I knew it was coming. The signs were all there a couple of weeks ago, foreshadowing the inevitable: the Pintaille’s pizza boxes stacked on top of the recycling bin, the almost constantly closed conference room doors, the arrival of a hot beverage pod machine in the kitchen, co-workers prefacing conversations with, “I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner; I’ve been swamped”—marathon season had arrived.
Just 11 days from the marathon, the vibe is anxious and electric in the overcrowded, antiquated Upper East Side townhouse that is NYRR headquarters. New faces and individuals we haven’t seen since last year’s race populate the narrow, carpeted hallways; people, boxes, and signs are jammed into every crevice. Finding storage for race-related materials has become comical; somebody actually paused to consider keeping boxes on the roof because it isn’t suppose to rain here until Saturday. Six o’clock in the evening has become the new 3:00 p.m.—the office is noisy and functional at odd hours, and it’s commonplace to find staff working until midnight and later. One coworker revealed that between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., his office phone had logged 49 missed calls, and several staff members report receiving well over 100 emails daily.
People talk fast and move even faster—charging up and barreling down the numerous steep stairs in the seven-level house is common. Food deliveries have spiked, and breakfasts and lunches are sometimes catered. From the Duane Reade and the fruit guy on the corner of Madison and 89th to Green Tree Deli, we fuel a large part of the economy in the immediate vicinity this time of year. Although sleep deprivation has already become the norm for some, it will hit everyone hard next week. The not-so-distant summer days when staff members headed out for runs in Central Park are rarely seen now. We’ve placed as much of our lives on hold as we can manage—“after the marathon” is probably the most commonly echoed phrase among these walls. We’ve morphed into robotic beasts of efficiency. We both loathe and love the marathon because, well, because it’s the marathon.