21 Things on Kyle Merber's Mind During the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile
Kyle Merber (@TheRealMerb on Twitter) has become a regular at the 5th Avenue Mile, finishing in the top 10 of the men’s professional heat the past three years. As he gears up to take on that famous 20-block stretch of 5th Avenue for a fourth time on September 10, Merber shared with us what’s going through his head as he ticks off each block from East 80th Street to Grand Army Plaza.
80th – Here I am. It’s the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile and year four of running this historic race. Look at this field. I hope I beat at least a couple of guys. I don’t belong here… Wait, yes I do. This is my town. I got this. I am on my home turf. Let’s take this thing.
79th – Ok, there are a lot fewer cars than I am used to here. No cabs. Just open road. All for us. What was my game plan?
78th – Not really sure if this is the right pace or not, but I think I will just trust everyone else on this and sit back here—for now. Let them do the work. Wow, there are a lot of us. Thankfully this isn’t on a track.
77th – I need to remember to look down every now and then and watch my footing. But obviously I need to look up, too. Can’t let anyone get away. I actually feel pretty good. How many blocks left?
76th – I wonder why there is no 4th Avenue in the city? What’s the fastest possible mile course you could set up in Manhattan? Am I supposed to be concentrating?
75th – That’s a quarter-mile down! That was pretty quick, but not going to lie, thought we were going a little faster. Are we starting to go uphill?
74th – My old doctor’s office is over there. Remember that freak injury in college that I thought would be the end of my running career? Thanks, doc!
73rd – A couple of these guys are starting to hurt. Better go around them. I would say I don’t feel any better, but I don’t feel any worse. If I just try my best, no one can get mad at me.
72nd – Should I go for the halfway bonus? Oh man, Coach Gags would be so mad at me if I went for it. Maybe if I take off now...
71st – And they’re sprinting. Wow! Things are starting to really open up now. We are spreading out. The race is beginning!
70th – Really glad I did not go for that halfway bonus. Those guys were a couple seconds ahead, but they’re going to come back. I know how this thing works.
69th – Let’s ride this downhill. Opening up the stride now, but let’s stay on the toes and lean into it. Wish I had a Citi Bike.
68th – The finish—it’s right there. I can see it. Should I kick now? NO! It’s just an optical illusion. Don’t fall for it, Kyle!
67th – Am I going to sing karaoke tonight at the after-party? I always do "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and probably should keep that going, for the fans…
66th – That’s a move right there. Let’s cover this thing. I feel good. BELIEVE! I can run with these guys. Think of all that work.
65th – 400 meters to go. Think of the track. Just once around. Visualize it. Build into it. Follow and cover.
64th – The pack is thinning and there’s just a few left. Focus on form here. Think of the arms and keep the strides short and powerful.
63rd – The finish is right there. It’s coming up quick. Save one gear.
62nd – I can hear Coach Gags yelling at me. You can always hear your coach’s voice. And he’s screaming, "Hit it!"
61st – Am I hitting it hard enough? Hold it together. It’s right there! AHHHHHHHH IT HURTS!!!! SO MUCH!!!
60th – Lean! Lean! Lean! Did I get it?
Check out our coverage of the 2017 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.