I signed up for the Ted Corbitt 15K for several reasons:
- I love NYC.
- I love running in Central Park.
- I hadn’t run a race there since April 2022.
- I had enough pts for a free hotel room.
- I had thought my NYC BRFs Cari and Elizabeth may be running it too or at least we could meet up during the weekend.
- It kept me doing weekend long runs during the cold temps of upstate NY.
- A chance to see NYC decorated for the holidays.
- I had run a half marathon several weeks before (so I was sorta trained.)
- 15k is one of my favorite distances (I usually die at this point in a half.)
- No Harlem Hill for this race (just Cat 2x and 3 sisters).
As I mentioned above, I had run a half marathon two weeks earlier. I love to sign up for winter races because it motivates me to keep doing those long runs in the cold weather. (And this year, the temps were COLD!!)
If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. But I do try to do those weekday short runs (Tues, Wed, Thurs this week).
and get in some longer runs on the weekend..
I knew about the HILLS that would taunt me during the race. I have run in this park and I ran the Shape Half Marathon, Fred LeBow Half twice, Central Park Half and many other shorter races.
In case you have never heard of Ted Corbitt. He was the first president of New York Road Runners, the first African American to compete in the Olympic marathon, and an ultramarathon pioneer who ran more than 200,000 miles in his lifetime.
I’ve always wanted to run this race.
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
I took the train to NYC on Saturday morning. I arrived at 11am and my hotel check-in time was 3 pm but luckily my room was ready. So I checked into my hotel on 39th St. and grabbed some lunch.
Then I headed to Run Center to pick up my bib and race shirt.
Though it was chilly, it was sunny and a perfect day to stroll Manhattan. Though rain was predicted for Saturday, I hoped they were wrong. Just in case, I tried to see as many of the decorations as I could in one day!!
I started in Central Park… I couldn’t believe how pretty it was with the leaves STILL on the trees…
Then I walked down 6th Avenue, onto Rockefeller Center, then to Bryant Park and finally to 34th Street for a visit to the Refinery.
On my bucket list was to see the holiday lights at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. So from 34th St, I took a subway to Brooklyn where I met up with a group for a walking tour.
The guide was great (and I was the only American on the tour.)
.The houses were HUGE and the lights way over the top!!
Afterward, I grabbed some pizza for dinner and took the subway back to Manhattan.
Still too early to go to bed so I continued my holiday in NYC experience. I walked back to Rockefeller Center and then watched the light show at Saks.
Eventually I returned to my hotel in order to plan my race day. So much for resting the legs the day before a race. 12 miles walked!!
I have not run many winter races so it was a challenge to decide on what to wear to keep warm but not too warm for 9.3 miles. And what to wear if it rains???
Luckily I still had gloves, DIY arm warmers to add to my outfit and there would be bag check so I could have a jacket and umbrella for after the race if it were raining.
I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 6:00 am. It was warmer than expected (high 40s) but RAINING so I changed to a lighter shirt and cap (instead of a beanie), added a throwaway shirt, DIY arm sleeves, grabbed a rain poncho and called an Uber. My hotel was on West 39th and the start was near E. 66th. However, bag check was on East 72nd. I could have run there but not in this weather. I also wasn’t sure of how often the subway ran. The Uber was just so easy (though $$$).
As I did in my previous Central Park races, I got there too early… I had hoped to meet up with Cari at bag check or worse case in my start corral. Cari had decided to skip bag check. But to stay warm and dry,, I hid out in the park restroom…. I waited there until the last moment (I even met the runner who was singing the national anthem.)
I kept on my rain poncho but had to surrender my umbrella. Well, by now, the bag check line was MILES long and getting longer by the moment (due to a security check). It moved quickly and I wasn’t worried since although there were almost 5000 runners, the race was chip-timed.
It was quite a LONG walk to the start and I had to walk to corral I. By the time I got near, the national anthem was finishing up and Meb was giving a speech about Ted Corbitt and this race.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to meet up with Cari but I eventually got to my corral in plenty of time for my corral’s start.
I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)
The Race Plan:
Do not get injured!! (You need to be healthy to train for the Florida half in February!) And most importantly, have fun!!
I would likely do a lot of walking… because there would be umpteen hills!! (Several Cats and many other annoying smaller ones.)
I planned to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated even in the rain) and to stop and walk longer to eat a gel at every other water stop.
My estimated finish time would be around 1:45 (far from my 1:30 PR at this distance).
Anyway, here’s how the race went:
2022 Course Map:
The race will begin on East Drive near East 66th Street and will cover almost two full laps on the lower loop in Central Park.
From the start, runners will proceed north on East Drive up to the 102nd Street Cross Drive, and will then take a left turn to follow the Cross Drive toward West Drive. Turning left onto West Drive, runners will head south, continuing past Tavern on the Green toward mile 5 and what was the start line on East Drive.
Proceeding along the southern end of the park, runners will repeat the first loop up East Drive, onto the 102nd Street Cross Drive, and turning onto West Drive. As runners approach the 72nd Street Transverse from West Drive, they will turn left toward the finish line.
