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present tension » Blog Archive » Welcome to Randall’s Island

Welcome to Randall’s Island


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First, the travelogue.

For most of the last three hundred years Randall’s Island has served as an outbuilding to Manhattan, providing the distasteful municipal functions we associate with islands in the East River and Hellgate: potter’s fields, poorhouses and workhouses, insane asylums, disease quarantines, reform schools, prisons.

Currently the island is a city park, host to summer concerts, Cirque du Soleil marquees, and negro schoolchildren from Harlem who come to taste the wild swampwater. It’s recently been provided with a rubberized running track and a steel-and-concrete viewing stand that proclaims itself Icahn Stadium. I presume Icahn is none other than Carl Icahn, the leveraged-buyout sleazeball who liquidated TWA some years back.

Today I made my first visit, via borrowed schoolbus, for an 8am NYRR race. The running course, which circled the island and ended on the running track, was “flat and fast,” according to the NYRR webpage.

Fair enough. There were a couple of small hills, but nothing like the 8% grade we had in Prospect Park during last Saturday’s half-marathon. I finished in under 24 minutes, net, with an astounding pace of 7:42.

This is about one minute faster than my pace in the half-marathon, and tempts me to make a stab at extrapolating my average pace in the upcoming Paris Marathon. I drop one full avg-pace-minute per ten miles, therefore my average pace for 26.2 miles will be about ten minutes per mile, meaning a net marathon time of 4 hours 22 minutes. I shall endeavoure to improve.

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