Statues on Parade Marathon

See me with all 42 of the 2008 All-Star Statues – the only marathon run to see them.

Welcome — and a few words before you get to the Statues…

I want to welcome all runners coming here from nyrr.org. I love you guys. Please also visit my regular running blog and trade links with me. I’d like to meet more runners.

One commenter here wrote: “I know that the bidding will end on July 18 but when will the Statues be removed from their displays. I don’t want to miss them!” I checked with our person responsible for the Statues on Parade and I quote: “We’ll start picking them up around the 17th…but some could be out as late as the 22nd. Depends on when the guys start and how long it takes them to complete.” The All-Star Game is July 15 at Yankee Stadium; be sure to print out our map PDF so you can see where they are all positioned. Grouping is key.

With only a few exceptions, I have linked every statue visit below to the related bid page at the MLB.com Auction just to make it easy for anyone who wants one. Pardon this post being so long but it took from 8 a.m. to after 10 p.m. for this run. Enjoy.

THE FIRST-EVER STATUES ON PARADE MARATHON

Before the race

I slept about four hours max and it is raining as I walk out the door at 8 a.m. on the Fourth of July to see the Statues on Parade. I am not completely trained for my third marathon, but with starting/stopping included it will be OK. Distance running is mostly lonely, and honestly why do it except to push myself to the limit. To quote Nelly: “My work habit ain’t no habit man I do it on purpose / I push myself to the limit so my talent’ll surface.” I figured it would be 20 miles, and it will wind up being a very ballpark-estimated 26.2. I felt well-prepared with everything I needed, including six Double-A batteries (I will need four), but I will realize much later that I forgot to pack one very important necessity in my fuel belt — Body Glide. Chafing will become a bad problem with new Nike shorts starting about 12 hours into my run, and obviously there will be no fluid stations for this event, because I just invented it. There is a mini notepad folded in half that I’m stashing in the back pocket of my fuel belt along with a pen, for interviewing and documentation of thoughts.

Key information to know

In most of Manhattan, “streets” run East-West and “avenues” run North-South. As a rule of thumb, 20 streets equal one mile, and an avenue is about the same as four streets in distance. Lower Manhattan is much less orderly, dating back much further with confusing angles of streets. You have to take a bridge if you go from The Bronx to Manhattan and back.

What I’m Running For

I always dedicate my marathons to someone/something important to me, and here is what I dedicated the Statues on Parade Marathon to on this Fourth of July:

  • The Statue of Liberty, and all she stands for.
  • The Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, which graciously supported my run by facilitating the round trips to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
  • Jackie Robinson. I wrote the number “42” in marker on both legs. The total number of 42 statues in NYC was intentional to honor the late All-Star who broke baseball’s color barrier with the then-local Brooklyn Dodgers, representing freedom as much as any man ever.
  • Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game July 15 at Yankee Stadium. Publicity for the Statues on Parade will help generate bids for each statue now under way at the MLB.com Auction (starting price: $5,000 each, net proceeds to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and I see that the Red Sox statue bidding already is up toward $7K), as well as sales of 9 1/2-inch replicas at the MLB.com Shop (portion of proceeds go to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation. Also awareness of the Statues on Parade Sweepstakes, giving you a chance to win tickets to the All-Star Game and State Farm Home Run Derby.
  • Training for the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 2. I am registered, and that will be my third official marathon. I considered this a long run now that I’m into my 18-week training. My goal is to do a 4:45 or 4:50 NYC Marathon. Variety and fun help.
  • Because I had nothing better to do on the Fourth of July.

Let the race begin

I created the photo album above so that it will timestamp each picture of me with the 42 statues, as well as a 43rd (Lady Liberty herself). I’m not in two of the pics because they were indoors after hours so I shot through glass.

8:37 a.m. – No. 1, Houston Astros. I live on the Upper West Side, and I am able to run six blocks south to catch this in front of the Reebok Club. The hot dog vendor selling donuts right there takes my first pic. It is drizzling. I then run from Columbus and 66th Street down to Columbus Circle (59th Street) to catch the subway north to Yankee Stadium.

That was the plan, anyway.

staxidriver.jpg9:00 a.m. - Lost already. I took the D Train up to Yankee Stadium as a subway station guard had told me the night before, and it did not stop at Yankee Stadium but instead I found myself at 168th Street, around Columbia, in extreme northern Manhattan. I get out and ask some guy in a car. He tells me I could run to Yankee Stadium from there and points the way to the 155th Street Bridge. I do just that, but right before the bridge I snag a taxi for maybe a half-mile just to make sure I am doing this right as I got off to a late start. It turns out that the taxi driver was a 2001-2002 New York City Marathon finisher. His name is Geraldo Cabrera. After dropping me off at Yankee Stadium, he sits there a while and goes through detailed
maps of the city with me, my best information of the day. He shows me exactly how I would run down to Manhattan from there, avoiding incident. I am immensely thankful to him and after I take the pic that you see here, he yells out the window, “Stay hydrated!”

