A Run in Central Park, New York

It was 3 days after Boston Marathon. And the legs were already restless. Runners are generally masochistic lot who crave constant tactile (and nociceptive) stimuli to remind themselves that they are still alive and kicking. So imagine my thrill to receive a call from fellow Malaysian Khoo Yit Kiat who suggested we meet up in Central Park for a run. Great minds think alike....

The afternoon in Manhattan was sunny but cool. Temperature was about 13 degrees Celsius. We grouped up in my hotel and headed towards the Central Park which was about 10 blocks away at 59th West Street. The five of us: Khoo and WS Moey, together with Adeline and daughter Catherine were like school children out on an excursion. Labradors unleashed. We could hardly contain ourselves.

It was an exploratory run. We started from the entrance and made our way along well defined paths. There appeared to be many routes to choose from.We knew nothing of the Park and decided to just go with the flow.

We chatted as the jog took momentum along the asphalt route. Overall, it was more undulating than what I had imagined. But that only made it more interesting. The path was already littered with runners and cyclists. We spotted a few marathoners fresh from Boston doing their recovery runs too. Khoo and Moey snapped countless photos along the way. It was turning into a photo shoot. I was of course nonchalant about the photos but it was understandably a moment that all would love to cherish in the form of snapshots.

Half way through, we stumbled upon a massive lake in the middle of the Park. The view was breathtaking! Enough to make us stop and admire. With the caress of the cool breeze, cradled by the gentle afternoon sun, one couldn't help but pause in silence to effectively soak in such awesome beauty. My thought at that moment was: "Heavenly! If only I could do this everyday! Running would take on so much more meaning!"

I was grateful for that. God's reward comes in small packages like this.

We circled the lake amongst many runners. Taking photos and chatting along the way. Our run had dissolved into no more than a walk/slow jog. But hey, no one was counting laps. Time simply stood still.

We had fun. It was a far cry from the Marathon that we had just endured 3 days earlier. My Central Park experience was invigorating and for the most part of it, it was refreshing to be reminded that running has a sunnier side to it than just clocking a PB or qualifying for Boston. Here, everyone's a qualifier. As long as you can run, you are free to do whatever your heart desires.

We completed a circle around the Park. Vowing to return here whenever we can in future. But for now, that concluded our visit to the famous Central Park. And certainly for me, it was a good closure for a long and arduous week in US.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


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