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2012 NYC Half Marathon Highlights

Contributed by Michele Gonzalez,  wife, mother, ultrarunner, and FitFluential Ambassador. 
I had decided not to sign up for the NYC Half this year.  My goals for 2012 including PR’ing in both the marathon and the half marathon and I knew it would be tough to PR on this tough course (the first half is extremely hilly).  I have also run the NYC Half before and so couldn’t justify spending upwards of $150 for the registration fee since my husband and I are trying to limit our spending in preparation for our move next month.  Lastly, I wanted to focus primarily on the NJ Marathon in May and didn’t want to have to deal with tapering and recovering midway through the training cycle.  So no NYC Half for me!
I knew a lot of people running and have never had the opportunity to cheer during such a big race because I am either racing or have a family commitment that prevented me from running the race in the first place.  I decided to drive into the city this year and support my friends, fellow bloggers, and the rest of the runners.  It was such an amazing experience!
I found an awesome location along 7th Avenue – I figured the field would be more spread out by the 10k mark and that it would be easier to spot runners I knew.  (If you are not familiar with the course for the NYC Half, you can find it here.)

7th Ave empty and ready for the 15,000 runners

Peter Kirui of Kenya and Deriba Merga of Ethiopia started the race off with a blazing 4:27 Mile 1 – more than 30 seconds faster than the leaders last year and already threatening the course record set by  Haile Gebrselassie (59:24) in 2007.  By the mile and half marker, NYRR reported that no other males were in site.  Kirui and Merga would continue to hold their lead and finish 1st and 2nd, respectively, almost a minute before the 3rd place male finisher (Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia).  Kirui spent most of the race surging ahead of Merga, only to have him close the gap, repeatedly, until the last stretch when Kirui surged ahead to win in a time of 59:39, only 15 sec off the course record time.  Merg and Lilesa finished with times of 59:48 and 1:00:45, respectively.

Kirui and Merga alone in the lead just past the 10k mark

Amazing stride and air!

Look at those legs!

3rd Place Lilesa...with no other runners in sight!

Who says you can't have a muscular upper body and be a fast runner?

The pack vying for 4th place...Meb and Ritz are in the far back!
The top US finishers were Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished in 13th and 15th place, respectively (times of 1:01:41 and 1:01:52).
The women’s race looked very similar to the male’s race – Kim Smith of New Zealand and Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.  Dado spent most of the race right behind Smith – until she made a big move just out of the tunnel from Battery Park to the East Side.  Kim Smith couldn’t respond to the 30 meter lead of Dado. Not only did Dado win, but she set a new course record with a finishing time of 1:08:35 (17 seconds faster than the record held by Caroline Rotich who came in 8th this year).  Smith finished just 8 seconds behind, with a time of 1:08:43, while Kara Goucher, who took over 3rd place just before the 10k mark, finished in 3rd (and the top US female) with a time of 1:09:12.

Smith and Dado, with no other females in sight!

Love Smith's look of concentration and determination!

Kara, in 3rd place, leading the line of females out of Central Park

Love Kara's strong body

My running idol and favorite long distance runner
Other top US females: Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, former teammate and roommate of one of my friends, Tia, came in 5th (1:09:55), while Desiree Davila finished in 9th (1:10:44).

Desi!!
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I managed to snap a couple of photos of some interesting outfits…

How do you possibly run with THAT on your head?

The flower princess!
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Huge CONGRATS to everyone who raced this weekend!  Seems like this was a huge weekend to race and so many friends PR’d!!!! =)  Special shoutout to:
Pamela: PR’d at the NYC Half: 2:04:19
Leticia: PR’d at the RnR USA Half Marathon: 2:07:20
- Faith: PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:38:57
- Rob: PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:47:38
Jess  (from Pace of Me): PR’d AND BQ’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:34:46
Jocelyn (from Enthusiastic Runner): PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:54:23
Steve (from Runner on the Right): PR’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:39
Doug (from Doug Cassaro): PR’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:47:49
Did you race this weekend??  
Did you run the NYC Half?  How did you do?  What did you think of the newly designed course?

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