Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who Is Marcus Garvey?

It's a question that came up today during my run of the last 10 miles of the New York Marathon. A training run, purely, since I won't be participating in the extravaganza in two weeks (except as a spectator).

Four of us, part of a larger group that did the run, carved away from others because of speed, traffic light timing and the simple fact that we've been running together for so long this year. Only one of the four is doing the marathon, so we were there to get our own 10 mile runs in, calm any jittery nerves, and tease her (and each other) as we wended our way through the streets.

It's one of those runs that in itself isn't overly special, except that it was. It *is* the last 10 miles of one of the most famous marathons in the world, and it was done with some friends, which made it all the more special.

The route itself is pretty straightforward - from the Queensboro Bridge on 59th Street (just after mile 16), you just head up 1st Ave., cross over the Willis Avenue Bridge, do a left-right-left combination and cross back into Manhattan on the Madison Ave. Bridge. From there, it's down 5th Avenue until you enter Central Park, with a slight detour around Marcus Garvey Memorial Park (hence the question that came up during the run.)

So, who was Marcus Garvey? One of the most influential black leaders in the early 20th century ... and more. One of the great things about New York is the history nestled everywhere in the five boroughs, and so often, with everything else going on in life, it's so easy to ignore things that you see every day (or in this case, at least once a year for the past several years).

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