In early 2018 – Runlab decided to look into taking a group of runners to the 2019 NYC Marathon. Vlad’s Wife Cheryl had run the event in 2017. The stories of the event and trip “sparked my interest – So I looked into it a little further”. Long story short, we partnered up with an approved travel provider  ATP to the event to manage all the logistics in the lead-up and during the time in NYC. So Runlab was part of a larger group that took on NYC Marathon. We also has a number of other Runlabbers who had entered the event off their own accord earlier, all in all with partners our team topped out at 23.

So the NYC Marathon is one of the 6 World Major Marathons. These events are better resourced that a normal Marathon – and each of the has to deliver a unique and impressive experience for runners and supporters. “Ive now run all but Boston – This is the best running event Ive ever done” – Vlad Shatrov

Whilst (if your lucky and fast enough) you can do some of these events without the need of an ATP, this does gaurantee your entry and it can be a great way of having activities coordinated and organised by thise that do it regularly. Below is a summary of thoughts on the race by some of those that came, in short what it tells is a special story for all, and a memory that they will forever keep.

Looking ahead – Runlab will take an official group to Boston Marathon in April 2021 AND return to the Big Apple New York for the Marathon in November 2021. This may be something that you start working towards.

Congratulations to all those that run, take a look at the words of the group in summary below. Enjoy!


The pre- race briefing photo says it all – nerves, excitement, have I done enough training? have I done too much training? have I walked too far sightseeing pre- race??? It was easier to share this with familiar faces, experienced heads. Thanks for the guidance. Race Day Very cold … but all made soo much better by ATT – looking after us in motels & bus transfers. The usual pre – race nerves but waiting time was made easier with Chez & Linda. Nerves weren’t helped by counting the snipers on the surrounding rooftops. Wasn’t expecting the CANNON!! start gun (even though Chez warned us). The main thing I remember is the crowd… the cheering, singing, DJs, Gospel singing … will never forget – I wanted to walk at times but felt like I was letting the crowd down, so kept running. Must admit I’m a bit disappointed with my time but the experience & lessons learnt far outweigh that. I’m excited for another big, o’seas marathon… makes all the training worthwhile. Thank you everyone for sharing this trip – a lifelong memory to share with you. Look forward to the catch up in Newy.


Cheryl Shatrov

They don’t call it the 26.2mile, 5 Boroughs block party for nothing!

Just 8 weeks out from race day, and in ICU, I was unsure if I would be able to travel to New York, let alone run the NYC Marathon.It would take a miracle, some luck, an incredible support network on my side and some good ol fashion hard work, determination (with a spot of stubborn), to get there. And get there we did!

18 Runlabbers made the trip and joined the Adventure Time Travel group. Each and everyone of us, having to overcome some form of illness, injuries and other dramas along the way. But all fulfilling our dreams of getting to the start AND finish line of the big one.

Personally, my lead up was very patchy. It was the most under done and under trained I’d been going into a marathon. But I would still lace up and run with my sole purpose being to take part and enjoy it, being thankful I could. Of course, in the back of my mind, I still had doubts and expectations though, and really hoped to go under 4 hours with my lack of recent training.

Having run the NYC Marathon previously in 2017, I was unsure how this years experience would compare. Would my high expectations of the race be the undoing of this years race experience?  Would a poor result this year tarnish my view of the race and my experience? Would I be able to enjoy it as much as I did last time? Absolutely!!! When the gun went off, and I got started, the smile didn’t disappear for 42.2km. My experience this year, would far exceed my previous run. Although starting solo, I was able to share some km’s with other Runlabbers and Adventure Time Travel runners along the way, by chance. It was lovely seeing familiar faces in a sea of chaos and crowds. Darren Hayward (no relation), Peter Adams, Linda Stanborough, Ally from Sydney, Craig from Travellingfit – these were the familiar faces that would add another layer to my NYC 2019 Marathon race experience.

The atmosphere is second to none. It’s a sensory overload. The music, brass bands, drummers, dj’s, gospel choir, the lines deep of spectators all supporting the event. The array of motivational signs and positive banter, the more than adequate drink stations, the ever energetic volunteers, seeing runners of all walks of life – showing this race is inclusive of everyone, the interaction of runners is something to behold – everyone just seems happy to be a part of the day. And of course the race course itself – challenging but beautiful. With each bridge comes a hill, but with each hill comes amazing sights.

The run itself would turn out to be the most I have ever enjoyed a run. I have never smiled from start to finish nor not had at least one low moment of “when is this over”, until this day. To be honest, there were some emotional times in the final stages due to happiness, and relief that I would in fact have an entirely enjoyable race. My result: 3.44 on very disrupted training, with little effort, would leave me chuffed with a huge sense of achievement. This would be 10 mins better than my previous time here. I was able to give what I needed and take what I needed from this race. I learnt that I am resilient, I am strong, fitter than I thought, and bloody determined. Most importantly each and everyone of our group all had a ball. Which makes us all winners!