9:34 a.m. – No. 2, Yankee Stadium. This statue is not only AT Yankee Stadium, but the theme is actually Yankee Stadium. There are two other Yankees statues I will find up ahead. A chief of security actually has to ask someone to leave his post so I can have my photo taken with this one outside the player entrance. Regular fans cannot access this one around gametime, so if you’re going, make it some time other than when the Yankees are playing because you’ll be roped off. What you notice: “26 World Championships” and the years “1923 2008″ across her front thighs.

sbronxtime.jpg9:49 a.m. - I am stretching against a light pole on Third Avenue in South Bronx. Everything before has been a warmup run. I left Yankee Stadium to go two lights to turn right on Grand Concourse, then run a short distance to 138th Street,then right on Third, which will take me to the bridge.

9:55 a.m. - BP gas station is a timely porta potty. Even green like the
regular marathon porta potties. I get back onto the street and can see IMG_6848.JPG
the feint shape of the Empire State Building far in the horizon (click thumbnail pic to left). I see streetsigns above for The Bronx Walk of Stars, and one says “Kurtis Blow.” Cool.

10:10 a.m. - Cross the Third Avenue Bridge. Watch it here. The walkway is on the far right and very safe. Pretty run over the water. Run down the other side and up stairs, which will lead me onto Lexington Avenue.

10:13 a.m. - At 127th Street, I decide to see what kind of pace I am holding. I crank it up. The wind is coming at me.

10:23 a.m. - At 107th Street, I look at my watch and see that it was a 10:00 pace. Great. I will be in the mid-11s during the NYC Marathon. I am not fast. But I am a marathoner.

IMG_6854.JPG10:36 a.m. - Take pic of myself at 93rd and Lex. Getting there. Raindrops. I am very thankful for overcast and drizzly. Perfect weather for this first and only event. I have stayed on Lex, but I know that once I get to 86th Street I will have to hang a left to get to Third Avenue.

10:46 a.m. - No. 3, Cincinnati Reds. It is so cool when you see these from a distance for the first time. I would have this same reaction all day, without fail. You think to yourself, “HA! THERE YOU ARE!” Just seeing the torch up high, the colors…it is a great reaction. Trust me. For this one, I’ll remember how long it took me to get here. The longest stretch of my running, obviously. That was a little over a 10K (:55 is my best 10K time) just to start the day. This one was in front of Modell’s Sporting Goods, one of several in front of that chain, and I noticed the big mustachioed Mr. Red on the front. Raining lightly.

IMG_6864.JPG11:10 a.m. – No. 4, Cleveland Indians. I see the Big Wahoo smile on the front, a dead giveaway. I like that you instantly recognize these…nothing subtle at all. You never say, “Hmmm, I wonder what
team this is.” It is amazing Major League Baseball branding. IIMG_6863.JPG
took some closeups, and just look at the detail of them here — from head to toe. This is where I run into Eric Mendelson and his son Jordan, here from Rockland County in NY. At that point, they needed seven more statues, and they are driving around the city to find them. “We’re having a great time,” Eric says. “Our only problem so far is the security guard at 75 Ninth Avenue.” Um, that’s my office building. It turns out that this was a holiday so Chelsea Market — home of the Detroit Tigers statue — was blocked at the door. I tell him to go back and to ask for me or my coworker. We would all meet up again later during this run, as you’ll see.

11:20 a.m. – No. 5, Oakland Athletics. “You won’t be able to miss that one,” Eric advised me, and indeed, no statue stuck out more brightly on this day. It is like a big yellow submarine, and I lean against it out of breath a bit at 913 Third Avenue at 56th Street. The man who takes my picture also is chasing statues. His name is Len Fagan of NYC.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Len says. “The key is it celebrates all the teams and leagues, and they picked up on the theme of New York City with the loss of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants years ago. It’s hard for me to get attached to the Los Angeles Dodgers, so I’m glad they have the history of the clubs here.

“Having one at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island gives a feeling of national identity. I’m going to Ellis Island to look up my relatives. I’m from Russia.”

We chat for a while about baseball. I tell him to go tomlb.com/statues and he can find the map. There are a lot of statue chasers, many already with the map. I do a ton of marketing for our website on this day.

11:35 a.m. – No. 6, Milwaukee Brewers. I figured this might win Swankiest Location award, as it blended right in with shiny gold outdoor decor at the Intercontinental Hotel on 111 E. 48th Street between Park and Lex. (Nope — that honor will go much later as a tie between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers in associating tightly with the very definition of wealth and capitalism.) You feel like you should be dressed up to see the Brewers statue. The couple who take my pic are told where to find the rest.

11:41 a.m. – No. 7, All-Star Game #1 (navy). This is an easy find. It’s at 245 Park, which is our Major League Baseball business offices. That’s where important MLB stuff happens, like creating schedules, negotiating broadcasting deals, licensing merchandise…pretty much everything. It’s where they hatched the idea for Statues on Parade and put it all into place, and I have to give a shoutout to Maureen Mason over there for telling me all about it. I work for MLB Advanced Media, and we’re responsible for all things digital and our offices are Chelsea Market. So the two main MLB hubs are both on this tour, and this one you can find right beside the Helmsley Hotel.

