By Gavin Menu
Ed Burke Jr. waited 24 years to compete in the New York City marathon again, but the Sag Harbor attorney will now have to wait until November 2 of next year after event organizers decided to cancel this year’s race in the wake of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
For the last eight months, Burke, 48, has trained relentlessly by running up-and-down Long Beach and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike to points in Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton and North Haven. He trained using the latest digital technology and was poised to make a run at the time he set back in 1988 when as a law student at St. John’s he ran the course in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
“I went skiing in February and felt very much out of shape, so when I got back I said I would start running, but not with the marathon in mind,” Burke said this week. “Then it started to feel really good around April and May, so I decided to go for it.”
Burke said after all the training that he was disappointed when the race was cancelled, but ultimately thought that race officials made the right decision to call off the event.
“I just didn’t feel right packing my bag on Friday,” he said. “All the reasons I wanted to do this were because the atmosphere is festive and it is fun. That would not have been the case this year.”
Like anyone who trains for a marathon, Burke started running shorter distances of four, five and six miles early in his training, but before long had increased the distances to 10 miles, then 15 and later took separate runs of 20 and 22 miles in anticipation of running 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York. Burke downloaded the iPhone app, RunKeeper, which allowed him to monitor his workouts, map his course and record times, distance and calories burned.
“I went about it carefully and committed to it hard. I just wanted to do it right,” said Burke, who was a triathlete when he first ran the marathon in 1988 and required very little additional training. “Now I’ve got my legs going and there is a marathon in Miami in January so I’m thinking I’ll keep my schedule going. And I will definitely be in New York next year.”