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Announcing the 2018 NY Marathon sponsorrun for Nepal Medical Aid Projects

The final one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors, NY 2018 (la undécimo)

How did I get into this situation, from being an unknown recreational runner, one of a billion, to be special, have my name on the Wall of Fame of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, completing the marathons of Boston, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago and New York. So far 100 Dutch runners are listed among the other 3935 world wide.

The six star medal of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. View from the world trade centre North (Click on pictures to enlarge them).

The Abbott World Marathon Majors “Wall of Fame” at the Expo, with 3935 names of those who completed all six.


It took five years to run these six enduring marathons on three continents. It all started in 2013 when an American colleague urged me to apply for Boston in 2014, "you have an excellent qualification time and I don't". In Tokyo, in 2016, I found out about the World Major Marathons, the "big six", running them all seems to be special. This was established in 2006 with Tokyo joining. Only those since 2006 are elligible.

I always encouraged my personal network to sponsor medical aid projects in Nepal as a reward for the effort. London in 2015 was only one day after the devasting 2015 earthquake and this motivated me even more.

The final one, New York, I did not realise, is by far the hardest.

Sponsor a charity project in Nepal

To celebrate the final one, you could sponsor my NY Marathon run by supporting one of the health projects in Nepal of Sponsortrek:

  1. The Disabled Rehabilitation Centre in Kathmandu, see [1], also damaged by the 2015 earth quake.

  2. An earthquake proof health post in the Sherpa village Gairamudi [1], being build using a using a lego system reinforced with steel rods [1], badly needed as shown by the devastating earth quake in April 2015 which destroyed many buildings. It also destroyed the health post we built in Tamang village Keronja in the late nineties.

You could donate around € 5-10 per marathon. Alternatively, you could motivate me to give around € 1 per minute below 4 hours of all six marathons. The final score went down from 75 after 5 to 38 minutes, loosing 37 minutes in New York.

Please send me an e-mail, to, if you wish to donate. You could transfer the money to:

Sponsortrek Nepal, bankaccount number NL81ABNA0861147545, Bic (swift): ABNANL2A. ABN – Amro Bank, Amsterdam.

New York Marathon, 4 November 2018

New York, the course

The marathon course has 5 bridges, many undulating streets, and only 5th Avenue is flat.

New York is built on ancient metamorphosed Appalachian rocks, covering much of NW USA and Eastern Canada, extending into the highlands of Ireland, Scotland and Norway. This is hard bedrock forming rolling hills and escarpments, with fiords or channels in between.

Central Park was left in the original topography and you don't notice the up and downs the last 5 km as you focus on the remainig distance to cover with the two final corners at 59th street.

Run New York?

"If you can complete (a satisfying) marathon in New York, you can run anywhere".

But if you got wasted, you better stop. NY attracts a lot of inexperienced runners, and as they face one of the hardest runs, they tend to get the message, never another one.

NY has no real time limit, normally around 5.5 hours. The start is between 10:00 and 11:00 h in the morning and the closing time 19:30 h, so you have 9.5 to 10.5 hours to get a medal and an official time. This is why New York attracts so many foreign runners who will only run once.


As a runner you skip the hotels in noisy Manhattan. I learned my lesson in Chicago, highrises collect the hum hum of the city, and at night, when the wind goes down, it gets even worse. The Paper Factory Hotel in Queens was excellent choice, only three stops by metro from Central Park. The only disadvantages is lack of restaurants and a park to run nearby. If you walk a km, e.g. to Astoria, there are plenty. The hotel also has a shuffle board, small iron disks you slide on a 4 m long plank. Excellent for doing a light exercise, as an alternative to using the gym. They also have metal puzzles, a brain teaser [unsolved] [solved]. We had to undo them regularly.


Focussed on a marathon, you skip most of the attractions and limit walking. Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum cannot be avoided, neither The observation floor 102 in the World Trade Centre. New York has show that recovery from 0911 was fast and firm.

The WTC is an impressive building but even more interesting are the amazing "whale bone" underground passages to the red and yellow metros.

It now seems earth quake and collapse proof, unlike the old WTC, which was a box of metal at the outside, with hanging floor son the inside. This was a minimalist design, but if a few floors would collapse, all could go down, as we have seen.

A walk from the WTC to Greenwich Village is in the pleasant low rise district and takes you along the municipal office China Town, Little Italy and Soho, with lots of restaurants and shops.

The start of the run

Staten Island in the far South, is the start of the run. A private bus picked us up at 6:00 h but luckily the time shifted back to winter time so we had an extra hour. It is a one hour ride, longer because of the many busses dropping of runners. At 7:00 h it was already busy. Our start time was at 9:50 h.

There are three start and refreshment areas, orange, blue and green. Waiting for the toilets and dropping of the bags killed some time.

We were prepared for the 8 Celsius morning in the shade, fully dressed with old clothes, a yoga mat to sit on and a small fleece blanket, both from the 37th street K-mart, near Macy's. We found a spot welcomed by the warm sun rise but at 9:00 h had to line up in the start area, but again we found some sun. In the shade, it was "nippy", as my former Canadian students from the 80's would say.

The run

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge covers the first 3 km, a 50 m high six-lane bridge with fantastic views at Manhattan, a photo spot, but also the first leg demolition, still barely noticeable.

The 26 km to Manhattan is a long run through the residential area of Brooklyn, with undulating streets, the second demolition.
Crossing into Queen on the low Pulaski Bridge, we finally covered some distance.