IMG_6872.JPG11:50 a.m. – No. 8, New York Yankees #1. MOST POPULAR STATUE ON PARADE. Hands-down. This one is right next to Grand Central Station, so that’s one reason. People everywhere. It’s like Grand Central Station there. Oh, it is! And it’s the Yankees, and a beautiful white pinstriped version. That’s two. And it’s a version of the Statue of Liberty, which everyone loves, so that’s three. I have to wait a while to get in for a proof pic. Thanks to the guy who took my pic. I would run into him again at a later stop as well.

12:03 p.m. – No. 9, All-Star Game #5 (AL/NL). This was tricky to find, and then you realize it was right in front of your nose. It’s in front of the Grace Building, on 42nd across from Bryant Park. At this point, I’m starting to panic. I need to get down to the real Statue of Liberty. I am not sure how late the boats run and they are having someone escort me once I get there. I can easily pick of a big batch of these right now, but it’s a tough judgment call…stay or go.

12:11 p.m. – No. 10, Los Angeles Angels. Finally I hit double figures. It’s at 46th Street and Sixth, in front of HSBC Bank. There are four women from Japan photographing themselves with this one, and although they cannot understand me nor I them, I show them the map and they realize there are more of these all over. I am hungry.

12:17 p.m. – No. 11, All-Star Game #2 (AL/NL). In front of News Corp., which also means FOX, the All-Star Game broadcaster. It’s at 48th Street and Sixth Avenue. Moving fast.

12:25 p.m. – No. 12, New York Giants. That’s right, NEW YORK Giants. I didn’t even realize that until four or five statues later. I thought I was seeing the San Francisco Giants. This one is right inside of Toys ‘R Us, as there would be no room for it amid the mass of people teeming in the heart of Times Square. Take a pic quick because they won’t let you loiter. Here something amazing happens. I see someone who recognizes me. It’s Eric and Jordan Mendelson again, the guys I met at No. 4. Some guy with a baby takes my pic in a hurry and it’s crappy, so Eric takes a good one. Then suddenly I am game-planning with these guys and we are ready to pick off four of them all in one big fell swoop. This is just what I needed. Major progress because I have to get to the Statue of Liberty fast.

12:32 p.m. – No. 13, Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s inside of ESPN Zone in Times Square. We’re on a roll. Eric asks me where I’m sitting for the Home Run Derby on July 14, and he asks his son to tell me where he’s sitting for that event. “Third row behind third base.” Hey, if you have a seat like that, you’d brag about it, too.

S14rays.jpg12:34 p.m. – No. 14, Tampa Bay Rays. This is a really beautiful statue. It is inside of Champs in Times Square, and nestled off and around to the right amongst a lot of gear. The story
of the season, perhaps. Put this one right up front! Scott Kazmir, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and those guys deserve it! This one should maybe be on the very top of the Empire State Building. But I found it anyway. It’s kind of a metaphor for the Rays — still a little hidden, but you’ll see them soon enough. “They’re playing great,” Eric says. We run out the door, literally. We are moving fast. They have statues to see, too. I was happy for a split-second to sit next to the Rays statue in this picture.

12:38 p.m. – No. 15, Washington Nationals. Practically next door to Champs, this is incredible grouping for statue chasers. It’s on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth. She’s out front, bronze and red, in front of Modell’s, next to Madame Tousseau’s and Ripley’s. Definitely a “believe it or not” feeling when you see these.

Gotta run. I say goodbye to the Mendelsons, who head for their parked car. I start running and head for the West Highway, and follow that path down to Battery Park and then over to the middle of the Lower Manhattan tip. I am back in real running mode. A pretty decent pace down there. Some run, some fast walk. I have my Nano Red in my Nike Sportband on my left arm, and as usual powersongs are carrying me.

I have lost my Breathe-Right strip. I always wear one to run. More oxygen for the blood, less breathing out of the mouth. You can see in my pictures that I have had it across my nose the whole way, but it is gone in subsequent pictures. That is not good.

1:38 p.m. – No. 16, Colorado Rockies. She’s right in front at One New York Plaza, and you can’t miss her. The only purple thing left in baseball now that the D-Backs have changed colors. I wonder what happened to the Rockies this year. They were the greatest team in the history of baseball last fall. Amazingly they still have a shot, but this Rockies statue looks a lot like some of the Rockies’ at-bats this season. Baseball is like that. I love the stitches on the Rockies statue, by the way.

IMG_6902.JPG1:45 p.m. – No. 17, Chicago Cubs. Here it is, sports fans. If you are going to see one statue in the Statues on Parade, and you don’t have a favorite, then go see the Cubs statue. Why? Lots of reasons. First and foremost, you are not going to believe its location. The team most closely associated with LOSER for the past century in professional sports is right next to the entrance of the bastion of American capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange. You see the humongous USA flag and the bronze brilliance of the NYSE, and right next to it you see: Cubbies. Wow. What does that mean to our economy? The way the Cubs are playing this year, perhaps it is a good harbinger. It’s just that…history…oh well. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, look at this statue. Her right arm is white with lots of green ivy. The famous “Welcome to Wrigley Field” sign is portrayed on the lower body. It’s fenced off so hard to get at, so I pose from a distance.

