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TCS New York City Marathon 2014 – what an adventure!

What a team, what determination, thank you for sharing this incredible experience with us. A day, a weekend we will never forget and we felt so proud to be in The Walk the Walk team.

On October 29th 2014, myself and Jim once again find ourselves heading towards our local train station in Tain starting our Journey from the Scottish Highlands to New York City… we were beside ourselves with excitement and a few nerves thrown in for good measure. We had no idea what to expect. Although New York and The New York Marathon had always been on my Wish list..

We got on our first train at 6.30am, a quick change in Inverness and that was us heading to London.. 10 hours later we were at our first stop over.

We spent the day in London our third visit this year. We did the London Marathon for Walk the Walk and also The London Moonwalk. All part of our 8 marathon challenge for 2014. New York was our grand finale.

We had a lovely day in London and booked our cab for the airport. On Friday 31st October the day had finally arrived, this was it, we were finally going to New York, we were finally going to put faces to email addresses and meet the rest of the team and Eppy of course who was at Heathrow to wave us off..

It was great meeting everyone and we even got a GU Giant chocolate spider donated to us through Virgin Atlantic and a team photo, before we knew it we were boarded and off to NYC.

We had a great flight and before we knew it we were in JFK airport, security done, luggage collected, the big black luxury bus awaited us, we made our way to Manhattan. Our first view of the famous Manhattan skyline was at night and oh my word it looked so beautiful with all the lights a scene from so many movies really quite breath taking, Soon we were getting our bags and heading into the Crowne Plaza hotel in Times Square and there was Nina and Fran a member of the team waiting for us, a wonderful welcome with hugs and a goodie bag complete with a halloween pumpkin cookie which came in very handy at a silly hour during the night. We just couldn’t believe we were there.

As we headed to the 28th floor of the hotel and moved into our room we just looked out the window and tried to take it all in.

We gathered downstairs and caught up with Nina and arranged the next morning, no time for sleeping in, well it is New York after all and the city that never sleeps.We had a 5k dash to the finish to do, so we unpacked the kit, hung up the bras and rooted out the trainers. New York city the bra girls and guy ( My husband Jim) have arrived.

Saturday was a wet and chilly day to say the least but that didn’t stop us .We made our way to the 5k ‘dash to the finish’, the team looked great and we were all buzzing especially when we threw ourselves at the Lovely NYPD for a few pics. Bras and ponchos on we headed off on the walk. The dash to the finish is to allow people to have a wee taster of what the last 3 miles of the NYC marathon are like, the finish is in Central park so it really is exciting.. it was a great walk despite the wet and the cold.. at the end we dived back to the hotel to get changed, next stop Expo to register, get our numbers and look round the stalls.. getting our bib numbers and bags made it all very real.

We had our lovely team ‘pasta party’ That night which involved celebrating 4 birthdays which then involved two puddings as Nina had very kindly arranged a joint birthday cake for us all to enjoy… oh the hardship of it all.

Back at the hotel it was time to triple check everything, book the alarm call and try and get some sleep before the big day, early start we had to be on our bus for 6.30am which would take us to Staten Island.

Sunday 02.11.14 The big day. Well no going back now, the day had arrived, we boarded our bus, and headed to the start. Luckily enough Nina had managed to get us passes for The Freds team tent which provided hot drink and bagel and with 50mph winds the hot drink went down a storm.

The hours passed by quite quickly and soon we were at the start, 10.55am and we were off.We had the Staten Island Bridge to conquer, all 2 miles of it and it even had two levels. Thankfully we were guided to the lower level. Well I don’t think any of us will ever forget ‘The Bridge’ you certainly felt the 50mph winds there quite an incredible experience as you got blown sideways, but we knuckled down, burst out laughing and beat the bridge.. The Walk the Walk team were on their way..

The atmosphere was electric and I think myself, Jim and Jo just smiled the whole way around and despite the wind the bras were out oh and the kilts I think we can safely say that Jim was the only man in a bra in the NYC marathon As we worked our way through the 5 boroughs that make up New York the smiles got bigger, the cheers got louder and lets not forget the NYPD or the FDNY men in uniform everywhere.  

Every borough had something to offer and we still couldn’t believe we were there, we were walking the NYC marathon, from Staten Island to Brooklyn to streets lined with Brownstone houses, bands on every corner, cheers from every person, we just kept on walking and smiling, a man held up a sign “free hugs here” how can you ignore that so off we went for our free hugs, before we knew it we were in the Bronx, where a guy spotted us in our bras and then spotted Jim and with one big smile and great new York accent all we heard was “Jim your my man”- brilliant. The miles ticked on by and soon we were in Manhattan. Where did those miles go.. we stamped on every mile marker as we passed over the mats making sure our friends, family and of course Walk the Walk team back in the UK could track our every mile, our every step. As the night drew in and we once again headed into the bright lights of Manhattan we were soon in Central Park, we were on the final 3 miles just like the day before at the Dash to the Finish. There it was -the finish line, the three of us held hands and crossed the line together, Bras fully out and smiles bigger than before. we had done it we had just finished the world’s biggest marathon, so many hugs, tears of happiness, a moment I, we will never ever forget. lets not forget the Bling. what a mighty fine medal it is too…

We grabbed our bags and phones and made contact with our other team members, wondering how they were all doing on this incredible journey. We soon heard that everyone had finished. everyone had achieved their goal. Nina, Jo, Laura, Fran, Jane, Jim and myself (Gill) we are so very very proud of you all.

What a team, what determination, thank you for sharing this incredible experience with us. A day, a weekend we will never forget and we felt so proud to be in The Walk the Walk team.

Well the journey doesn’t stop there.

The following morning we all went to the celebration breakfast at Ellens stardust diner. The all American experience where the waiters and waitresses are all very very talented musical theatre singers and burst into song whilst working. You really have to be there, the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. We all wore our medals that day with such pride. we had all been told that for at least 24 hours after the marathon you should wear your medal around the city. We did this and the amount of perfect strangers that come up to you and genuinely congratulate you is overwhelming.

Of course we must not forget the support crew. Roger seeing you at mile 16 wrapped up warm, with your Union Jack hanging over the railings and waving flags and cheering, just about brought us to tears. It was just so good to see you there and of course you, Harry and Sally all shouting for us in the Bleachers stand as we marched on by, well your support meant a lot to all of us…

A week on from marathon day and it is still sinking in, everything that we did, that was achieved. On the Monday we sadly had to start saying farewells to new friends, soon there were just 4 of us left who flew back on Thursday night.

We have left New York with wonderful memories, new lifelong friends, an experience that we all shared together and that no one can ever take away from us and I think as people we have all grown as individuals and together..

We wouldn’t change anything about our New York adventure. It’s a wonderful wonderful city and its people are so friendly and welcoming. We cannot wait to return.
So once again thank you to the magnificent 7 :):):) and our terrific trio supporting us all the way.

If you ever get the chance to do this challenge go for it. You won’t regret it 

with good health and best wishes
Gill and Jim.

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