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The 2018 NYRR cross country season closed out with the longest—and perhaps, toughest—race of the series, as the NYRR Pete McArdle 15K presented runners with three loops of Van Cortlandt Park’s Back Hills. Rain throughout the morning provided runners with an even more authentic cross-country experience on one of the northeast’s most famous courses…

NYRR Official event page

The first day visit of New York City only started after a jet-lag 13KM night run and next day 6AM morning session at the Central Park. There is a concret-made track loop in the park which was specially measured at ten kilometers and made for runners next to the cycling lanes.

On Wednesday evening, I had myself changed once arrived at the accommodation in Harlem. It was already past the sunset time and I picked up the 160-lumen head torch then headed for the north entrance of Central Park. Similar to shooting a film in the night scene, off-road night running requests adequate brightness for speed and safety. However, by approaching and following the runner’s track for a few minutes, I turned off the lamp and kept it off throughout the whole run. Surround with full of skyscrapers at the heart of Manhattan, the city of lights covered everywhere on the track with its artificial illumination. The reliable torch becomes into an offensive visual weapon against other runners and cyclists.

On Sunday morning, the predicated rain took over the control with strong wind over the city. While the Line 1 subway train was approaching to the terminal station for the race venue, there were few women and men sitting quietly in the train with different ages while their discontinued and quick conversations showed different English accents. We, the only left passengers talking the morning 7.30AM train showed the unspoken ‘dress code’: waterproof jacket, lightweight backpack and running trainers. A shared identity.

The fellow runner I spoke to named Alun, an artist originally from Manchester, moved to New York since debut 2000s and currently exhibits in Paris. As a Parisian French now base in the North England, we found common interests in French language, art practice and distance running. After arrived at the race venue with 500M walk, we decided to take the 2-mile ‘warmup’ together in the rain to continue the conversation for this rare meet between artist-runners. Exchanged information and experiences showed both of us tend to agree that in the world of artists and academics, there are many runners but most of them draw their interests on running either for causal activity or endurance running. The lack of serious training prevent the term of ‘speed’ away from these types of running. As a consequence, speed-endurance seems often to be missing from art practice and writing as first-hand experiences.

The 15K race started precisely at 9AM in the open field of Van Cortlandt Park (VCP), a regular place for both Cross Country training and racing. I finished in approximately 1 hour 2 minutes and 25 seconds and positioned the 12th. Few minutes later, Alun also completed his journey and won the medal for his age category. On the run journal, I noted:

Rain. 

Encountered knee pain (similar to Thursday session and Friday easy at Central Park) on KM2. Dropped a bit speed then the pain went away after few hundred meters. Adjusting the foot landing on every steep decent over the three VCP laps. Difficulty on last climb. Finished strong.

02/12/18

Photo credit: NYRR