Visit the Official WinCatherine Website

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NYC Marathon

After being away for a few days I'm back to work and thought I would take some time to update the blog since it has been awhile. While working on behind the scenes business items there is not usually much to report that would be both interesting to read about or write about!

On Thursday, October 30th I left for the Big Apple to prepare to capture some footage during the weekend of the ING New York City Marathon. Catherine's husband, Anthony, was to arrive on Friday morning in order to be there to support Catherine. He is now in school 5 nights a week working towards a masters degree, working full time and made the 19+ hour trek here. I wanted to get there the day before and hit the video store for some supplies before filming his arrival. His support of his wife is so great that he arrived on Friday morning and had to leave on Monday afternoon so he wouldn't miss too much school but could also be in New York for the marathon. To me that shows a total commitment and I wanted to capture that on film!

Anthony arrived on Friday around 2pm with his ever present smile beaming across his face! Despite his jet lag he was upbeat and genuinely glad to be there to support his wife! Their reunion was sweet and you could tell how happy Catherine was to have him there with her!

We had lunch in the hospitality suite along with Lisa, Mostafa and Hosea Roetich (who was also scheduled to run on Sunday)and I was amazed by all of the amazing athletes that would come in and out of the area. The field of elite runners signed on for this prestigious race was the strongest in the race's history and there were many others present who were not even running. I am always inspired by being in Catherine's presence and add to that some of the other biggest names in distance running. Almost all of these amazing athletes were very approachable; Lornah Kiplagat, (World Half Marathon record holder among many other titles) graciously allowed me to interview her and was very friendly, Tegla Laroupe (one of Catherine's role models), Deena Kastor (2004 Olympic Bronze medalist), freshly recovered from her unfortunate 2008 Olympic injury and just bubbly and adorable but not yet able to do a marathon; Contantina Dita (reigning Olympic gold medalist) who was so friendly and warm! I did not recognizer her when we first ran into her in the lobby; she was about to go out for a morning run the day of the marathon (she was not running because she had run the Chicago Marathon 2 weeks prior). Her hair was back and I told her that I did not recognize her without her hair down!

Mostafa, Constantina Dita, Lisa
Later when I saw her with her makeup on and her beautiful curly hair she was easily recognizable! Rita Jeptoo, another Kenyan distance runner, Martin Lel (winner of the NYC Marathon the previous two years who had to pull out this year two weeks ago due to a foot injury) was there as well as Paula Radcliffe. There were always warm greetings between Catherine and all of these athletes (except for Paula Radcliffe who kept to herself).

After lunch, Catherine went for a massage and I took Anthony for a Starbucks coffee that I had promised him before his arrival! He was completely jet-lagged but put was very valiant in his efforts to stay awake as long as possible! After the coffee I let him go back to the room and get some much needed rest! :) Lisa, Catherine and I went to get manicures and pedicures (I asked Anthony if he wanted to join us but he said he doesn't do "manicures" he would do a "womancure"!) Anyway, we had our nails done and then met Mostafa at a local Italian restaurant for dinner. Anthony slept through dinner and said he would catch up in the morning!

I was very fortunate that my younger sister, Michele, lives in NY and allowed me to stay at her Manhattan apartment right in Union Square. It was my first year ever missing Halloween at home so I was very disappointed not to see all of the little kids all dressed up. However, I will say that when I got off of the subway at the stop near Michele's apartment, what I saw more than made up for what I missed at home! I had just missed a big parade but there were hundreds of people dressed up going to local clubs and just hanging around. It was fun filming all of this and having some of the people coming up right in front of the camera and act all crazy!

On Saturday I went to Tavern on the Green to do a location check and be sure that I had what I needed for the race on Sunday and to stop into the media center to get my location release signed. After scouting the site and doing some b-roll shooting, both inside and out, I met at the Hotel where Catherine and everone else was staying and Catherine's best friend Helen arrived. She is the woman who is blind and has received medals at the para-Olymics. It was very cute to watch her and Catherine together like little schoolgirls!

Catherine and Helen (disregard date on photo, camera not set properly)
We hung out in Catherine's room and I was able to film her and Hosea getting their bottles ready to submit for the race on Sunday. When Lisa, Catherine, Hosea and Mostafa went to the technical meeting, Anthony, Helen and I took at walk to Times Square where I had to run an errand. We had a nice time and then all had dinner back at the hotel sponsored by NYRR (New York Road Runners, the organization responsible for the race). After dinner, Helen came with me and stayed at my sister's apartment. We tried to make it an early night because we knew we had to be up very early for the race on Sunday.

We woke up at 4am on Sunday and were at the hotel by 5:30. Helen wanted to see Catherine before the buses left for the starting line so she and Catherine could pray together first. Praying is a huge part of both of their lives and is something that would never be left out. The athletes all had to be outside of the Hilton for the buses to leave at 6:30am sharp! We walked Catherine and Hosea to their bus; the elite runners were in a separate bus but all of the buses left together on time. Lisa, Anthony, Mostafa, Helen and I all went back to the hotel and had breakfast until it was time to take our walk to Tavern on the Green to watch the race. It was EXTREMELY cold at 38 degrees with and a slight wind which made it feel even colder! We got to Tavern and I did some more pre- race filming.

When the race started, Catherine was in her usual position at the back of the pack. Paula Radcliffe started off very strong and never looked back. Catherine placed 5th in the race and she was very happy with the way she ran given the weather; she does not like the cold very much and prefers the heat and humidity. We stayed in the Park Room to watch the race. The room was really nice and there were two flat screen televisions with seating available to watch the race. There was also a lovely brunch served. I filmed Anthony while he watched the race; I wanted to capture his nervousness before Catherine races and just the general mood of him, Lisa and Mostafa during a big race. When Catherine finished the race, the three of them went to the finish line to meet her. She had to go to drug testing and then they waited for Hosea who came in 9th for the men. When drug testing was over, everyone came back to the Park room for lunch. Catherine did not even look like she had run as you will see from this photo taken less than 30 minutes after the marathon!

After lunch we all walked back to the hotel. The streets were mayhem with thousands and thousands of people all trying to get somewhere! It took much longer to get back to the hotel than it did to get there in the morning! Once back at the hotel everyone rested until dinner. There was a beautiful invitation-only affair held at a place called The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.

Rita Jeptoo, Helen Cherono, Catherine, Lisa Buster
It was a beautiful setting overlooking the Hudson River and the affair was lovely.

Catherine and Anthony at dinner (disregard date on photo; date on camera not set properly)

There was a short presentation hosted by Mary Wittenberg (President and CEO of New York Road Runners) where highlights of the race were shown and the top ten places in the men's, women's and wheelchair divisions were honored. We were bused back to the hotel where I said my goodbye's to Anthony and Catherine and Helen and I returned to the apartment exhausted from the long day. I know how tired I was and I didn't even run a marathon! I give so much credit to the thousands of people who finished those 26.2 miles!

The weekend was long and exhausting but I got some really nice footage. Aside from that, I was amazed at how much work goes into the planning and execution of this large, prestigious event and how many elite athletes were present! It was a great experience and one that neither I (or my feet) are likely to forget! I took the train back home and returned to reality and a lot of work to catch up on. I am looking forward to getting the trailer put together and getting out to raise the money so I can return to Kenya and complete filming! (any suggestions on where to find money in this lovely economy are greatly welcome!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!