NY ‘experience of a lifetime’


A determined Queenstowner realised an 18-year-long dream by completing last Sunday’s famous New York City Marathon.

Pauline Bianchi says “it was an experience of a lifetime, it was more than I ever imagined”.

“Imagine running through a massive party from start to finish, that’s what it was like.

“There must have been 30 bands playing along the course, as well as nearly a million people on the sidelines, all shouting in support.”

Bianchi says she and fellow local Lenska Papich, whom she joined at the start-line, had their first names printed on their T-shirts, along with “New Zealand”, which helped generate “camaraderie from the sideline”.

“All of this kept your mind off time and distance, not to mention the rare opportunity to see all five boroughs and bridges by foot.”

The 48-year-old says she had an amazing run, other than needing to slow down at times to manage the pain of some injuries.

She finished in 6hr 10min – “I wasn’t too focused on time, I was there to finish it”.

“It was a surreal moment crossing the finish-line and receiving the medal – an 18-year-old dream come true.”

Papich, who celebrated her 40th birthday while in New York, finished her first marathon in 5:13.

“I never thought I would run a marathon – I blame Pauline and a nice bottle or so of red wine and coach Di Lauder for making me run and run and run.

“In New York they say the marathon will move you – it does, both physically and emotionally.

“The crowds are epic and the support incredible.”

Meanwhile, Arrowtown man Wayne Foley recorded 4:52 for his second marathon – the 58-year-old completed his first 42km race, last November’s Queenstown International Marathon, in 4:43.

He, too, was blown away by Sunday’s huge crowds “with small kids holding out their hands for high-fives and a few policemen doing high-fives as well”.

“I have never had five hours’ running go so fast.

“You could never do this and not be taken by the whole experience – the bucket-list, for sure.”

Queenstowner Janeen McSkimming, who finished in 4:44, is also raving about the whole vibe: “NYC turned it on.”