The mother of all marathons!! After 3 years of applying in the lottery, I got the guaranteed entry in 2007. However, as Nadia was in the later stages of pregnancy, I decided to postpone it till 2008. Little I knew that I would move to Dubai in 2008. So, we decided to fly all the way to NYC from Dubai for the race. We took the 18 hour flight from Dubai to Toronto on Oct 31st. On the way, Zara got sick and puked all the way to Amsterdam. Totally exhausted, we reached Toronto in the evening and drove straight to Kingston with Lala. By the time we reached Kingston and went to bed, it was already 2am. Next morning, I left alone for NYC as Nadia decided to stay back in Kingston with the sick kids. That afternoon on Saturday, I reached NYC and found a cheap hostel for $30/night in Manhattan (sharing with 3 other people). That evening after collecting my race kit, I went back to hotel and decided to call it an early night. With the excitement of running the NYC Marathon, I could not sleep till about 12am. At 5am my alarm went off and woke up the other 3 guys in the room. After changing, I took the subway to NYC Library from where we were bussed to Staten Island for the race start. It was a chilly morning and had difficulty keeping myself warm during the wait period. The experience was once in a life time. I was at the park with 40,000 plus runners, all waiting to take part in the race. They served hot coffee and bagels for the runners and everyone was in a festive mood. Finally after about 3 hours of waiting, the race started. It was a split start, with the first pack starting at 9am and the rest followed with a 20 minute delay. We ran through all the 5 boroughs of New York. The crowd support along the course was amazing. I have never seen so many people running and cheering along the course. Some of the runners were in costumes. Even though I was getting tired, the buzz on course got me going. The final few miles went through Central Park which in the middle of autumn was at it’s most beautiful. I crossed the finish line in over 5 hours and those were the best 5 hrs I have ever spent on a race course. After collecting my medal, I posed for some photographs and then walked for about 30 minutes to reach the gates of the park. I took the subway back to the hostel, had a nice Chinese meal and then drove 2 hours to Pennsylvania to meet with Nadia, kids, mama and Lala. So, 18 hrs of flying followed by 3 hrs drive to Kinsgton and another 8 hrs of drive to NYC, I completed the NYC Marathon. What more can I ask for!!!
Ziyad Rahim is an adventure-runner from Pakistan. He currently holds 10 Guinness World Records in long-distance running, ranging from marathons to ultra-marathons.