S17cubs.jpg
I meet two Cubs fans taking the same picture. There are Cub fans everywhere, including right here. Meet Laurie Osberg of Chicago.

“What’s funny is, it’s a New York icon (Statue of Liberty) and it’s decorated with Chicago Cubs,” she says. “Anyone from New York wouldn’t think of doing that. With the ivy on the right arm, it’s got a sense of humor. Only people from Chicago will understand that.”

2:06 p.m. - I am over at Battery Park, and thanks to my friend Peg at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, I am able to avoid the long ticketing line and be escorted right into the security check to get on the Statue Cruises ferry. On the way there, I make friends with Royals fans here from Kansas City. They are interested to learn about the Statues on Parade.

IMG_6909.JPG

2:51 p.m. - The real Statue of Liberty. Consider this No. 43 of the 42 on parade. You have to spend a little time just admiring. I get down on the grass in front of her base, lay on my back and do some crunches to try to get my heart rate back up. My sweat was drying while other people around me were starting to sweat. I wanted to keep sweating, the only one there who did. You obviously can’t run on the ferry.

2:58 p.m. - No. 18, American League. While waiting to have my picture taken here — large crowd for the Fourth — I see a young man with “USA Baseball” on his shirt and “USA” on his cap. Looks like a ballplayer. I ask if he’s with USA Baseball, and he says his name is Dustin Williams and that he is in the National 16-Under tournament. I do not have time to follow up so I will check with colleagues or maybe someone else knows. Or maybe he’ll see this blog.

2:59 p.m. - Back side of this statue. A statue chaser had told me earlier about forgetting to get the backside with a photo, so I am ready for those logos, too.

IMG_6943.JPG3:40 p.m. - Arrive at Ellis Island. Lots of tourists. Look around. Lots to see but no time. Will have to wait till next time to see what ship my ancestor took here from England.

3:52 p.m. - No. 19, National League. There are two women taking wild pics of each other on the grass, and then one gets in front of me to post with this statue. There is a lot of the kind of caressing you usually see on MySpace profiles, if you know what pose I mean. I ask her to take my pic next, and I play it straight. It’s funny, when I look back at these pics, I am usually posing with my arm around the Statue of Liberty like she is a real person or something. I tried to get creative in some of them, but for the most part I am just in a hurry to get my pic taken. As much as possible, I try to really appreciate the artwork and symbolism of each one. Hard to do when you’re running and worried that you won’t be able to see them all in the same day. Even harder when you are starting to worry about being out of touch with the office.

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4:34 p.m. - After a long wait in line and just missing the cutoff for one ferry, I finally am aboard the ride back to Manhattan. I took the video above, and right at the start of it, IMG_6947.JPGlook at the flagpole on Ellis Island. That is the silver NL Statue on Parade right next to it. (Digressing: I am finding Photobucket’s video uploading/embed code much easier than youtube’s, which I always used to use. Incredibly faster.) I buy gummybears, which ironically have the Statue of Liberty on the front of the pack. They are each shaped like Lady Liberty, in different colors. I am even EATING the Statue of Liberty now. I need any kind of fuel. I also get a pretzel. More Gatorade. I am loading up on Gatorade and water all day in my holster.

5:12 p.m. – No. 20, Brooklyn Dodgers. FINALLY! Hardest to find on my tour. The Lower Manhattan streets are practically impossible to explain. I don’t have a really detailed map on me, either. But it’s in front of the Topps offices, 1 Whitehall Street at Stone Street. Nine police officers were unable to give me proper directions. That should tell you how hard it is to find. I would not want to need a cop in this area. It is worth the wait. I am wearing my Dodger headband and have No. 42 on both legs, largely because of Jackie. (My friend Maura lives in LA so that’s another reason.) One quick pic and on my way to find the Red Sox.

5:20 p.m. – No. 21, Boston Red Sox. Thankfully the Sports Museum of America had its shop open and accessible on a holiday and after 5 p.m. It’s at 26 Broadway at Beaver Street, and it’s inside. I walk in, and there are three women taking pictures of each other. Red Sox fans, of course. One of them takes my picture. We talk a little baseball and I’m off, with directional help from one of the shop employees.

5:27 p.m. – No. 22, Florida Marlins. Now I’m running up Broadway, through the Canyon of Heroes. The names of people like Eisenhower are on the sidewalk. I look up, and there is the bright teal color of a Marlins statue. Near Ground Zero, parallel to it from West to East. This is at 150 Broadway between Liberty and Maiden.

