Friday, December 1, 2023

Episode 74: New York City Marathon & Achilles International, with Blair McConnell

Episode #74 can be found most places podcasts are heard, and topics can be explored more through the links below!

Achilles Athlete Blair McConnell in Center,
Guides Anton to left and Mark to right

The TCS New York City Marathon is a race like none other, and many train for years in expectation of being able to take part, including this episode's featured guest Blair McConnell of New Zealand, who came as part of the Achilles International Delegation from his home country. Having been thwarted by the pandemic in 2020, he waited three years longer to run his ultimate destination race, and first marathon, through the 5 boroughs: starting in Staten Island and proceeding over the Verazzano Bridge into Brooklyn, then the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. In this episode, we have a few live clips from just before and just after the marathon alongside Anton McLean (his guide from Christchurch) and Mark Lane-Holbert (myself, guide from USA). However the majority of the episode is recorded with Blair a few weeks after the marathon with him back in Christchurch, adding some perspective. 

Blair was recently featured in a local Christchurch article also, you can read here. 

Achilles Tent/Prep area just before start of the 2023 TCS NYC Marathon,
Verazzano Bridge sunrise in background!

In this episode, we explore what it's like to join an Achilles Chapter and why he runs with them, how he found his guides, and several high points and considerations of traveling internationally for a marathon. We also discuss some of the challenges of being a visually impaired running in a crowded big city marathon, but alongside this the joy and thrill of immense crowds along the course, with music and languages from many different cultures represented in NYC. We also touch on the phenomenon of Park Runs, his recent accomplishment of 100 Park Runs, and his upcoming adventures. If you would like to explore Achilles International, you can visit their website.  Here, you'll find chapters around the US and the world, and find out more about both athlete and guide opportunities.

If you have a corner of running culture you are exploring or would like to, share with us on Facebook or Instagram. Until next time, Happy Running!

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