We were very fortunate to have an amazing group of Runlabbers and partners join us in the big apple this year. Being able to share our pre race fears, expectations, anxieties, nerves then our post race celebrations and comradery in general, was a highlight to this years trip with the Runlab crew. Linda, sharing a hug at the finish line was bliss.

Brett, we were all worrying for you with your ankle, but the Taco story made up for it. Joyce, your husband, Howards’ jokes were a welcome distraction and his poems absolutely on point. The quality of individuals in our group is very evident by just how happy everyone is, for each others achievements. No doubt many strong bonds and friendships have been made along this journey. Thank you for making memories we will cherish forever.

Congratulations to all who ran, we really did all achieve our impossible.Cheryl Shatrov Hayward


Joyce Oxley

Seriously guys, I couldn’t have done it without you all. As you know I arrived having done very spasmodic training and very doubtful I would start, never mind finish. When I was told that hydration vests weren’t allowed, I was in a total panic, having not run with anything else. I hadn’t done a run long enough to require nutrition, so it was all going to be trial and error. Stopped and walked through every aid station along the way, alternating between water and Gatorade – never drunk so much in a run ever before. Very thankful my knee held up long enough to finish. So, pleased we all came away with a medal and happy memories x

Howard wrote another quick poem about me: “Oh how she suffered” For Joyce her knees, her feet, her pain Which shoes to wear for greatest gain? With help from Vlad and Peter’s tricks She cracked the back of twenty-six. Armed with gels, blocks and toilet rolls She crossed the bridge and paid the tolls Step by step and mile by mile Her icy grimace turned to smile. The Runlab girl had crossed the line Success and medal and feeling fine!

Tanja Sealby

2nd ever marathon. 16:12 PB from the GC last year.
This isn’t particularly about NYC, but I thought I’d share because I really do like and feel comfortable with the running family. My approach to “racing” is prob different to most because I’m not racing, I’m never going to be fast nor win any prizes. It’s not defeatist it’s just realistic. I’m trying to better myself by putting myself in anxiety provoking situations and making myself uncomfortable.
I love to run because of the release it gives me.
Entering in events gives me the motivation to get my butt out the door, it also gets me out of my anxious head by often putting me smack bang into the middle of anxiety promoting situations. My anxieties aren’t really about running… I know I’ll finish the damn thing because I’m not opposed to walking and no one expects me to be fast.

Wasn’t unhappy with my training could have done some more miles but trying to find the balance between run sessions and self-care sessions like Pilates/stretching. I actually think the Thursday night track speed work has helped.

Pre-race anxieties:
Will I hurt myself before the race while travelling around.
Will a bomb go off.
Is running really worth getting blown up for.
Will I poop my pants.

Race Day:
A late race start was a lesson in managing your thoughts. With the hours of waiting…just hurry up and let’s start already!! Very happy with my nutrition and hydration. Training paid off. Very happy with clothing. 1st time not one bit of chafe. I think the NY crowds really propelled you along but was also grateful for the quieter sections to just be in the moment.
Enjoyed sharing most of the Race with Niss. Was good to have a proud hug at the end

Chris Sealby

NYC Marathon –
The quick version is… I didn’t achieve the time I wanted (I was 25 minutes slower than the Gold Coast) I could give some excuses, like a broken toe… But when it boils down to it, I didn’t train enough. I just couldn’t go any faster. That is all down to me. I had all the tools at my disposal, but I didn’t take full advantage of them.

Having said that, I had a blast. It was an incredible experience. One I am still processing.
I am so happy for everyone who smashed their runs (all of you!!) The celebration dinner and debrief was awesome
The NY crowds were beyond words… The support was amazing.
The Americans really embrace the effort you make. We are still receiving congrats from random people when they find out we ran the marathon.

This was a bucket list item for me. Being able to do it with the Runlab crew was the icing on the cake. Meeting up with you all in NYC was surreal. It is an experience I will never forget.

What I have taken away from this is the need to be completely into my training. This is now my focus as I have an entry to the UTA 100. Thank you to @Vlad Shatrov and all you crazy people who ran and supported
Love to you all XO

Steve Akins

5:08 for me, given the disrupted preparation I was more than happy with that for my first marathon. What an awesome event and city. Thanks for having me join in with the Runlab crew! Had a great time!


5:37 for me, 20 min Pb. The best race, fantastic crowd, Tanja Sealby is an awesome marathon buddy, so glad the Storeys came to New York

Peter Storey

Summary race report Pete Storey. Decided to go out hard to see how much fitness I lost over the last month after a strained hammy. Went out at 4:15 pace (ran 4::11 pace for Blackmores half marathon) but started to enter the hurt locker at 12km a lot earlier than expected. So, had to tough it out for another 30km. The crowd was unbelievable and kept me going the whole way. With 7km to go started to cramp in the hammy and pace had to drop to finish. Was surprised with a 5 min pb when I crossed the line. Then the body went through hell and cramped severely and ended up in the medical tent. It was the most amazing atmosphere and loved the whole experience. Learned a lot about myself as well as knowing I still need a lot of hard training to finish a marathon strongly.