S23royals.jpg5:
30 p.m. – No. 23, Kansas City Royals.
“EZ!”, I write in my log. It’s right across the street! That was a huge help to me. It’s right against the big black Millennium Hotel building, so it’s just on the other side of what was America’s greatest human tragedy. There are a lot of people over there, staring into the abyss that is gradually beginning to fill, remembering lost lives on this day of freedom. At the Royals statue, I have my pic taken and I notice that I really love the script “KANSAS CITY” that goes up and down the front of the shiny statue, glimmering in the steady drizzle. It’s getting dark.

5:54 p.m. – No. 24, Atlanta Braves. Should have been easy to find but took a long time, because “World Financial Center Plaza” means a huge area to me. It was right on the water and another marathon runner near the marina showed me the way. One woman took my pic, and when she heard it was my 24th statue of the day, her friend immediately took her camera out and asked if she could take my picture. Wow.

6:20 p.m. – No. 25, Stephen Holland Statue. The artist designed this particular statue for Major League Baseball, and all of the others were designed by Forever Collectibles. You really have to see the beautiful artwork on this one. It’s in SoHo, which by the way means “South of Houston” Street. It is at Pop International Galleries, 473 West Broadway at Houston. Unfortunately, the woman sitting right there reading a book was very rude when I asked if she would take my picture. She was the opposite of the previous woman. This woman cut off the head of the statue, so this is all I got. One of my biggest regrets is not spending more time here.

It’s getting dark. That was the hardest run so far, from just west of Ground Zero over through TriBeCa and into Soho. Right knee is barking. Started physical therapy last week for runner’s knee and left Achilles tendonitis. Stretching has been really good, and combined with strength training I know I will be fine for this fall. But now, pounding on pavement all day long, I’m feeling it, and a hint of “what am I doing?”. I have a pack of IcyHot in my pocket, and I pull it out and put it on my right patella tendon area. Helps a little. I load up on my Gatorade, buy a banana, some more water. I eat another salt packet, have been doing that every few hours. Everyone else seems to be having fun. I feel alone.

6:34 p.m. – No. 26, Toronto Blue Jays. I am in serious zigzag mode now. It is a little tricky cooling off, heating up, cooling off…starting and stopping. Running on sidewalks, running on edges of streets and avoiding taxis, getting past people. I ask a pedestrian for directions to Fourth and Broadway, and that’s where I find our Canadian friend, in front of the New Era store. What I notice most about this is that I discovered I have my own torch for the pictures. My St. Louis Marathon cap has a thick reflector brim, and now that flash is needed, I am reflecting like crazy. So for this one, I took my cap off and held it up like the statue, and it looks like I have a bright torch. I am obviously delirious now.

6:44 p.m. – No. 27, Chicago White Sox. I have made it up to Union Square. I had hoped to knock these off earlier in the day and finish at the Statue of Liberty but not to be, had to double the mileage in looping back instead. That is a pretty decent little run, from SoHo to Union Square. The White Sox statue was unmistakeable, the only black-and-white feel as you noticed it. There is a big white sock on the tablet — all of the tablets had interesting artwork symbolism — and someone wrote in marker on the sock: “Sox Suck!” It was the only instance I saw of defacement on the Statues on Parade. One of the first people I told was Scott Reifert, the team’s Vice President of Communications and our own great purveyor of White Sox Insider. I know he will agree that the perp was unquestionably a Cubs fan running loose in Union Square, as the White Sox defaced the previously pristine Cubs during Interleague Play. I like the silver arm holding the torch, with the half-black, half-silver face.

6:52 p.m. – No. 28, San Diego Padres. Quickly over to the opposite corner of Union Square, through the huddled masses. The Padres win the Best Corporate Stadium Name Usage Award. It’s in front of PETCO, and there is a kitten adoption happening right there. I bug some guy to take my pic and then seeya. Oh, I like the way the Swingin’ Friar is on the front and then his extended bat goes onto the tablet — very cool. Padres fans, you will definitely like your statue.

7:00 p.m. – No. 29, Baltimore Orioles. I had seen this one the day earlier after PT session, so that made it easy not having to search like most of these. It makes me think of Cal Ripken Jr. That’s all I can say. This is in front of another Modell’s, at 607 Sixth Avenue near 18th Street.

At this point, I am starting to get nervous that I don’t have my Blackberry with me (no way I’m going to ruin it here) or any access to communication. Am I missing lots of All-Star assignments? I decide to zoom over to Chelsea Market now, where our offices are located. I go inside, ask a couple of colleagues, who assure me all is well, and so I chill for a few minutes, eat some walnuts and fill up on water, then I go downstairs and…

7:13 p.m. – No. 30, Detroit Tigers. I already had taken my picture with it during the week, but I knew I would catch flak if I tried to use that as an excuse. So now I’m up to 30! Woohoo! I still have a dozen to go. I am so hungry. My knee hurts. I am starting to chafe on the inner thighs really bad from not having Body Glide. Onward.

