Posted by: sonewjersey | July 7, 2010

Guest Post- The Lincoln Tunnel Challenge (by SONJ Athlete blogger, Bobby Fredericks)

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Read ahead to find out about SONJ athlete (and Team NJ athlete), Bobby Fredericks’, experiences at the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge!  Do YOU have something you want to share with us (a story from an event, your SONJ experiences, etc.), feel free to comment here (or on our Facebook page) and let us know you want to be a guest blogger!

It was another cold windy, and this time, really rainy morning but since when has that stopped any of us who are trying raise awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey? The answer to this question is …… NEVER!!

As part of my track & field training program, I also like to  participate in 5k runs because it keeps my muscles from tightening  and increases my stamina which helps me when I prepare for my SONJ track events.    

The Lincoln Tunnel Challenge is a 5k (3.1 miles) race through the Lincoln Tunnel from the New Jersey (NJ) side to the New York City (NYC) side and back.

It’s the only 5k run/walk race where you get to race underwater without getting wet, unless you are one of the many spectators waiting outside the tunnel in the pouring rain to cheer on all of the runners as they finish the race.

My first time racing the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge was in 2005 when my local track coach, Coach Pisano, encouraged me to run the race. This would be my first 5k run since 1997 when I had to give up racing cross-country for my high school because of health reasons.  We have so much fun that a group of my teammates from my local track team and I have been coming back to race in the tunnel every year.

 There are usually about 2,000 runners and walkers participating in the race. There are elite runners, high school track teams, companies, law enforcement agencies, and a lot of families that all help to raise money for Special Olympics. 

The course starts on a downhill slope and curves once you are in the tunnel and for this reason it is a good idea to try to start the race from one of the four front rows so that you can hear the gun go off and so that you can get into the tunnel without having to weave your way through other runners too much. I put together a playlist on my iPod that has songs that “get me going” and also helps me run faster.  Some of music that I listen to while I’m running are songs by Bon Jovi , Bruce Springsteen, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and anything with a fast beat.

 This year, my teammates from Team NJ and my local track team participated and even my Team NJ coach, Coach Hanko, ran too.  It was the first time for Carol and Mark from Team NJ track and field and they did really good.  Chris, Christine and Karen from my local team, the Panthers, ran again and did really good too.  In fact, Christine and I ran our best tunnel times ever! My time was 25 minutes 49 seconds which is 8 minutes less than last year.  It was really exciting.  The good part was that we stayed dry the entire race until we got to the finish line outside the tunnel where it was pouring rain.  We got soaked and it was worth it!!

After the race, we all went to the awards presentation where my teammates and I got to stand on stage to present the awards to the top finishers.  Tom Kaminski from WCBS-AM 880 was the emcee along with my Cuba buddies, Larry Mays and Bill Zika.  We all had a great time and appreciate everything that the organizers do for the athletes.  We can’t wait until the 2011 Lincoln Tunnel Challenge!   It’s something that everyone should experience at least once.  Don’t forget to keep checking the fundraising calendar at http://www.sonj.org.  

Be sure to stay tuned for Bobby’s next blog about the 2010 Summer Games!

 

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