Number pickup

The Marathon story really starts in the Spring for part of the ordeal of the NYC Marathon is just getting in. On April 30, my friend Ron and I stood in line in Central Park to get applications. While in line we encountered an old running friend, Sean, who was there for the same purpose. You get an application, carefully fill it out, send it in promptly and cross your fingers. Tens of thousands of people are turned away each year and this year they made the odds of getting in harder. Fortunately I was chosen. It seemed like fate. Weak foot or not I had to do the Marathon. I had a number.

One has to pick up their number during the week preceding the marathon at the Marathon Expo. I feel blessed that I work at Union Square for to get to the Expo all I have to do is walk over to Paragon, a sporting goods store nearby, to catch the bus that they run from the store to the Expo.

I went at lunch the first day (Wednesday) in order to avoid the crowds expected on the following days. The Expo seemed a fairly shabby affair this year. It was on a pier way over on the upper west side of Manhattan.

You have to walk all the way down to the far end of the pier. On later days this place would be packed wall-to-wall with people waiting hours to get their numbers. I walked as quickly as my legs would take me—had to get back to work.

Volunteers were everywhere, to direct people . . .

check IDs . . .

hand over the numbers . . .

and provide a T-shirt, hat and a bag of goodies.

Then you have to run the gauntlet of merchandising. First up is the New York Road Runners store. I buzzed past and took a quick turn through the Expo proper where there are booths featuring everything running related.

It’s Sean! Yeah, he would show up Wednesday. The old marathoners know to come the first day and beat the crowds.

Free beer! I had some and tottered on. That’s it for the number pick up. I retraced my steps via the Paragon bus and was back at work in no time.