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Running The Buffalo Marathon

Running the Buffalo Marathon race start line

Even though I completed an 18-week sub-4-hour marathon training plan, running the Buffalo Marathon (26.2 miles) was the most challenging race I have run. I arrive in Buffalo, New York, two days before the race. Watch the video of my travel and race experience.

Downtown Buffalo New York

On May 27, 2022, I walk North on Franklin Street towards downtown Buffalo New York. The architecture of the Erie County government building (see video) is beautiful as I walk by and stop at the statue of George Washington.

I continue my tour to Niagara Square and the tall McKinley Memorial monument. Then I walk to the North entrance to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Finally, I ride an Uber to a Motel 6.

Niagara Falls State Park

May 28, 2022, with a heavy camera backpack, I ride an Uber to Niagara Falls State Park. Seeing Niagara Falls, the view is stunning. First, I set up a tripod, a Nikon D750 camera with a 70-200mm lens, and a strobe flash. Then I take self-portraits with Niagara river and Falls in the background.

I run along the Niagara river using my GoPro 7 Black camera with iSteady gimbal. Then I use an extension pole to get a panoramic view of the Niagara River. Setting up the tripod again, I take long-exposure shots of the Niagara River using a 6-stop neutral-density filter.

Goat Island

I walk across the bridge to Goat Island and hike to the Horseshoe Falls. I feel the water on my face as I pass through the waterfall mist. Finally, I shot photos of Horseshoe Falls and a video of the falls behind me.

Brian Portrait at Niagara Falls
Portrait of Brian Kondas at Niagara Falls

Buffalo Marathon Pasta Dinner

After picking up my marathon racing bib at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, I walk to Hyatt Hotel for the pasta dinner. At 3:30 PM, I am the first runner in the ballroom. I serve myself a plate of salad and eat it with a glass of water.

Later, more runners show up, and I’m served a plate of pasta with chicken and meatballs. I consume the meal with a cup of Mile-27 beer and finish with a giant chocolate-chip cookie.

Running The Buffalo Marathon

At 5:30 AM on May 29, 2022, I walked into Niagara Square and used a porta-potty. I wear a GoPro 7 Black camera clipped to a Nathan 2-liter hydration vest. In the vest pockets, I carry 7 Spring Energy gels, my iPhone 13 Pro, and a container with two 200mg caffeine tablets.

Before the Buffalo Marathon, I speak with Dan, his girlfriend with a dog. Dan’s marathon goal is a 3:30 finish time. My primary goal is a sub-4-hour finish, and my secondary goal is to finish as fast as possible.

Pre-Race Production

A man sings the American National Anthem. Then fireworks shoot into the sky and explode. Then an announcer shouts, “It’s time, Buffalo! Let’s get ready for racing!” With the roar of stampeding Buffalo on the loudspeaker, fireworks launch, and a lady says, “Go!”

Slowly the crowd walks forward; as we cross the start line, my 26.2-mile marathon begins.

Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan Buffalo NY 2021

Running the First Half of The Buffalo Marathon

I’m feeling good running the first half of the Buffalo Marathon. However, after a few miles, I discover a clog in the valve of my hydration tube. As a result, I can only suck a small amount of fluid out at a time, and I plan to suck on it more often.

Sometime around mile 5, start a conversation with Shannon, a 26-year-old female runner with long red hair. I find out she is running the half marathon and her best finish time is 1:52, the same as mine. So for the next several miles, we run together.

Shannon sprints to the aid stations to drink as I slow down and drink from my hydration bladder. Running side-by-side, Shannon and I pass many runners. Finally, Shannon goes left to finish the half-marathon, and I go right to run the full marathon.

Running the Last Half of the Buffalo Marathon

At the halfway point, I am ahead of the 3:50 Pacer. At mile-16, I take my second 200mg caffeine tablet with a cup of water, and my bladder feels full. After mile-20, the 3:50 Pacer passes me, and I continue my slow pace.

Somewhere around mile-23, I am passed by 4:00 Pacer, and with it goes my sub-4-hour marathon goal. It’s tough to keep running, even at a slow pace. Nevertheless, I push forward and vow not to stop, no matter how painful it gets.

In the last miles of the marathon, I continue to get passed by runners. However, I never stopped moving forward. Feeling noxious with only 400 meters left, I pushed as hard as possible to finish strong. Finally, I crossed the finish line at 4:11:19 and completed the longest race of my life.

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