7:35 p.m. – No. 31, Minnesota Twins. This is the first statue with which I am unable to pose, unfortunately. It’s inside of Best Buy at 23rd and Sixth, and that means at this hour it is behind bars. Sorry, Twins fans, but your statue is in lockup! I take a picture of it through the glass and then it’s running time again. I have to run 11 blocks north, to 34th Street. I decide to check my pace. It has slowed considerably. It is raining a little heavier at this point, threatening some fireworks, umbrellas out and making it harder for me to get around people. Instead of 10 minutes to get a mile like before, it takes me 10 minutes to get a little over a half-mile, up 10 streets and over one avenue. Here is some play-by-play:

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7:45 p.m. – No. 32, Philadelphia Phillies. It’s in front of another Modell’s. This one is at Greeley Square, 34th and Sixth. That was another good run, at least. It’s hard to take notes in the rain, and I hope my Canon is up for the test. Suddenly, after I get my pic taken, a man walking past me briskly says on his cell phone: “OK, I’M COMING TO BAIL YOU OUT!!!” Yes. They’re having fun tonight.

7:56 p.m. – No. 33, New York Mets. I’m at Madison Square Garden. Chafing is bad now. It’s just sprinkles. Bright Lights, Big City. I look around, and there are bright lights everywhere, a huge billboard of Derek Jeter to the left, the MSG sign to the right. This city is so big. What am I doing running from end to end in one day? Are these statues that important? The answer, I decided, is definitely. I tell myself I am having fun right now.

IMG_6985.JPG8:19 p.m. – No. 34, New York Yankees #2. This is the third version of Yankeedom, this one a Star-Spangled rendition in front of the Yankees Clubhouse Shop at 393 Fifth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets. I sat down for just a minute to rest after making that run across two Avenues (remember what I said before, that you can fit four “streets” in each “avenue”), and I looked up and saw…the Empire State Building. That is what this statue is “looking” at. So I took perhaps my best pic of the day, shown here.

My chafing is hurting so bad right now, I stop in a convenience store and buy a small jar of Vasoline. As I am running along the sidewalks, periodically I pull it out of my shorts pocket and scoop out some of it, and just reach down or up under my shorts and slather it on my inner thighs. I don’t even care if there are other pedestrians. It is New York City. I am over 12 hours into a marathon. Distance runners will do worse things in the course of a typical marathon, trust me. I am not here for a casual stroll or taking public transportation and I can’t find restrooms and don’t really have time to stop to look or wait in lines. The rain has stopped for now. Eight to go.

8:44 p.m. – No. 35, Seattle Mariners. Darned “insiders!” Another one that I can’t get to. This one is inside the Nintendo World (Mariners have the obvious Nintendo connection), at 10 Rockefeller Plaza between 48th and 49th Streets. I get another pic-through-glass. She looks really beautiful, gotta say. They all do.

S36shea.jpg8:52 p.m. – No. 36, Shea Stadium. Like No. 2 on my list here, this is a tribute to an outgoing fabled New York ballpark. This one is right next to the studios of SNY, which broadcasts Mets games. It’s at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, at 51st Street and Sixth Avenue. Fortunately, they have a lot of plasma screens that everyone can watch outside the studios, and it’s 2-2 in the seventh inning, Mets vs. Phils, and Chad Durbin has just struck out the side. Looks like a great reliever right now. Great that I can actually watch some baseball here. But only briefly. I actually sit down for this pic, but I have to keep running.

9:00 p.m. – No. 37, St. Louis Cardinals. This is the one I wanted to see most, only because St. Louis is my favorite team. When you work for 30 clubs, it is nice to be able to maintain a team loyalty. I love the bird on the bat, so iconic. Also the way the Arch extends from the back of her legs all the way around her body to her right front base. It is in front of AXA Equitable, Sixth Avenue between 51st and 52nd. I wonder if next year the Arch will be used as their version of these Statues on Parade, or maybe the Birds on the Bat. I am personally lobbying for “best fans in baseball.” That always miffs Red Sox fans and other fans, but there is no doubt about it, having moved from there in 2005 and seeing how they once applauded Larry Walker for striking out after he had been acquired. Ask most Major Leaguers, and the poll always will put Cards fans No. 1. Always. It will be interesting to see if “best fans” is a theme next July. How did I get on this topic? It’s in my notes. I am really, really delirious at this point. I am still running.

IMG_7016.JPG9:18 p.m. – No. 38, San Francisco Giants. It’s inside the Sony building’s Public Atrium, on Madison Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets. Do this one in the daytime so you get the sun into the atrium for camera lighting. I go inside and a security guard takes my picture. We wind up talking about running and baseball. Security guards like these statues, too. Personal thank-you to him for telling me that I left my hat and sunglasses there. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the world’s largest Spiderman was snaking down the wall. If you hate the Giants, you may love the…

9:27 p.m. – No. 39, Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants’ rival is the next stop, fittingly. I had to give her my Dodger headband for a pic. I decided that the Dodgers tie the Cubs for Swankiest Location Award. The Cubs are at the bastion of capitalism, but the Dodgers, well, they are right next to the Tiffany window off Fifth Ave, and in front of the Niketown store that is in golden Trump Tower. The Dodgers ARE Moneyball here.

It’s raining again.

