Ever since I saw Leo Manzano’s 1500 race in the 2012 London Olympic games, I was enamored with him. Ben mentioned that we might get a chance to see him at the NYRR 5th Ave Mile. Once it was confirmed that he would be there, there was no question on whether we would be spectating.
This morning I made a sign that had a picture of Leo Manzano running and printed the words, “I Get a Kick out of Leo Manzano.” We left in time to arrive at the finish line in time to see the Runaway Bridesmaids Run at noon. Ben was quite pleased to see Kara Goucher, who was there signing her new book. We wanted to see the charity run, Runaway Bridesmaids, which we originally mistakenly had thought was the Runaway Brides Run. We thought we were going to see women in wedding dresses. Instead there were women (and a few men!) in bridesmaid dresses. It was fun, but the real fun was about to start.
We saw the NYRR Road Championships for the women and men, then the elite women, and finally the elite men. We got great spots about 50 yards away from the finish line. We cheered on the runners and marveled at their times. Ben noted that his mile time is about as fast as the penultimate female finisher for the NYRR Road Championship.
Finally at 1 pm, the part that we were anxiously waiting for started – the elite men! I unfurled my signed and screamed my lungs out as Leo Manzano and the pack careened past us. I saw that Leo Manzano was hanging onto 3rd place and I was worried that someone might have edged him out at the last minute. Much to my relief, he hung on for 3rd with a time of 3:53.1. Matthew Centrowitz came in first (3:52.4) and Bernard Lagat came in second (3:52.9).
Afterward the three of them walked up to greet the fans. Leo Manzano saw my sign and came over to hold it and pose for the cameras with me in it. He walked around some more to greet his fans and came back over to autograph my sign! It was a real thrill having this chance to cheer for him and see him up close. It absolutely made my morning.
Videos (thanks to Ben):
Leo Manzano racing down 5th Ave. Warning: There is a loud shrill scream (turn down your volume). Sorry, apparently every time I cheer, ear drums get pierced.