by Paul Thompson
Today I ran my slowest race since I can remember, certainly my slowest 5 mile race since coming to live in the US in 2004. But there’s a silver lining to every cloud. The results showed I’d finished first master, 29th overall, top age grade, and my 26:39 was enough to beat some that were in front of me in my last outing at this distance (Portugal Day 5M).
Many runners ran slower times than normal. This was down to the weather: at the starting line it was 80 degrees and 87 degrees humidity. I set off with the aim of running under 26 minutes with even 5:10 mile splits. I managed to stay on target for one mile. Then reality set in and I slowed to 5:15-5:20 miles. The only compensation was that I was picking off runners one by one – except for the final 400 metres when two NYAC runners sprinted past me.
Barely 24 hours later I was watching the women’s Olympic marathon on the Thames Embankment, London. The weather was quite different to that of New York – temperatures in the low 60sF and intermittent showers. While unpleasant for spectating – Shamala , I and friends were part of the huge crowd along the course getting cold and wet – it was not so bad for the runners judging by the fact the Olympic record fell.
The 24 hours since completing the Team Champs had been a hectic plane, train and automobile journey. After simultaneously warming down and watching the women run, I rode the train home to collect Shamala (who for once had not come to the race which is why we have no race photos for this post!) and bags, rode back to Grand Central Terminal. Next it was a bus ride to JFK. At check-in we were told we’d been upgraded to premium economy. It felt like we’d gotten a bronze medal at the Olympics.
Just past security I spotted TV screens beaming the Olympic men’s 10000m final. I covered the next 400m to the British Airways lounge in around 52 seconds, just in time to catch Mo Farah and Galen Rupp go 1-2. Learning that this was Team GB’s third gold it was time to celebrate – with 3 glasses of wine. We were now in silver medal position.
But we were not done yet. We were then told we’d been upgraded once more, this time to business class. We’d clinched gold.
Here are some of the runners who were really running for gold: