May is National Running Month but it should be April. Not only did I compete in the Helderberg-to-Hudson half-marathon on the Albany County Rail Trail (let’s NOT talk about my finish time) but I also worked the world-class track and field competition known as the Penn Relays Carnival this week.
Franklin Field in University City, Philadelphia is a place where dreams come true for generations of track and field athletes. Locally, Saratoga Springs won the girls’ Championship of America distance medley for the first time since 2004 with a time of 11:59.31.
The 125th edition of the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor track and field event culminated on Saturday in the USA vs. the World races. I was swept up in the excitement with tens of thousands, notably green and yellow flag-bearing Jamaicans, cheering on their favorites.
It was unbelievable seeing sprinters catapult themselves from zero to over 20 mph in just a few seconds. Such talent and pure grit! Arguably one of the best sports in the world to watch live.
Track legends like Jim Ryun, first high school athlete to run a mile in under 4 minutes, and Olympic world champions, Justin Gatlin, Sanya Richards-Ross and Lauryn Williams, provided commentary for NBCSN.
I’m used to keeping pace with lean, long-legged distance runners (for the first 10 seconds) so it was fun to watch short, thick leg muscles and solid calves break the ribbon. (A carbo-load plate of spaghetti the day before a race? Not likely for these runners.)
The City of Brotherly Love was on pace with springtime colors too. Their namesake cherry blossom trees were shedding pink confetti provoking allergies by students on University campus.
I drove around town shooting iconic favorites like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Pat’s King of Steaks, City Hall, Schuykill Boathouse Row, LOVE Park, the Betsy Ross House, and Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Kira and Tanya (Russian friends of Albany’s sister-city organization) recreated the scene from the legendary Rocky movie and ran up the grand stairway leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art known as “The Rocky Steps.” Huffing and puffing at only 72 steps, my friends from Russia agreed that they were in no shape for the Penn Relays or a half-marathon.