanted to, Bill managed to not drive over me… something he admitted to almost doing in his sleep deprived state. A seriously beautiful run. The sun came up and I finished my run somewhere in New Hampshire. Sub 5 hours … no matter how many times they sent me up a hill, I refused to go over 5 hours
Time to crew and watch Dave run. Rather enjoyed yelling expletives out the car. Unfortunately for me, the road was pretty obvious and there were never any navigational issues… maybe it was my map reading skills? The other car met up with us as Dave was running. Dan and his diet of 8 Gu’s and Honey waffles was next. A very sleep deprived Malcolm was kitted up in a skirt. I’ll leave that one alone….
So it was again our turn to stop moving. Dave, Bill and yours truly drove on in the direction of Boston and found ourselves in Chelmsford… looking for somewhere for lunch…Ninety Nine Restaurant. As long as there was beer for Dave and Bill, wine for me all is good in this world. Something about these guys brings back memories of all the shit my big brother used to put on me. It was like Tim was watching over me from whatever heaven you believe in…. and prompting these guys on how to push my buttons. Smile muscles hurt more than my quads. So, sometime around 11pm, Bill and I leave the hotel, Dave staying to welcome the ladies.
We catch up with the others and soon I’m out there again on my way to Hopkinton. The road was dangerous, Bill was driving like a security guard. Holding up cars as I ran in the dark, I kept yelling through the radio to go ahead as I was concerned about cars behind him overtaking and having a head on with cars coming in the opposite direction. For some reason he thought he was bigger and tougher than me and basically told me to piss off. He was in charge and he can do whatever the hell he likes…. Even the Police car that stopped him and asked what he was doing stalking a runner was happy with him… Next video is running into Hopkinton …..Bill says it’s Boston, but it’s actually 42.2 kms from Boston
I arrived in Hopkinton before sunrise. We sat in a “gas” station and I fell asleep waiting for car #2 to arrive so we could finally meet up with Kathy at 9am…
Found a coffee shop and bought a bagel… (Good move. I was about to run another 42 kms to get to Boston…)
Freezing cold and raining, we met Kathy. The others arrived an hour later and we started our run from the start line in Hopkinton. 42 kms to Boston. Last time I was here was just before the bombing in April. This may get emotional. Cold, wet and tired after being up all night, I ventured out with my virgin marathoner Bill, Dave and Linda. Best company ever.
We had stuff to do along the way. Called into Marathon Sports in Wellesley and realised that all I’d had to eat and drink was a bagel and 500mls water for the last 40kms. I bought and sculled a gatorade as I still had 22 kms to get to Boston and there was word that Dave Mc Gillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, was meeting us 7 kms before the finish… and running with us! I felt like shit. Luckily I wasn’t the only one. We did a fair bit of walking to make sure that we didn’t get there cold and wet before anyone else and having to wait for Dave. Then we heard that we’d have to hoof it to get to him as he was already there! So, on Comm Ave, 7 kms before the finish of that fateful day in April this year, I ran with Dave Mc Gillivray. He has been the Race Director of the most prestigous marathon in the world for many years. and I had to run the last 7 kms of over 60 kms I’d run that day with him. Fresh. Me. Not so.
He was inspiring. A sub 2:30 marathoner. He ran Boston as a bandit the first year he ran it. G.O.L.D. He asked me about what we did when the bombs went off. He wanted to know about my experience. As we ran, I showed him where we were stopped… we then turned into Hereford St and onto Boylston. There was a serious tightening in my chest. I couldn’t talk. He was awesome. He showed me where the bombs went off, what shops had only recently just opened and helped me through a tough run to that famous finish line. So 2 official Boston Finishes (’04 and ’08), one predicted finish time (April ’13) and now a bandit run (Oct ’13) I’m all fired up now for Boston April 2014….
So tired, emotional blah, blah… Then Bill got video..
We warmed up inside Marathon Sports with Shane. What a great guy, cool shop.
The lovely Kathy was at the finish to greet us. One of those people you don’t meet every day.
How do we get out of Boston? Obama is there, the Red Socks are playing in the World Series Final and we decide to be in Boston…. like now??
