NYC Marathon: I’ll be there, enjoying myself

I’ll be doing a little work for Runner’s World on marathon Sunday. I’ll be assisting photographer Stacey Cramp to help put together a “Faces at the Finish” slideshow. She snaps the pictures and I ask the questions. Last year Stacey’s aide de camp was Duncan Larkin. This year it’s me. I’m beginning to suspect that this assignment is some sort of rite of passage for budding running journalists.

What this means is that I get a press pass with pretty-good-to-excellent access. I asked for finish line access as well as access to the raceday breakfast and watchathon that goes on in the former site of Tavern on the Green. There are days and days of scheduled interviews, both in person and by phone, among the elites during marathon week. Looking at the schedule, I feel a little sorry for them. There will also be post-race press conferences. That’s great, and I’ll go to some of that stuff. But I’m basically going to take it easy on November 7 and during the days leading up to it, aside from my assigned task with Stacey.

There will be lots and lots of interviews and articles coming out of the marathon. Mine probably won’t be among them. The one elite I really, really wanted to interview, Lyudmila Petrova, isn’t going to be among the field available to the media. I’m taking this as a sign, as much as I don’t generally believe in signs.

When I do my NYRR interviews, I spend hours researching and coming up with questions for the runners I’m going to interview, probably an average of 2-4 hours apiece. Then I go interview. Then I spend a few hours transcribing the interviews. Then I edit those and write them up. The average interview probably takes me around 6-8 hours in total to do. And those are the ones I can actually use. A Houston Hopefuls interview, because it’s more detailed and longer (and harder to research), typically takes me around 25 hours total from initial contact to posted interview.

I’m not whining. I’m just explaining why my contributions will be slim for the marathon. I’ve got around 50 hours of freelance work next week. Plus my insane cross-training schedule. Plus all these frigging medical appointments. So I’m going to put the kibosh on what was emerging as another source of pressure next week, much as I’d love to take full advantage of what NYRR is offering those of us with the fancy square of plastic around our necks. My apologies in advance.

But all is not lost. I will be on the NYC Marathon edition of the NY Running podcast on Tuesday November 2nd at 8PM ET, with cohorts Joe Garland and Steve Lastoe of I have no idea if I’ll actually have anything to contribute, but I’ll try. NY Running is a parallel effort to the Runners Round Table podcast, of which I have become a fan, as the archives have provided much distraction (along with entertainment and insight) during the aforementioned insane cross-training schedule.

Anyway, tune in on Tuesday and help us make the show interesting. I’ll post something after the marathon. I just have no idea what.