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9:37 p.m. – No. 40, Texas Rangers. I remember that feeling of reaching the Mile 20 sign on the New York City Marathon course for the first time. It was a number that told you that the finish lin
e will actually happen. Suddenly you could sense it. That is how it felt when I hit No. 40 at Mickey Mantle’s restaurant. I wanted to go inside and see some Mick merchandise and memorabilia, but I had to keep running.

Nothing I have done on this day is more rewarding than what I am doing at this very moment. I am running again. I could taxi it or just walk at this point. I am staying true to the plan. I have to go from 42 Central Park South (59th Street), at the edge of the park, over to Seventh Avenue and a bit south to 56th. There is a hilly block. People are dressed up and out celebrating. I am ripe, soaked, this crazy guy running at party time. I feel so good about this stretch of running, I know why I am doing this.

S41piratesB.jpg9:46 p.m. – No. 41, Pittsburgh Pirates. Maybe I am just in an electrified mood at this point, but I think this is the best statue on the tour. It stands above you perfectly, it is so bright with its yellow-gold, bright red and black, and the iconic swashbuckler covering much of the front. It’s just beautiful. Pirates fans, I think you guys win this whole thing.

I stop briefly to grab a six of Coronas because I am going to celebrate at the end of this.

10:06 p.m. – No. 42, All-Star Game #4 (light blue). It is in front of the Time Warner Center, as close as I can possibly be to the Astros statue where it all began. I am not far from home. After searching around behind the building, I finally see her and have that same “HA, THERE YOU ARE!” giggly feeling that I have felt all day. A few revelers ask me why I am all geared up, and I explain and ask them to take my picture. One of them asks me if MLB is hiring and writes his name on my notepad. One is visiting from Montana. Shoutout to Kristen, who appreciated the moment and what this had meant. I toast the light-blue crowned lady with a cold one, and hand a $5 bill to a homeless woman. Instead of running the last 14 blocks straight uptown to my home, I step right into the taxi waiting there. Then I buy two bags of ice, go home and sit in an icebath.

I just ran the first and only Statues on Parade Marathon. Bib No. 1 of 1. World record holder in the event. American record holder. Event record holder. Satisfied customer of the 42 Statues on Parade, plus one truly original, green statue out in the harbor. I guarantee you that I won’t be the only New York City marathoner who does this.

Updated 10:40 p.m. ET Sunday: The icebath works wonders and I had no wobbly legs the next day. Feeling great. And I want to make sure that EVERYONE grabs the Final Vote Widget!

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Mission Accomplished

I spent my Fourth of July by having my picture taken with all 42 Statues on Parade today. It wound up being a full-fledged marathon, as I began my day at 8 a.m. with a wrong train up to Yankee Stadium and adding four miles…and more in other places. So I am renaming this blog the Statues on Parade Marathon. Guys, I have a billion pics to upload and a whole mini-notepad to go through as I took notes at each stop and made friends along the way. It was so good to see other people doing the same thing — well, by car and stuff. There are a lot of people out there chasing the statues in New York City for the All-Star Game. It was a blast. But I am really sore and tired from pounding pavement — I ran from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with some stop-start in there. I will blog about it soon, but not tonight, as I just took an icebath and right now I am hurting.  :)

I want to give a BIG thank you to Peg and the kind folks at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation for making my day a little easier. I was able to just walk right up to the ticket door and ring the doorbell and was escorted to security to get right on a boat to the two islands to see those 8 1/2-foot All-Star statues. That saved a lot of time. I am amazed at how long it really does take just to do all the zigzagging, but a lot of people are out there doing it.

Thank you for all your support. It was as hard as I expected, harder in some ways, and I have a new appreciation for my city and know a lot more about it now. I also am blown away by seeing the Cubs statue right next to the entrance of the New York Stock Exchange. I am not sure what this means for our economy, but that was really a sight to see.

Happy Fourth, and blog to follow soon.

Mark
MLB.com

Starting Line, 8 a.m. ET

It’s overcast all day here in New York City, so I decided not to get up at the crack of dawn. It’s 8 a.m. and I am headed out the door. I am leaving my place in the Upper West Side and will begin by running six blocks south to the Reebok building at Columbus and 66th Street and pick off the only statue on the west side of Central Park — the Houston Astros (#1). Then I will board the D train at nearby Columbus Circle, head up to Yankee Stadium, see the Yankee Stadium version (#2), and then start running south from The Bronx to Manhattan.

Here we go. I’m starting the first and only All-Star Statues on Parade 20M Run right now, and I’ll be back here later in the day after running nearly 20 miles to see all 42 of the star-spangled and spectacular 8 1/2-foot replica versions of the great Statue of Liberty. I am dedicating this Fourth of July run to her, the lady out in the New York Harbor, and what she stands for.

Below are some morning shots on my way out of the apartment, and yes I wrote “42” in magic marker on both legs. I’m wearing red, white and blue. I also am wearing an LA Dodgers headband with long flowing twin tails under my cap, made out of a bathrobe from an item at last week’s MLB sample sale.

