This race report is written in a different style. I’m trying to capture the collective experience of this race, rather than my own personal perspective.
Race: Superfund Super Run 10K
Where: Greenpoint Playground to Pig Beach in Brooklyn, NY
When: Sept 7, 2017
Once a year, runners gather together at Greenpoint Playground. It’s a stealth conclave of various running clubs and some stragglers in search of the fastest route to the finish line – this year at Pig Beach. A map of the recommended route is posted on South Brooklyn Running Club’s website, but experienced runners know a better, shorter route exists. Ask for details on how they’ll get to Pig Beach, and all you’ll get is a laugh and vague, “I just hope I don’t get lost.” These are closely guarded secrets, until Strava reveals them all in exchange for kudos.
At night, rules are flipped on their heads. Runners ruled the street. In the cool crisp air, we ran fearlessly in the night. Passers-by looked on in bewilderment as a steady stream of bibbed runners flowed past. All bibbed, except for one barking Bandit whose thin lithe legs were hampered by her tethered partner’s heavier slower legs.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the streets of Brooklyn don’t cooperate by offering a neat perpendicular grid. You’re on your own to devise the fastest route. Several of us assiduously searched on Google maps for the shortest route. A cut through a park here, a diagonal line to run the tangent there, small slivers of distance shaved off in order to save precious minutes off the gun time. Other runners dispatched with the idea of studying altogether, and instead relied on following more knowledgeable runners. That was a fine strategy until the leaders turned out to be faster and the followers fell too far behind to follow.
Others cursed at the obstacles thrown their way – red lights, trucks, oncoming cars, and hecklers. Some runners wander lost, despite studying hours earlier, for having missed a turn (or two) on a dimly lit street. A few surge confidently ahead, secure in their knowledge of the way having completed a reconnaissance mission in the light of day.
No matter the route, whether running as a solitary endeavor or in a pack, like wolves, eventually all runners find their way to Pig Beach. Like a swarm of bees, we rush through the doors to find the finish line, cheers, hugs, and beer. We know we’ll do this again next year.