How I will spend my Fourth of July
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.
Here 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?
Please 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.