I have the maps folded in my left pocket, my Canon A540 Powershot holstered into my Nathan’s Fuel Belt, 4 bottles filled with water or Gatorade, just took a salt pack and have more loaded, four extra batteries for the camera, and a folded-up tiny notepad and pen in the back of my belt to take notes and interview people along the way.

Check out all the basic intro info in my previous post, be sure to enter the Statues on Parade Sweepstakes, bid on one of these originals or buy a 9-inch version at the MLB.com Shop. I look forward to your comments, please say hi if you see me today on the streets of New York City, and have a Happy Fourth of July! Gotta run!

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And just for moments like these, here’s my pet dog. I keep this Roy Lichtenstein classic print on my wall, with NYC Marathon (right) and STL Marathon medals hanging from it, to psyche myself up for long runs. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!

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How I will spend my Fourth of July

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Brooks Glycerines – check
Red, white and blue running gear – check
Nathan’s Fuel Belt – check
Canon A540 for blog pics/vids – check
Extra batteries for the camera – check
Four filled fluid bottles – check
Tiny notepad to interview tourists/keep notes – check
Spirit of the Marathon – check
Complete loss of mental faculties – check

So instead of spending the Fourth of July chillin’ on a beach or water skiing or barbecuing or whatever most of you are doing to relax, I will make Friday my “long run” for this first official week of an 18-week ING New York City Marathon training program. It should total close to 20 miles, with a lot of start/stop involved, and it even helps a good cause.

I am going to see the statues.

Since I wrote the announcement story about Statues on Parade and am part of our MLB.com coverage team for the 79th All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium — and all of the surrounding festivities — it only made sense for me to do this. There are 42 very large replicas of the Statue of Liberty — each 8 1/2 feet tall! — placed at key points all over New York City. Each of them is swathed in unique design reflecting the All-Star Game and the 30 Major League Baseball teams, and people all over the city are buzzing about it based on my daily conversations. In fact, they are uploading pics of themselves with these amazing sculptures as part of the Statues on Parade Sweepstakes we are featuring at MLB.com, offering a chance to win two tickets to the All-Star Game and the State Farm Home Run Derby.

MeAndStatueOfLiberty.jpgHere is the map, so you can see where the 42 statues are positioned. The one to the right is on the ground floor of our MLB Advanced Media headquarters, and thanks to the bystander who snapped the cellphone pic. I will have to see this one again during my run, though, so that doesn’t count. I will probably use mapmyrun.com to make it easier. It is going to be very difficult, with high probability for wrong turns. I am planning to start at Yankee Stadium early in the morning because there is one up there in The Bronx. My challenge is to run from there back down to Manhattan. I plan to cross the 155th Street bridge. At that point, I will be zigzagging like crazy, stopping to photograph every one with that Canon A540 that I will pack in my fuel belt along with the notepad. I also will talk to people who are admiring each of the statues, to show how awesome these are. I also will need to pack extra batteries.

Then the final trick in my gameplan was being able to get onto a boat to finish my tour on Liberty and Ellis Islands, because an All-Star Game version is on each of those islands. I have been planning to make those statues 41 and 42, and now I am happy to say that I have a blog angel.

THANK YOU to the wonderful people of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, who have arranged so that these wobbling legs will be able to walk right onto a boat to see 41 and 42 — including the ultimate Statue of Liberty herself in all her majesty. What can be better on the Fourth of July than spending it with Lady Liberty?

8-16-2006-08.jpgPlease visit www.statueofliberty.org to learn all about Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. And please consider purchasing one of the great 9″ replicas of these Statues on Parade masterpieces. It’s a miniature of a miniature! A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these replicas in the MLB.com Shop will benefit the Foundation, which preserves this important United States history. So you can help out by getting involved. In fact, my run is going to be a challenge for others to go get a 9″ replica and thus help the Statue of Liberty herself! Collect all of them.

If you want to own any of the very same 42 Statues on Parade that I will be seeing all day, then you can do that, too. Bidding is now under way at the MLB.com Auction for each of them. The bidding starts at $5,000 apiece, and net proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which is MLB’s official charity. That auction will close on July 18. It’s actually kind of amazing. During the day today I just happened to walk past the Orioles statue outside of Modell’s Sporting Goods on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street. (I’ll be seeing it again Friday.) Now I am looking at it in the MLB.com Auction, knowing that anyone could own that and just put it on their front porch. Same with any of these. You have to like this whole concept, and really it is breathtaking when you stand next to one of these and see the detail and the symbolism.

After I return on the boat from the two islands in the NY Harbor and back to Manhattan, I will then upload pics and blog here. I am contemplating leaving my laptop at our MLB.com office in Chelsea and possibly blogging just after the halfway point, rather than waiting till the very end for all of it. Depends on how the running goes. I don’t really want to completely cool down and then jump back into running around Manhattan. Feel free to come along for the ride, and if you happen to be in Manhattan during the day Friday, just hang out at a statue and eventually you’ll see me. I’ll be the red, white and blue sweaty guy on a mission!

Happy Fourth of July.

- Mark

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