James McFarlane covered a five-mile road race through the streets of Bay Ridge in a time of 36:06.69, which earned him 38th place overall. The occasion marked the 23rd annual Police Officer Chris Hoban Memorial Run, whose course was not far from the New York City Marathon.
McFarlane was one of 467 finishers who competed under cloudy, cool and delightful weather conditions last Sunday morning, as it was just an ideal day for a race.
A ‘veteran’ runner with plenty of experience behind him at various distances in an age group event, McFarlane is a native of Panama, where he resided before coming to New York at the age of nine.
The Hoban event, also attended by many of the friends of his at the time, started almost in front of Xaverian High School in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn and finished in almost the same place. The route followed the harbor promenade to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and returned along Third Avenue. There are rolling hills on Third Avenue that make the race challenging.
“This is one of the most enjoyable races that I’ve ever run,” McFarlane said. “It is difficult for me because of may age (55).
“My arch rival Hari Rohl (60 years old) pushed me back and forth and broke me (and finished in 32nd place) in 35:14.05. With him in this race, I had to run well.”
“I told myself I have a long stride,” he said after the race. “Maybe I could use the down hills better. I used the give and go technique.
Because he lives in nearby Ridgewood, he usually would workout near his residence.
“Sometimes I would train at Juniper Valley Park,” the 55-year-old runner said. “I would go to Forest Park, where I would go on the track. I would do the tread mills also. When I was young, I used to go to Jamaica, where I could use the hills. These hills were god very, very good.”
McFarlane said that he started running at the age of 16 or 17 while he was attending Flushing High School. But the team was no good, and I lost interest. He remembered winning the Kentucky Fried all-star competition at Randalls Island. It consisted of least five different events-basketball, push-ups, obstacle course, and track and field, The event took place in the late 1970s.
He recalled competing in his initial marathon race back in 1981. After he was recorded in four hours four minutes in 1981, he was determined to come back again for more marathon tries. and to keep improving by lowering his times.
Meanwhile, Thomas McKernan, a senior at St. Francis College, took the lead after the first mile and captured the Chris Hoban Memorial race in 28:53.79.
“It was a tough race,” said McKernan, well ahead second place finisher Joe Sell, who was timed in 29:13.96.