Nike Women’s Marathon – Views from a Spectator

I’ve been to the West Coast more times in the past month than I have in my entire life. (Unless you count Hawaii, I guess.) Anyway, I spent my weekend in San Francisco cheering on participants in the Nike Women’s Marathon. For work.

I get paid for this?!

Running and cheering and guys in tuxes? Yes, thank you.

If you don’t know, all finishers of NWM get a Tiffany’s necklace handed to them on a silver platter by these lovely gentlemen. Yes, I’m serious. I’m tempted to sign up for this race next year…if it weren’t so close to Ironman Lake Placid, I would 100% sign up…and make all of you join me. Although I didn’t run this year, I was working and was able to see everything that went into this race. The course was beautiful. The logistics seemed pretty flawless. And did you miss the part about the attractive men handing out Tiffany’s necklaces on silver platters? Pretty genius.

Myself and a coworker accompanied 128 TNT participants to San Fran. That is not easy to do, my friends! But we survived the event and even got a solid long run in. Let’s back up to Friday – we started by checking out the expo:

Fashion Show turned Race Expo in the heart of San Fran!

Because our Saturday was jam-packed with work-related activities, we woke up around 5AM and ran 5 miles. Ran to the Bay Bridge and thought it was the Golden Gate Bridge until we realized the difference about 12 hours later. Whoops. Our plan was to run another 10-ish miles after we took care of all our responsibilities for the day. So, after enjoying our hotel room view for a couple seconds and attending an equally inspiring and hilarious Inspiration Dinner emceed by John “the Penguin” Bingham…

My favorite Penguin joke: “How can you call a 2:08 marathoner an endurance runner…when he can barely run 2 hours?!”

…we headed for the real Golden Gate Bridge. Oh. My.

Heavenly.

I’m moving here. Bye NY.

Everything the light touches…is San Francisco.

We ran 6 miles to the bridge, a couple miles over and back, and 6 miles back to our hotel. Naturally we got lost on the way and ended up with almost 20 miles on our feet for the day. I felt pretty good, minus a lack of hydration. Plus, we were more “run-walking” AKA sightseeing.

Tourism – running style.

Ta-da! Also, I look like I’m 2 feet tall.

Thanks for being good to us, Marin County. Sorry I couldn’t open my eyes for you.

We finished the day with a bottle of wine, Thai food takeout, and an early bedtime. Perfection.

Sunday was raceday. I did a lot of cheering. A lot of cowbelling. Have I mentioned that cowbelling is a serious sport?  You can get injured from it. And sore. I’m still recovering.

Here are some of my favorite mid-cowbelling photos:

We started cheering at mile 10.5 and eventually headed to 25.2 for the finish, where we saw an unbelievable range of emotion on the faces of the runners (and spectators!). All of the TNTers were smiling as they came through the last mile…happy and strong, which is a testament to our awesome coaches. It was also a treat to see the last participant come through the finish. I was worried about how they would feel, until all of the staff members lined up and all the 30+ coaches ran in together with that participant. It brought tears to my eyes!

Lining up for the last few finishers!

This weekend took a lot out of me, but I also gained a lot. I came away with a sense of strength, happiness, and thankfulness. Strength to run, strength to solve problems, strength to do my job to the best of my best ability. Happiness from seeing all the successes of the runners and walkers, and from knowing this team and this race raised a whole bunch of money for cancer research. Thankful for my health, my strength, my happiness. My life.

For now, I’m just trying to recover from a crazy month. I need rest. I need relaxation. I need candy corn. I need to follow these fellas to the next Nike Women’s Marathon…

See you in San Fran?

Have you run the Nike Women’s Marathon? Know how serious cowbelling is?

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!
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8 Comments

  1. October 20, 2012 / 6:04 am

    I’m VERY glad to read that everyone had a good experience. I’ve heard some unpleasant stories about the Nike womens marathon- they ran out of the Necklaces one year, and I also heard that some of the slower runners were mocked by the event staff, so this is nice to read. Take heart, did you know that there is a Nike Womens half, I believe coming to Washington DC? Probably at a different time! Maybe it will fit into your race schedule. I like the necklace idea, what a better item than a Medal. I mean, you can not wear your medal around with out looking freaky, but a tiffany necklace..oh yes you can!

  2. October 20, 2012 / 6:05 am

    I’m VERY glad to read that everyone had a good experience. I’ve heard some unpleasant stories about the Nike womens marathon- they ran out of the Necklaces one year, and I also heard that some of the slower runners were mocked by the event staff, so this is nice to read. Take heart, did you know that there is a Nike Womens half, I believe coming to Washington DC? Probably at a different time! Maybe it will fit into your race schedule. I like the necklace idea, what a better item than a Medal. I mean, you can not wear your medal around with out looking freaky, but a tiffany necklace..oh yes you can!

  3. October 22, 2012 / 10:57 pm

    I ran this race and yes the Tiffany Necklace was the bomb!! I enjoyed this post and I laughed so much reading it! Thank you and your pic’s are awesome!!!

    • October 23, 2012 / 7:27 am

      Congratulations!! Totally jealous of you-I need to go for that necklace next year! Thanks so much for your kind words :)

  4. October 24, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    you are awesome! great to be a runner but also super fulfilling to be a spectator..did you happen to steal me one of those tiffany necklaces? and one more week of candy corn…enjoy it while you can!! miss you xoxo

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