More Shape Women’s Half Marathon Review
Sunday, April 17th marked my third venture to the More Shape Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park. Three years ago, it quickly became one of my favorite races. The More Shape course takes you through two and a half loops of the very hilly Central Park in New York City. I usually do not like looped courses, but I happen to love this one. Central Park is beautiful and the weather on race day has yet to disappoint. The temperature typically reaches 50 degrees shortly into our start at 8:00 am. There are no bands but decent crowds. What makes this Half unique is that it’s a women’s only event. I love it.
The Start and Course Organization
The start is well-organized thanks to the New York Road Runners (NYRR) coral system. NYRR organizes corals according to predicted race pace. There are many new runners in this race who may not otherwise know slower runners should take a spot in the back, not the front. Projected pace corals take care of that potential issue. If you are new to running, please try and give your best pace estimate. There were many new runners in my 8:30 coral who were planning to run a 10:00 or 10:30 pace which created a bottleneck for the first mile. If by race day, you find your pace will be slower than what you predicted, head to a coral further back. Thankfully, there are more than enough porta potties to accommodate the 7,500 women who registered for the race.
The landscape of the More Shape Women’s Half is a tapestry of women from all walks of life from those who are just beginning to create healthy habits to those who’ve been pursuing athletic goals for decades. There are young women running their first half, many middle of the packers, and older women too. Fast runner, slower runners, and many walkers smile and sweat for 13.1 glorious miles. Regardless of speed, or age, or experience, we all encourage one another to succeed. It isn’t uncommon to hear women who are racing take the time to tell one who is struggling up the next hill not to quit. “You can do it!” we cheer.
Following in the footsteps of elite athletes is always a thrill but perhaps, even more, exciting this year was running alongside, Deena Kastor, World Masters half-marathon record-holder, who ran for fun in the middle of the pack. When do middle of the pack runners EVER get to run with elite athletes? What a thrill! If you need more motivation, just look around at the dads donning strollers who line the pathways to cheer on mommy. On more than one occasion, you will catch a mother runner trotting over to her little ones to give them kisses. That one action not only says she loves them, but it inspires in her children, a lifetime of healthy, active living. What better gift can a woman give herself and her children but the gift of an active, healthy lifestyle? Seriously, the vibe at this race rocks!
Now it’s time to celebrate! Grab your medal, a bagel, an apple, or some pretzels and smile for the many photographers that greet you. Kick back and listen to live music. I look forward to running this race again in 2017. Thank you, More Shape Women’s Half and NYRR for putting on a great event!
@NYRR @moreshapehalf #WomenRuntheWorld