"Last Gatorade to the bridge", thanks for the warning, I found out later, this was the killer bridge, the Queensboro Bridge. An seemingling endless incline, 25 km point on top of the bridge.

This is normally the distance when you get restless, why is a marathon not 30 km, but 42 km. Simple, 30 km is too short, anyone can cover this distance but not 42. Very few of us have the stamina to run easily beyond 30 km, and we all suffer. This limits the number of participants.

Past the bridge one runner was down, being picked up by an ambulance.

Entering 1st Avenue is unreal, suddenly you are among the high rises and looking at a very long, again undulating wide road.

Rob and other guides of TUI would be there to take photographs and we did find them spotting the blue flag. Will be waiting for some good pictures.

Around 32 km is the Willis Avenue Bridge, a very long incline, so I decided to safe energy and walk to the top. So be it. Safe energy.

In the mean time, we have been running in a bright sun in North-South running streets, burning on my bald head. Crossing the Bronx and back into Manhattan, at around 35 km, ging South, I got blinded by the sun and have an alarming, uncomfortable warm head. Again I decided to walk. I did not want to be the only man having a heat stroke (women is more common),and carried off. Image you faint at 40 km and resist being put in an ambulance.

"My six start medal is at the finish, I am nearly there". "No honey, we are taking you to the hospital, just lie down”. "But, but .....(fainting again and waking up in the hospital 2 hours later)".

For the next 5 km I did a safe run - walk. Our projected time of 4:10 h would be easily overrun, but at 35 km, it is only an extra 45 minutes, so we would finish below 5 hours, the cut-off time to get into the NY Times. Uphill and in the sun I would walk and downhill run as the walk cooled me down quickly, a good sigm. I felt cold in the 11 Celsius shade.

We spotted the TUI supporters again at 40 km and being rested from the 30 min. run-walk, displayed a relaxed running style. Most walkers were now running again in the cool shade of 59th Street Avenue. I did well, fully cooled down and recovered.

The last km North in the park I passed a 6 star runner from China, the only one I noticed. We finished together and got our NY medal.

The finish, receiving the 6 star medal

Six star medal

Abbott pictures at the finish

Judy and others of the Abbott World Marathon Majors were just behind the finish. She had a two page sheet with around 100 names. Got my big medal and three pictures were taken.

Past the finish.

The bag area was another km, and wearing two heavy metal medals, I sounded like a Swiss cow in the mountains.

Back of my shirt

Wearing the six star logo on my back of my shirt during the run I got many compliments for running the sixth marathon and again past the finish. Many runners were looking at the medal with surprise. We met a German woman who also completed the sixth, but otherwise none, only ~0.2% earned this medal today I estimate from the two page sheet with names. In the metro going home, wearing the medal, I got even more compliments.

Final score, 3 toe blisters but luckily no nail blister, I thought, and a 4 x 1 cm foot blister, just below the foot ball, which made itself known past 18 km on down hill stretches. A week later, two red nail blisters appeared slowly, these nails will fall off but come back nicely.


La undécimo and final marathon. Is this a special experience?

Yes, go for it, but only if you know you can do it, don't force it, I prefer to run on physical shape, not character.

"Old soldiers never die. The young ones, so-called heroes, do".

(written on the flight from JFK to Schiphol in one go on November 8th)

Other pictures: the run, etc.

BIB number

Happy run-walker, 6.5 hours


Henk, beat me by 2 seconds


Feast meal at a Greek restaurant in Astoria, Queens. Gemuse, fisch und Santorini wein.

Garmin recorded route

Stats per km. Last km past the finish.

Profiles: elevation, min/km, heart rate, and steps per minute.

The six shirts.

Running shoes in Chicago and New York: Asics Metarun.

NASA foam and 90% down pillow. Bit over the top but it does sleep well.

Runners Aura, euforic state, entering runners Nirwana, after completing the big six.

Abbott World Marathon Majors (Abbott World Marathons Majors)

Below 3.5 hours, I qualified for the Boston Marathon entry in the male age group 50+. Boston is a prestigious run as only 15% of marathon runners qualify.

With the Boston marathon, I entered the Abbott World Marathon Majors league established in 2006 when Tokyo joined.

With four runs outside Europe, the costs are high but, luckily, KLM always sponsored 80% of the air travel.

See blogs below for 5 of the 6 Abbott World Marathons Majors:

My five previous results of the Abbott World Marathon Majors

Up to New York the grand total of runners who completed all six is 3935 runners. Some 100 Dutch runners ran all six. They are listed in the so-called “wall of fame”, advertised on boards during a marathon expo.

Wall of Fame

Go for it, Henk is about to get number 3 of 6.

Around 100 Dutch runners are listed.

We reported to Judy at the counter.


New York Marathon, personal pictures

Henk at the Expo

Antoinetta at the expo, our names

Still happy

Still happy

Running with a Dutch girl.

Wearing down

First walk at the bridge at 32 km, at the Willis Avenue Bridge.

Overheated at 5th avenue.

Finish Henk and Jean in Central Park, a walz.

Finish Henk and Jean

Finish Antoinetta

New York Marathon, the course from ABC


Start at Staten Island

Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and the first 10 km in Brooklyn.

The killer bridge at 25 km, the Quuesboro Bridge

One runner was down at this point, the cart picked her up and took her to the hospital.

1st Avenue

The Bronx, “almost got killed” by overheating.

Finish in Central Park

Finish in Central Park

Listing in the New York Times

Henk, nr. 28359; Jean, nr. 28373; no listing beyond 5 hours.