Just one month on from London, Sanjai Sharma was back in marathon again and this time, he was lining up for the much coveted New York City Marathon. As one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, counting towards the prestigious Six Star Medal, the New York City Marathon is among the biggest and busiest out there and guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for those participating.

Sanjai was one of 50,000 runners taking to the start line, arriving from all corners of the globe to sample the iconic route. Starting in Staten Island, it then heads north through Brooklyn and Queens before diverting west across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. It then heads up to the Bronx before angling back to Manhattan and finishing in Central Park.

These were all places you see in movies and on TV, but to see them in real life must have been really quite something. And to do it whilst running a marathon would make it even more special.

Sandwiched in between the London and New York City Marathons, Sanjai had also done the Bath Half so it had been a busy month of racing for him. Finishing in 1:32:25, he’d been careful not to push too hard in that, with the his impending venture to NYC on the horizon.

Considering he’d only managed four weeks worth of training in preparation for London, Sanjai had done well to finish in 3:26:51 and that was easily enough to earn him a Good For Age place for the next one in April.

Runners cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York

The runners cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City Marathon

Strangely enough, although it was in November, it actually turned out to be a really hot day, which wasn’t ideal for Sanjai’s prospects of a quick time. Once he’d realised what the conditions were going to be like, he switched to plan B, which was essentially just to finish injury free and not to chase any specific time.

Compared to some of the big city marathons, New York wasn’t really a particularly fast course, with a fair few hills on route. In fact, it starts off with an incline that goes on for most of the first mile. There’s another one at the 15th mile going over Queensboro Bridge and there are a few more to tackle over the last 5 kilometres.

Sanjai Sharma in action at the New York City Marathon

Sanjai Sharma performed well in the New York City Marathon despite the warm conditions

Going through the first 5k in 23:34, Sanjai went on to hit the 10k mark in 46:35 before going on to reach the half way point in 1:40:43. Getting to 30k in 2:27:19, he was then faced with the final 12k. Reaching the finish in a time of 3:34:02, Sanjai had come in 3,921st place out of 47,745 finishers.

Out of the 1,731 British runners in the race, he was 233rd, and in the 60-64 age group he placed 37th out of 1,308. That was a really good result for Sanjai and although the time wasn’t quite as quick as he would have wanted, in the grand scheme of things, it was decent run. The fact he finished so high up in his category showed that it wasn’t a fast course by any means.

He was 720th out of 26,539 age-graded athletes and his age-graded equivalent time was 2:52:40. That put his age-graded percentage at 71.21%. Sanjai’s average pace for the run was 8:10 minutes per mile.

Sanjai Sharma at a bar in New York

As the t-shirt says, Sanjai is certainly not a man to be underestimated when it comes to running

One aspect of the marathon that Sanjai will remember was the deafening support for virtually the whole way round. The people of New York had certainly turned out in the droves to witness the big event and ensure they provided the runners with all the support they could possibly wish for.

Whilst it was a little warm for marathon running, it was perfect weather for sightseeing and Sanjai certainly made the most of that on his trip, visiting Central Park, the Empire State Building, Central Station and Times Square, amongst other iconic landmarks.

Statue of Liberty

Sanjai visited some iconic sights including the Statue of Liberty

It was also approaching Veterans Day in the US and the main highlight for Sanjai was the 9/11 Memorial Museum – a fitting tribute to the heroic New York Police and Fire Department and those who lost their lives.

As far as cities go, New York was certainly a standout one for Sanjai that far exceeded his expectations. So good they named it twice!

Aerial shot of the concrete jungle in New York

Sanjai was impressed with the concrete jungle of New York