The runners are called “Streakers.”
It’s not what you’re thinking.
Shelter Island’s own Dr. Frank Adipietro competed and finished the New York City Marathon on Sunday, running the race with “The Streakers + 15 Club,” so designated for athletes who have run the NYC event 15 or more times.
Dr. Adipietro was one of about 50,000 entries into one of the world’s premier races. Although he set no record — he left that to Ethiopian Tamirat Tola who finished the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 58 seconds — he was part of the big race for the 41st time.
As a member of The Streakers, he and his running buddies, many of whom are part of the New York City Police Department Running Club (the doctor is an honorary member) get special treatment from the race officials.
“It’s not VIP treatment, but it’s cool,” he said, describing how The Streakers are bused to the start and all put in the same corral and can run as a group. “Logistically, it makes it much easier,” he said, rather than being among tens of thousands of runners eager to start, which can be dangerous, he said, and with a smile, added, “And, at the least, cumbersome.”
And when the race is over, Dr. Adipietro goes to the special NYPD tent in Central Park, where the finishers are well cared for.
Being a member of the persistent and consistent pays, he said. As a Streaker, he found leaving Staten Island and crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge “relatively quiet. It was such a beautiful day — not like last year when it was in the 80s — so clear and cool. We could see the city, but also looking east you could see way out on Long Island. There was no wind. It was a fantastic start.”
Dr. Adipietro’s connection to the race is also a connection to his native city, Brooklyn, which takes in half of the race. “Running with the guys, I’d point out landmarks, but also where I went to grammar and high school in Bay Ridge,” he said.
Memories of his family were never far from him as he ran through the streets of his youth, including in the Park Slope section, where the young Frank worked in his grandfather’s hardware store after school.
There is always another runner with him in the marathon, he said, his father, who passed away 20 years ago.
“We ran the marathon and through the borough of Brooklyn in 1981 together — it was his idea,” he said. “Whenever I pass through the old neighborhood, those wonderful memories come rushing back. We started the 1981 race with each other and ran through 20 miles together. He was 44 years old at that time, and I was 24.”
Part of what makes the marathon special for Dr. Adipietro is the response of the city to the runners. “I’ve never seen a bigger crowd,” he said.” In Brooklyn and Manhattan, they were six or seven deep lining the streets all the way.”
Summing up his 41st NYC Marathon was easy for Dr. Adipietro. “It was a magnificent day.”