Monday, April 30, 2012

St. Luke's Half Crazy Half Marathon: From the Inside

You couldn't ask for a better day. Crisp temperatures. Light breeze. A sun that steadily grew stronger and warmer. Great running weather.
And run we did. According to a Morning Call account, over 3200 idiots ran through the streets and parks of Allentown in Sunday's St. Luke's Half Marathon. A few ran for the money. A few more ran to set personal records. But most of us ran 13.1 miles for no real reason. Why?  'Cuz we're nuts.

Not completely. The real insaniacs run complete marathons. Then, they keel over and die. Half-marathoners are only partially nuts. One of the runners proved that, spray-painting "half crazy" all over his car.

Before the race, I saw State Rep. Joe Brennan at William Allen High School's gym. His biggest concern was how he was going to be able to smoke. He had cigarettes stashed all over the place, along with little pieces of candy. He was running his first race. A frickin' half marathon.

Half crazy.

Then I bumped into Bethlehem Attorney Joe Yannuzzi, a serious endurance athlete who has climbed the Himalayan Mountains. I once ran a team race with this barrister, in which he managed somehow to get lost. He made fun of my black shoes, which weight in at 2 pounds each.

Half crazy.

The two Joes made their way to the front line while I worked my way to the rear.

Once the race started, I started slow ... and stayed that way. Although I'm something of a loner, I did enjoy eavesdropping to the numerous conversations among runners.

The best one-liner, shouted out about a mile into the race, was "Are we there yet?"

I was shocked at the huge amount of crowd participation. In addition to what had to be hundreds of volunteers along the course, there were just as many spectators, rooting on their favorites. I loved their signs  too.

My favorite? "Don't poop your pants!."

Half crazy.

As mentioned in The Morning Call, two runners were Bethlehem firefighters, dressed in complete firefighting gear, including helmets. They carried an American flag. There was also a woman wearing either a bride's or First Holy Communion veil. Not sure what the Hell was going on there.

Half crazy.

Of all the many nice features in this race, what I enjoyed most were the thirteen very different bands strung out along the course, from rock performers to classical to an actual taiko ensemble calling itself Sanshi 5 (Manhattan Taiko). Their loud Japanese drums could be heard in the first, third and twelfth miles. Very powerful and inspirational.

Japanese bagpipes.

The race ended at Allentown's huge J. Birney Crum stadium. Runners limped their way around the track to finisher's medals, bottles of water, fruit, brownies, some delicious couscous concoction and vegan sausage sandwiches.  Say what you will about Dieruff or Allen, but that majestic stadium has to be the Lehigh Valley's best.

Joe Brennan, who had beaten me pretty soundly, was kind enough to greet me at the finish line. He even put off smoking for a few minutes.

Joe Yannuzzi had taken another wrong turn. He's still running somewhere, but is doing six-minute miles.

It was also nice to see former Allentown City Council member Michael Donovan cross that finish line. At this time last year, Michael was battling cancer. Having overcome that hurdle, 13.1 miles is nothing.

Not so crazy after all.

12 comments:

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

Congrats! Don't know how you do it...constantly losing weight, posting at all hours, following Dat and his sports, running. When do you sleep?

Biggest congrats have to go to Michael Donovan. Congrats to a strong man

Anonymous said...

How does he do it??

Blow!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gracedale goons always have a hateful answer.

c said...

Congrats Bernie!

Anonymous said...

2:21, geez Bernie, run faster.

WEPD said...

rumor has it he naps after stalking

Bernie O'Hare said...

You got that right. I slept 4 hours after getting home yesterday.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"2:21, geez Bernie, run faster."

Hey, that's a blistering 10:50 per mile. I finished 2534 out of 3169 finishers. 635 people were slower than I!!

This Summer, I'll concentrate on getting my speed back. I'm sure I can break 2:20.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of wrong turns and Joe Yannuzzi, I find it tragically ironic that in his personal life he is an advocate and philanthropist for children! However, in his legal profession he tends to forget about the children when he can pad his pocketbook by representing parents of children who admittedly have drug and alcohol addictions instead of advocating for the best interest of the child!

I'm not sure what his diet consists of for him to run six minute miles and climb mountain peaks, but the man certainly is not eating any moral fiber!

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:26, What a disgusting and cowardly thing to say from someone who obviously knows noting about moral fiber.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Berne! It's always great to set ones goals and nail them.

Seamus

Ivan Denisovich said...

Congrats! 13.1 is no easy feat!