Super supportive of what we were doing, Kathy was happy to drive us all the way back to Hopkinton so we could get our van and some rest further south along the route.
It was now Bill’s turn to sleep with the Tri Nations taking Linda, Yolanda and myself to some hotel in Massachusetts and dinner at TGIF’s. I was craving salad and wine. I got both.
Don’t know how much sleep we got, but being horizontal and showered was a great feeling.
The next morning, after trying to find Dan, Dave and Malcolm (they weren’t where they said they were….) we got a Maccas coffee and found them.
At some stage that day we left Massachusetts and entered Connecticut. Halloween. I was looking forward to running through the beautifully sounding “New Haven” on Thanksgiving night. It wasn’t quite what I expected.
There were no kids in the streets. It was only about 8pm when I ran into the outskirts of the town, but it smelt unsafe. One woman pulling a cart wanted to know why I was out there… running. There were people lurking, walking aimlessly and generally looking for trouble. Bodyguard Bill wouldn’t leave more than 20 ft between me and the car. The rain was the least of my problems. I could hear some woman screaming and hoped it was some Halloween prank but knew it wasn’t. At one stage I had to run up a one way street that meant the car couldn’t. I was fine with that…. they could meet me 100 metres up at the intersection. Bill wasn’t fine with that. “Pause Garmin” a few times that night….
I was ok until I started thinking of someone taking a pot shot at some midget running through what I found out was one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the USA.
Just as I reached the other side of town, Malcolm rang wondering if I should pull the pin and abort the rest of my run for safety concerns… “pause Garmin” team meeting. I was cold and wet and wanting to get the last 14kms done. In the pouring rain I ran as fast as I could to get that run finished. No less than 6 cars drove up beside me to tell me I was being followed….. very glad that I had Bill stalking me that night….
My fastest run so far… 4:33
Found the boys in a hotel. Wet, cold and tired it was shower and bed… Food was a bit of hit and miss. Being still and horizontal was more important. Slept like a baby before our final day running into NYC!
Wow. We’d done it. It nearly all unraveled last night, but we’d just kept it together. Jumped in the car and hit the Big Apple. Dave was given the privilege of running into Central Park and we all wanted to catch him beforehand. We met up with my Pete and Sam Griffen outside the Museum of Contemporary Art and waited for Dave in Central Park.
So, lunch time on Friday, we all ran the last 200 metres of what was the most enjoyable week I have ever had with 6 strangers.
With Dave’s help we found the closest bar for a well earned drink and planned our next day meeting up with Mary Wittenburg, NYC marathon Race Director. How cool is that! She was incredibly supportive of what we were doing and we all received VIP status. That meant police escort out to Statten Island before the race, VIP tent and breakfast meant no hanging out in the cold and another warm tent at the finish.
Pete and I decided to hang back to start in Wave 4 with Bill and Dan. Bill was doing his first official marathon (his unofficial was a few days earlier in Boston!) I thought he’d need all the help with pacing that he could get….
We started on the top tier of the Verrazano Bridge (I’d run on the bottom tier in 2001) and were greeted with strong winds. The amount of running gear we could have picked up would have made a pretty penny in some second hand running shop…
By about 18 kms, I had the uncomfortable feeling that the marathon virgin was going to whip my arse… best let him go and hope he crashed and burned..
My plan was always to do around 4:15/4:20… Keeping it pretty consistent, I managed to cross the finish in 4:15. Happy with a 250km week behind me and a hamstring that had pretty much behaved.
We found Bill just after the finish. He’d whipped me… by 4 minutes. I’ll get him in Boston next year.
Off to the VIP tent and waited for Dan, Dave and Linda. All of them finishing off a great week with a sub 5 hr run each.
We caught the subway to The Australian Pub where we were unaware they had put on two free kegs for the runners… of which we were basically it. Plenty of Bud Light to share. Malcolm and Lori met us there and a good night was had by all.
Pretty emotional night to see so many great friends that I hadn’t met 10 days before. I have never laughed as much as I did on the trip. Life long mates.