Randall’s Island Park took its first breath of spring as the Sri Chinmoy 50 Km & 50 Mile Kicked off our ultras for 1993.
Mostly sunny skies and nearly mild conditions provided perfect running weather and a chance at good performances. Canadian geese and pheasants fluttered amongst the collection of tennis enthusiasts, gas airplane gliders, and winter-weary runners.
Japanese runner Nobuaki Koyago of New York City wasted no time in running a smooth, well paced 50 miles. After passing early leaders Bob Dion and Ed Finnigan, Koyago breezed to victory in 6:19:15. Burning and crashing at 29 miles, Dion regrouped and forged back into second, slipping past the steady Finnigan just minutes before finishing. Diane McNamara, although running uncontested by the other ladies, still looked strong throughout.
In the 50-km event, Jeff Spera won easily in 4:28:20, making comeback from an injury-plagued fall and winter. Antana Locs, the great multi-day specialist, has had to overcome a rare winter of almost no training due to mental and physical burnout form the multi-day wars. She cheerfully struggled to victory, but was never challenged by the rest of the women’s field. Although the filed was small, the jokes were fling and everyone seemed pleased with the early rites of spring.
report from Ultrarunning magazine, used with permission
Diane McNamara adds:
On March 27 I ventured to New York City seek my revenge. A month earlier New York – Central Park, to be precise – had gotten the better of me at the illustrious, but by now climatically infamous, 100 Km Championship. What had happened to me there was (on a much slower scale, of course) akin to what Ray Krolewicz said happened to him, namely, ‘My quads blew out.’ For me it happened at 21 miles, so by 50 I had packed it in, much to the relief of my three handlers, one of who was very pregnant, all of who were freezing.
So, what better way to feel exonerated from that calamitous day in the Park, then to get back in the saddle, and finish one in New York. Isn’t strange how we want to erase the stigma of a DNF by completing another race – any race, any distance – as soon as possible, I gambled that the Sri Chinmoy 50 would be a safe bet for a smoother ride. The Sris wouldn’t dream of designing a hilly course the likes of Central Park…the weather couldn’t possibly be so nasty. Well, they didn’t, and it wasn’t. In fact, the spring-like weather found most of us donning shorts for their seasonal debut with just a little hesitation. And the worst the weather had to offer was a sunburn.
The new course on Randall’s Island is gentle, interesting, and varied enough, for a one-mile loop. On the old course in Queens, the straightaways were longer, and the view across the infield better, so you could track your opponents throughout. The new course seemed more twisty, with a slightly domed field that blocks out the other side. Psychologically, the new course seemed shorter. The first section swings out along the mouth of the East River close to where tugboats and barges float by. The second leg crosses though several softball fields. I think one team played as long as I was running; by halfway, I envied them their portable aid station that served chicken, rice and beans, Latin music danced in the air all day. The final left of the loop follows under a high overpass, which looks like an aqueduct.
`The field was small and friendly. Bob Dion had, like me, come back to New York with a bone to pick. He said, ‘In the 100 Km I went out slow and died. ‘I’d rather go out fast and die; at least then I’d know what I did wrong.’ He didn’t exactly die here, but he sure went out fast. He led for several miles before skidding to a halt, but then came back for a strong final ten miles. Nobuaki Koyago displayed his artfully economical style throughout for the win.
For me this was an entirely conversational day. When racing, I always enjoy meeting new people whose names I know so well. About three hours into this race I was running along and chatting with Sutushti Land when we came up on another of the 500-km women. Sutushti introduced me to Antana Locs. ‘Antana Locs! I know you! I’ve admired your running for years.’ These are the joys of ultrarunning.
So I got my sweet revenge on New York. Beginning my last lap as I passed the start/finish, only one spectator was left, the same lap counter who had been anchored to his lawn chair all day. ‘That’s 49, Diane,’ he said with a grin.
‘Your don’t have to tell me, but, thanks anyway.’