In Central Park or along the Hudson River, runners were yesterday to complete the storied New York City Marathon — just not along the same course.
The annual race, originally set for yesterday, was one of many events canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but diehard runners were not missing their shot in what would have been the marathon’s 50th year.
“The day they announced that it wasn’t going to happen, that’s the day I said I’m going to run it anyway,” said Paul Casino, 55, who has competed every year since 2004.
“If I stop, I’m going to regret it,” he said.
Casino, who is originally from the Philippines, even joined hundreds of people who ran the marathon in 2012, despite its cancelation following the direct hit from Hurricane Sandy.
Organizers canceled the marathon on June 24, but, like many other major road races, offered runners the option of completing the 42.2km between Oct. 17 and yesterday — anywhere in the world.
A smartphone app measures the distance covered, allowing the competitor to log an official time and — if they finish — obtain the coveted finisher’s medal.
For many runners, months of lockdown and no other races on the horizon cramped their preparations. For some, like Matt Coneybeare, the coronavirus took a direct toll.
After suffering through two days of acute symptoms in early April, the computer engineer needed a month — but only a month — to get back to where he was before COVID-19.
Coneybeare has already completed his marathon, running through four of New York’s five boroughs in a little more than three hours.
He had to skip Staten Island because the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge linking it to Brooklyn — closed for the tens of thousands of runners during a normal marathon — has no pedestrian path.
Casino is keeping his Manhattan marathon itinerary a carefully guarded secret, but says that if seen from the sky, the route design would spell out a clear tribute to the world’s biggest marathon.
The banker said that he could not just do “four laps” around Central Park.
“That’s just mentally draining. I don’t want to run it just for the sake of doing 26.2 miles [42.2km]. That’s just not fun,” he said. “And so I thought about it and then I looked at Google Maps.”
Casino admits he stopped running for two months out of fear of being infected at the start of the health crisis, and sank into a depression because of the lack of exercise and the lockdown.
Usually, he would run 97km to 129km per week while training for a marathon.
He headed to therapy, which he says helped, and then he started to run again.
“The way I see the marathon, it’s like a goal. It’s perfect timing at the end of the year,” he said.
Many runners, like Coneybeare, said that exercise helped them keep going as the pandemic dragged on.
‘GETTING OUT THERE’
“The routine of getting out there every day and running just keeps me sane throughout all of this,” he said. “It was important for my mental health.”
Casino, who said that he gained nearly 7kg because of the pandemic, said that he has no specific goal time, especially given that he would have to stop for traffic lights and cars.
For Coneybeare, “no one’s ever going to compare a virtual race versus a real race. It all comes down to whether you feel that you did a good job on your own or not.”
A virtual marathon is a personal challenge — no one is watching, there are no real competitors, and given the need to remain distant from others, it is a solitary pursuit.
Jack Hirschowitz, a 75-year-old psychiatrist, said that running this year would certainly be less stressful.
‘LOVE THIS CITY’
He normally juggles while running — earning the admiration of onlookers — which makes it harder to look ahead, so completing the race on his own would be a lot easier.
In a regular marathon, “I have to dodge people and sometimes you get stuck behind a group,” he said.
For many New Yorkers, running the marathon this year is more than ever a love letter to the city, which was the US epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis for months.
“I love this city to my core,” Coneybeare said. “I have no doubt that New York will bounce back to its former glory. So I’m going to stay here.”
“Even though I’ve run a thousand times, running in the city is always a new experience every day so I love running here in New York,” he added.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has welcomed Ferrari’s U-turn to support a Formula One engine freeze from 2022. The move gives Red Bull a chance to continue using Honda power after the Japanese supplier exits next year. Speaking ahead of yesterday’s final practice for today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner said that Ferrari’s decision was encouraging for F1 and everyone involved in the business end of the sport. “It’s positive news,” he said. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognize the investment and cost of these engines, particularly with the new technology coming for 2026,
Argentina’s Pablo Matera yesterday said that he was “deeply ashamed” as he was stripped of the captaincy and suspended along with two other players over messages he wrote on Twitter in 2011 to 2013. Just weeks after leading the Pumas to their first win over the All Blacks, the Argentina Rugby Union “revoked” Matera’s captaincy and suspended him, along with lock Guido Petti and hooker Santiago Socino. “The Argentina Rugby Union forcefully rejects the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Pumas squad on social media,” a statement read. In the tweets, since deleted, Matera spoke of “running over blacks” with
Taiwan Steel on Sunday celebrated with the Taiwan Football Premier League trophy, despite a 3-1 loss in their final match of the season, while Taipower claimed second place and Tatung’s Ange Samuel scored on a breakaway to claim the Golden Boot with 20 goals. Ahead of all four of Sunday’s matches players, coaches and fans observed a minute’s silence prior to kickoff in honor of Argentine great Diego Maradona, who died aged 60 on Wednesday last week, following a directive received from FIFA. Already assured the title, Taiwan Steel manager Lo Chi-chong fielded a second-string team against defending champions Tatung in Taoyuan. Lo
Argentine prosecutors on Friday were investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Diego Maradona and whether it could have involved medical negligence, judicial sources said. “There are already irregularities,” a close family member told reporters. Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had earlier called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the soccer star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death. A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung edema and chronic heart failure.” The prosecutors’ office in Buenos Aires has opened