Thursday, June 12, 2014

#9 - Matchmaker 5K: it's not what you think

Nope, it's not a dating race, although I did end up meeting a remarkable person. Her name is Erenia from the Republic of Seychelles (Listeni say-shellsFrench).

I wanted to race while on a vacation in New York with my family. I found this race through the week earlier, but did not register because I wasn't sure if I would have the time.   

The night before the race,  I decided to go for it. 

Tram to Manhattan

The adventure begins

The race was in Roosevelt Island, a place I had never seen before.   I wanted to be adventurous by taking the subway from Times Square to the Island all by myself.  Google Maps said it would take less than 16 mins. to get there.  Registration began at 9 am so I headed out at 8:30 to give myself extra time.

Google was very detailed - it showed what the nearest subway was, which train to take, and train schedules.  However, it failed to account that weekend schedules have changed due to an accident that happened a week earlier.  I found this out after after buying my ticket, and after waiting a few minutes at the platform. I ended up taking a taxi.

Nightmare at the registration

I got to the Island just when the race was about to start at 10 am.  I raced through registration while the organizers were delivering their welcome speech.  One volunteer directed me to a 2nd volunteer who directed me to a 3rd volunteer who finally gave me the papers to sign and a bib to wear.

Then they tried to charge me $50 for entry fee.  I was horrified! I only brought $60 to cover race cost which according to their website was only $35, and a subway fare of about $6.  With the taxi, I was already short.

After some discussion,  they gave me a break and accepted my $35.  However, they said my time will not be counted because I registered late.  My jaw just dropped because my official time is important to me.  Again, I did not see this rule on their website.  

Participants were already running by the time I finished signing the waiver.  

A relaxing run

It was a beautiful flat course by the East River.  The weather was just as great - 65 F (18 C) and clear. I took my time and enjoyed the scenery.

Surprising Finale

Finishers were so happy they were literally flipping. There were live music playing and children dancing.

I got a trophy for finishing 3rd in the women's aged 40-49 group.  I was thrilled that my efforts were counted after all.

After the awards ceremony, a woman approached to congratulate me and to share the pictures that she took of the ceremony. She was very happy for me and sympathized with the mishaps that occurred before the race.  Her name was Erenia. She was the second volunteer I talked to during registration.

Erenia took this picture
I may never see Erenia again, but it's refreshing to learn that someone I never met before can genuinely care.

About the event

This is was the 4th annual race sponsored by Icla da Silva Foundation. Its goals were to recruit bone marrow donors and support children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants. I was already a donor. Did you know that it costs about $100 to process each donor?

Location: Roosevelt Island, New York 

Date: Saturday, May 17, 2014

Runners: 212

Course: flat, asphalt 

Timing:  bib chip with timing mat only at the finish line.

Post Race Food: bananas, bread, and water

Results: available at the finish line, and online within 24 hours

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