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Mom Post–Marathon Details

July 2, 2008

The Manhattan Island Marathon swim begins at 9:15 EDT on July 5.  It looks as though there will be 24 solo swimmers and some relays.  The swimmers range in age from 24-60 (all of us could do this too if we were so inclined).  Michelle is the second youngest of the field of challengers.  Of the 24 registered, 9 are women.

The top two finishers from last year were women and they are swimming again this year.  In 2007, they swam the course in 8 hours and 36 minutes and 8 hours and 46 minutes respectively.   The final finisher clocked the race at 10 hours and 32 minutes.  I don’t know if Michelle has a goal time.  If she does, she only would share it with her crew chief and team.

The race is 28.5 miles long and goes from Barttery Park on the south tip of Manhattan up the East River under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridge.  In this leg, the swimmers are guided by their team mates and dodge float planes that take off and land in this section of the river.  At the end of this first leg, the swimmers pass Roosevelt Island.  I wonder what swimmers see from the water, and if they can see these monuments, does it help pass the time? 

The second leg encompasses the Harlem River.  Swimmers enter the Harlem River at Hell’s Gate.  In this section they must watch for boat traffic including the Circle Line.  I think swimmers give way to those craft.

The final leg begins where the Harlem River joins the Hudson River at Spuyten Duyvil. Swimmers pass under the George Washington Bridge and must stay far enough away from Manhattan to not be sucked into the sewage disposal plant between 145-135th Streets.  I hope Michelle’s suit is very, very tight at this point.   The flotsam is dangerous and jetsam here might be especially nasty.   Besides the ever present sewage danger, swimmers must watch for boats leaving the many piers during parts of this leg. 

Finally, the swimmers pass the financial center of Manhattan and back to Battery Park.

On the English Channel swim, Jane Barry timed Michelle and managed her nutrition.  She is the head crew person this time too.  She will be joined by Michelle’s friend and physical therapist, Kathy.  Those two will help Michelle pace herself, maintain fluids and energy sources, and guide her around things in and on the river.  Jane is great and has fun in a very no-nonsense way when she is on a boat helping Michelle.  Jane just finished her own great accomplishment–the ironman in Idaho two weeks ago and here she is on a boat around Manhattan.  Tom and I will be managing the updates to this site.  Once on the boat is enough.  We know so little and take up space from those who should be on-board.  As exciting as this is to watch, it is hard too.  We will see which is harder, being up close or at a distance. 

Michelle and Jane fly to Manhattan tonight (Wednesday) on the ‘red eye’ from Portland.  They land early tomorrow with enough time to get the lay of the land before Saturday and then fly back very, very early on Sunday and work on Monday.  What a life!

Next, the race.




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