Check out this elevation:
and according to my Garmin:
It took a LONG 10 or so minutes to get to the start line.
It was slow going at first due to the crowd but soon we heading for a downhill stretch. Of course, I tried to stay slow and it felt slow .
The first hill was Cat Hill and it was the steepest. I ran up most of it thinking that it wasn’t so bad (my opinion changed by the second time around)
(In case you’ve never run in Central Park, it’s called Cat Hill because there is a statue of a cat staring down at you.)
Once I started running, I realized that I was indeed perfectly dressed. In fact during the 2nd mile, I decided to take off my throw-away shirt. But I didn’t throw it away, I tied it around my waist and kept it that way the entire race.
There were many more water stops than necessary (or what I am used to). Almost one every mile. I tried to only stop at every other one.
I always tried to pick up speed on the downhills but they were short-lived as there were always smaller hills – the Sisters, etc. According to Strava, each hill has a name.
And the rain continued… in fact it rained harder and harder, and the puddles got bigger and more numerous. (I was amazed at NO blisters and NO chafing.)
Around 90th St. & the Reservoir, we passed the statue of Fred Lebow.
We started looping around 102nd and heading to the West side. The best thing about this race (compared to Fred LeBow HM was that the course did NOT include Harlem Hill (the steepest and longest in the park.)
Since I had eaten breakfast many hours ago, I was getting hungry, I ate a GU slowly around mile 3.5 (and this was the only one I ate during the race.)
There were timing clocks at every mile. I wasn’t sure how much time had elapsed before I crossed the start line so they didn’t help much. My watch was buried under my shirt. But I really didn’t care what my finish time was anyway. (I had zero age group award expectations. NYC runners are fast!)
I just continued to run and as fast as I could and walk as often as I felt tired or there were hills (As usual, it was pretty often).
We were still on the West side and soon we passed the finish line. Of course, I think the speedy runners were already turning in.
But there were still 5 more miles to go.
Around mile 4.5 we starting turning and heading toward the East side. And a little past mile 5 we were passing the start and now the course would repeat itself.
It never stopped raining. My feet started to ache (no surprise there). Of course Cat hill seemed harder the second time around as did the other smaller hills. I waved again to Fred and continued to stop at every other water stop.
The volunteers were so numerous and those cheering were awesome. Imagine spending hours in the pouring rain. I wouldn’t be happy to be out there.
Finally just past mile 7, we began turning and heading back to the East side. To me, that signaled that the end was near… although it didn’t feel like it.
It was a long time getting to that Mile 9 sign!!
But I finally turned toward the finish line and I ran as fast as I could…. through those huge puddles!!
Post Race Activities:
I immediately got my medal (this was the FIRST year that medals were given out for this race), grabbed a bag of pretzels and posed for a quick pic. or two!
It was still raining HARD so I headed to bag check to get my rain jacket and umbrella. I had also put some dry clothes in that bag but unfortunately, the bag was NOT really very waterproof and everything was soaked.
I still hadn’t met up with Cari but I texted her that I would be waiting in that same rest room.
We walked out of the park together in the RAIN. (I gave her my rain poncho since I had an umbrella.)
The rain definitely interfered with my plans to hang out with Cari and another friend, Elizabeth.
Cari headed home by bus and I started walking back to my hotel. Around 59th St, I changed my mind and hopped the subway.
After a LONG HOT shower, I checked out of my hotel, had lunch and then headed home on an earlier train.
I was so glad that I had got in All.The.Miles the day before.
Additional Race Reflections:
Running in the rain may not be exactly fun. I minded more about not enjoying the pre and post-race experience.
But it was a lot better than racing into a cold WIND.
I was happy with my finish time. Yes it was like 5 minutes slower than my last 15K but it was not a PW and faster than I expected on that course and in those weather conditions.
Enough whining…I am so grateful to be able to visit NYC and run a race. And a race that honored such an important figure in NYC racing.
I am unbelievably happy that after the race, my legs/feet felt fine.. no pain anywhere (always a good thing at my age.)
All in all, I thought this was a great race.
- Easy packet pick-up at Run Center and also race morning near the start).
- Bag Check. Easy pick up at the end.
- Water at almost EVERY mile. Gatorade at the last few.
- Many porta-potties along the course in addition to real CP bathrooms
- Well marked course.
- Timing Clock at every mile.
- No Harlem Hill.
- Great crowd support even in the rain.
- Los of volunteers as course marshals and at water stops (and it was miserable out!!)
- Very cool medal.
- Immediate results.
- Blogger meet-up with Cari
- No Blisters.
- Long line at bag check.
- Loops! 2.
- Hills in Central Park.
- I did not do any training on hills (my bad)
- Post-race food – just pretzels and apples
- Boring shirt design.
- No photos
Would I recommend this race?
Do it if you can. You won’t regret it (unless you hate hills lol).
No, it’s not an easy course. Only a little over 5,000 runners usually participate so a small race by NYC standards. And not an expensive one.
This one should have warmer weather but you never know with Florida. I ran this race two years ago in oppressive heat/humidity.