Monday, April 18, 2016

More/Shape Women's Half-Marathon: A Race For EVERYONE

Thanks to the fabulous folks at More/Shape Magazine headquarters, I got to run their beautiful, well-organized and uplifting half marathon this past weekend by invitation. I am so honored! Also, this was a chance to come back home to NY and do an actual race in Central Park, something I hadn't done since 1999. Just so you know, Harlem Hill has not changed ONE BIT.

At the start!
Women's running events are fast becoming more than a chance to get our movement on. For many the More/Shape Women's Half Marathon was a destination race. Not only is the location of the event in THE PREMIERE running city in the world (that is personal opinion that I'm pretty sure is backed up by actual facts...) that included a free Yoga for Runners event at Bloomingdales on Saturday morning, goodie bag included. Too bad I missed FREE YOGA and a Bloomies goodie bag. What???? Next time.

We started at the Naumberg Bandshell near 72nd and Central Park West, nearly 7500 women decked out in outfits ranging from minimalist performance-wear to tutus and tights. The energy was electric and eclectic. There were runners and walkers of all ages, many abilities, speeds, goals, shades, sizes, heights--you name whatever type of woman comes to mind when you say the word WOMAN and she was there. I was not surprised by the variety of folks at this event. An event that is invitational and embracing to all will draw well, everyone. 

Your friend was there. Your mom and her mom. Your sister was there. Your aunt and her neighbor she trained with were there. Those young women from Brooklyn were there. The two ladies who had just met in the last corral, each wanting an half-marathon PR were there, and they decided to run together and cheer on anyone and everyone else that passed them--calling them sexy, hottie, badass...
It must have been the first loop...still smiling. Gear notes: Pearl Izumi Road M2
shoes, Swiftwick Aspire socks, Skirt Sports Redemption capris in Free Love print,
Merrell Essential Half Zip, VSX Incredible Sports Bra, Torrid Bra Tank.
  • Cassandra flew in from Detroit and was happy to share that she had been working on her health for a while and that she had done a bunch of half marathons! (She took one of my pictures)
  • Andrea Figueroa from Puerto Rico was there to run with her best friend.
  • Vivian Chacon from Miami was there to run with her sister for some much needed bonding since they live apart for most of the year.
  • Joanna Haberts from California came to prove her badassery on the course after she lost significant weight over the past year.
  • Machele Clark, a teacher and coach from upstate New York was there running with her mom.
In fact there were a lot of mom-daughter duos. Some moms were encouraging their daughters to keep moving. Some were being encouraged and motivated by their daughters. All of the pairs I encountered worked together to get it done. One pair in front of me, met up with their partner-dad about 10 miles into the race and dared him to try to get to the finish before they got there...a little friendly competition.

Almost everywhere in the park, and boy was it an amazing day to spectate--sunny, almost warm, perfect, family members and friends greeted us. Volunteers cheerfully (ok, most of them anyway) handed out water and gatorade, tried to keep the tourists on their Citibikes from crashing into us. Other volunteers in neon green vests kept the cyclists out of our lane; they also yelled out words of encouragement:

Only 5k to go!
That was your last Harlem Hill!
You just did that!
Just think of all the people that aren't even up yet!
This is the wine and cheese aid station! (Did someone say WINE?)

This event was gold. The organization, the course, the volunteers, the goodie bags, the shirts (okay, we should work on the shirts...maybe a slightly larger cut for those who don't want figure hugging shirts), packet pick-up, pre-race information...all excellent. There was even food left at the end for us slow folks. Good job SHAPE/MORE Magazine and NYRR. I'm impressed!

Approaching the finish
This race was first half marathon that I've done in a while in which I ran most of it with very short walking breaks. I didn't PR, but I did better than my last very hilly road half which was about 3:15. I'm aiming for under 3 before I start training in earnest for the NYC Marathon and I have a feeling I'll be able to do it! 


  1. Sounds like a really fun race! Some day I need to run a race in NYC. Great job on a hilly course.

    1. Thanks! Yes!! We need to show some Skirt sister love in NYC--start making plans!

  2. Congratulations! I did this race last year and it was fun, but I opted to sit out this year because 2 loops in Central Park is NOT my jam! LOL. But I love the crowd support for this race, its amazing.

    1. AHA! The loops. Totally get it. Mentally difficult and frustrating--have you done a timed course on a 1 mile loop? Talk about a mental challenge! This was great though because the loops were "only" 6 miles and not 10 or 15 which have been my go-to as of late. Thanks!

  3. What a great race recap - I love how you focus on everything, good and not-so-good, in a nice way. You look fabulous in your outfit and I love how your socks match your top. Congrats on a great race on what sounds like a challenging course!

  4. New visitor to your blog and I love it! I've been an on-again/off-again beginner runner for a few years now. Was doing well last year but stopped as I developed problems with my calves/bottoms of my feet. This year its all about walking for me but am super excited! First race of the year is tomorrow - I'll be doing a 5K. Another medal to hang on the wall.

    The Shape Women's half marathon sounds great! And wonderful that its helping encourage women to get out there. NYC sounds like a fantastic place to run; I had followed a few other bloggers that have done the NYC Marathon over the past few years and its one of those places I dream about some day running in.

    Keep up the great writing. Looking forward to reading more :)