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NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon 2018

I had not run the Staten Island Half Marathon since 2013 due to different reasons over the last few years. With a desire to qualify for the 2019 NYC Half Marathon and a need to get more miles under my feet for the impending NYC Marathon, I finally was making my return to Staten Island in order to achieve both.

Getting to the race was a problem unto itself. By driving to the race, there were severe problem getting to there and finding parking due to the popularity with the 11,475 runners who wanted to traverse the 13.1 miles as well. When we finally did find parking and got to the race, the remnants of the first wave were running past us and I was forced to fall back to the first corral of the second wave.

Lining up and starting later than I had originally planned and the cold of the morning definitely took my head out of the game while waiting to start, but I was going to run no matter how I felt. We were off and heading south along Bay Street. Since the Staten Island Half Marathon is essentially one big out and back, it was a straight run towards Fort Wadsworth and our first of three major hills. At mile 3, the first hill was tough to push up, but a steep decline made up for the time it took to go up as we headed onto Father Capodanno Blvd and a nice, flat run. We headed out to a U turn about a quarter mile shy of 6 miles and headed back towards the most scenic and toughest part of the race.

It was around mile 8 when we return to the scene of the first hill, but now we were seeing it from the other side. The steep drop at mile 4 was now the steep incline we were forced to push up in order to get back to Fort Wadsworth. The difference was this time when we were at the top of the hill, we were greeted by a man in military gear at the gate to the park as entered to do a mile loop.

Although the park was at the top of our previous hill, there was another hill that took us up underneath the Verazanno Bridge. It was a tough push up that third hill, but at the top we were greeted by magnificent views of Manhattan in the morning sunlight. Even though most of the race was run along the Hudson River, running along the water with this view was inspiring and helped me push through after such a long hill.

With the third hill conquered, all that was left was a run back up Bay Street. Although the road back wasn’t as straight as the road down, as we had a couple switchbacks in those last 3 miles, it was just about pushing through and finishing as we returned victorious to where we began, conquering the 13.1 miles of the Staten Island Half Marathon.

I have run the Staten Island Half Marathon twice before – 2011 and 2012 – and in the 6 years since I last run it, it seems the course changed. I only recall there being one big hill in the race instead of three, but I was still able to complete it in 2:05:34. I haven’t been able to finish a half marathon in under two hours in a few years (Staten Island previously being one of the ones I was able to), and while I was hoping to do so again this year, I know I’m ready to run the NYC Marathon in a few weeks and aim for a strong finish time.

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