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Guardian rides the Marathon

Not all participants of the New York City Marathon get to experience the race by the heart-pounding action of running all five boroughs. Here’s one Guardian reporters experience as a bicycle escort for the wheelchair riders.


Getting to cycle the New York Marathon

by: Matt Seaton
published: November 7th, 2011

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Amanda McGrory of the US crosses the finish line to win in the women’s wheelchair division of the ING New York City Marathon, 6 November 2011. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

I was supposed to be running in this year’s New York Marathon, but injury brought my training to a shuddering halt. To say I was disappointed to have to pull out (even if the many people in my position do get to defer their entry to next year) is typically-English understatement, so when the opportunity arose to ride the 26.2-mile runner’s course on my bike on race day, I jumped at it.
I still had a smidgeon of envy for the runners, as New York dawned in perfect conditions, chilly but brilliant, on Sunday morning. But I couldn’t be churlish about it for long: after all, how many people get to parade on their bike for the whole closed-road course, complete with cheering crowds?
The answer is about 70 people have that unusual privilege, although no one is cheering for us, the cyclists, because rightly, they’re yelling encouragement to the wheelchair racers, whom the cyclists accompany as outriders.

Read more: here.

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