NYRR x Citi Bike Member Profile: Christine Frietchen
The application for the TCS New York City Marathon is open now through February 15th. As part of our partnership with New York Road Runners, we’re featuring Citi Bike members who have run this iconic race and can speak to the incredible experience it is. If you’re on the fence about running a marathon, there’s no one better than Christine Frietchen to convince you to do it.
To date, she’s run a staggering twelve of these 26.2 mile races. What’s her favorite marathon? New York City of course! Did we mention she’s also the president of Brooklyn Tri Club? Read why the TCS New York City Marathon is #1 in her books and get inspired to race this November below.
What inspired you to start running?
A co-worker at the time. Her name was Lee Purdy, and we're still in contact.
What was your first marathon?
New York City 2003! I got in by the lottery, with no idea at the time how rare that was.
Did you train with a team for your first marathon?
Nope. I did it all on my own and knew NOTHING. I drank nothing but water and fainted on the train on the way home because my blood sugar was so low. Oops!
I first ran in 2003, than again in 2014. I have done a total of 12 marathons, and there just no comparison to NYC. It's an incredible tour of the city, and the feeling I get is "home" -- my streets, my stomping ground. And come on -- when do you ever in your life have millions of people cheering for you? It's such a unique experience. The first time I ran, I was barely trained, so my memories of it are pretty hazy after mile 16 or so, but I remember making the right hand turn off 5th avenue to enter Central Park. It's November, of course, and by then it was late in the afternoon. I distinctly remember the low sunshine streaming through the trees, and the fall leaves falling red and orange all around, almost in slow motion. It was a beautiful vignette. The next time I ran in 2014, I was better trained, and I remember smiling ear to ear, talking to the spectators and cheering on my fellow runners. I also remember passing Tiki Barber. Suck it, Tiki!
Do you have a favorite part of the course?
Lafayette Ave in Brooklyn -- it's a total block party with people six and seven deep. Someone sets up huge speakers and it's just a total blast. Also, entering Central Park at the Engineer's Gate is complete magic.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could do it again?
Yes, I would remember to eat something! The first time I ran -- my first marathon -- I did not understand about gels or carbs or electrolytes. I just drank water and by the end was running on nothing but gut and will.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about running the TCS New York City Marathon for the first time?
You have to do it once! And remember not to go out to hard -- it's so easy to get caught in the moment going over the Verrazano Bridge. Hold back and run your normal pace. You'll have more in the tank at the end and will better be able to enjoy the experience.
When did you become a Citi Bike member? What made you decide to join?
The only way to make NYC more bike friendly is to get more bikes on the streets, and more bike advocates in our communities. I was thrilled when Citi Bike was introduced. I feel that motorists have become more mindful of cyclists overall. It's economical, healthy and you see the city from a whole new perspective on a bike.
What are your favorite routes to run and bike?
So many good ones! A favorite long run (20 miles or so) is from my house in Brooklyn down Ocean Avenue -- people don't know that the Ocean Avenue bike path was our country's very first bike path, opening in 1894. I love running the path and also cycling it to Coney Island. Ocean Avenue is also host to another of the city's great running races, the Brooklyn Half. After I hit Coney Island, I head west to pick up the Bay Ridge greenway, which is great for both cycling and running car-free.