Joyce Oxley – She was so excited Joyce wrote two

The camaraderie amongst the group was evident right from the first welcome dinner.

Everyone gave support and offered tips to help me believe that not only could I complete a marathon but also that I’d even enjoy it. My injuries and spasmodic training had sewn a lot of self-doubt beforehand.

The NYC marathon is like no other as far as logistics are involved and it is here that the ATT attention to detail and being part of the Runlab ‘crew’ really came into its own.
Being with two others in the start village was invaluable – it was a quite complicated procedure to arrive at the correct corral!
Like Tanja I was lucky to have someone to run with. Lynette and I shared most of the run – lapping up the amazing atmosphere and support of the New Yorkers – it really can’t be put into words.
At the celebration dinner it was so uplifting to share the feeling of success with fellow Runlabbers – thank you @Vlad Shatrov for organising this great event

Andrew Chau

New York City Marathon was an unexpected surprise this year, it was never planned, and I was lucky enough to get an entry from my sister living in Brooklyn. I had been training for Melbourne Marathon in October as my ‘A’ race, and with NYC Marathon just 3 weeks following, my training plan just continued – my recovery week totalled 95km! My favourite sessions were the descending tempo runs, tough but makes you feel fast and strong. NYC was never going to be a race for me, I was there to pace my sister for her first marathon. The goal was to achieve a sub 4-hour finish and to enjoy the massive street party that happens to be a marathon. We crossed the line at 3:56:46, no cramps, no walking, and with massive grins on our faces.

Brett Bancroft

I only committed to New York in early July after months of indecision – not sure whether I could justify the cost of a trip to the other side of the world so that I could go for a run. But it turned out to be so much more than ‘just going for a run’ – and I am so pleased that I did it. My preparation was pretty good (aside from a bout of the flu in mid-September) until a mid-foot sprain in late-Sept resulted in an earlier than planned taper. Heading to New York on 28 Oct, a bit of pain in my right foot was the only concern and otherwise comfortable that I am running well (with a much more consistent training base than previous years). On my third day in New York, it was time to go for a run through Central Park and test out the new Nike Vaporfly Next%’s. All going well until about 10.4km when I step in a hole on the dark road and roll my right foot again. The swelling and bruising indicated a bit of a problem, but X-ray the next day confirmed no fracture. Pretty sure at this point that it won’t be possible to run 42km in 3 days. But the plan is to rest until Sunday, start the race and hope for the best. On race morning, legs feeling a bit heavy and hip flexors a bit sore after a more vigorous foam rolling session the night before than was probably needed. Missed the cut off time for the Wave 1 corral, so now starting 30min later than planned in Wave 2. Right foot remains an unknown. Things definitely not going to plan. But stay calm and focus on the job to be done. The race – the plan is to start at around 4:30 pace and try and maintain consistently through the race. Feel strong throughout, no real issues with right foot and end up more concerned about some tightening in my left calf and hamstring. Cramping hit in both legs around 36km and end up walking through the last 4 drink stations to get in some extra Gatorade. Cross the finish line at 3:14:28. So the summary – an awesome experience, with some ups and downs along the way – a disrupted preparation, an injury (but otherwise feeling fit and strong), some great support and generosity, an amazing atmosphere, some rookie mistakes, good focus – and in the end I walk away having achieved my target of under 3:15 in circumstances where I didn’t even think it would be possible to run a marathon 3 days earlier. And I leave New York not just having done what I went there to do – but taking away a couple of important lessons. First, a big reminder to always be prepared to have a go – you never know what is possible until you try. Second, given the disrupted preparation (like many others had as well) I now know I can go a lot faster – and now I am just looking forward to seeing what I am capable of! Thank you to Vlad and all of Runlab for your friendship and support. I couldn’t think of a better group to do it with. And thank you to my beautiful wife and family – the only thing missing was that you were not there to share it all with me.

Nicolle Watson

As a teenager I finished high school in California, and as part of a planned trip for my latest school reunion which would be late 2019, I was toying with the idea of joining a tour to do NYC Marathon. I thought it was rather serendipitous when the Runlab tour came up so I signed up with enthusiasm and then crossed my fingers that the reunion would happen close enough to do both.
It’s been around 3 years since I last attempted a road marathon and my preparation was sporadic due to a couple of nasty colds, a torn calf, and then a few weeks out, I also strained my knee getting out of a boat! C’est la vie! The event was about fun and finishing and I knew I had done just enough training to “get through” and hoped it was enough that I wouldn’t be too sore afterwards. Getting such a crap cold the week of wasn’t planned, but modern drugs can be a god send can’t they?
Running with Steve was awesome! How much more fun is it to trundle along enjoying the atmosphere & the vistas when you’re with a great mate. I’ve done the “I want this time” thing before and was very happy to approach NYC without any pressure other than to finish and enjoy it. (I think that is what running trails has done for me.) Seeing Steve’s massive grin when he finished was icing on the cake.
The event logistic arrangements that had been put in place by ATT, especially our marathon day breakfast, made the event extra easy and special. I would recommend ATT to others based on my experience with this tour! The fact that I was experiencing the event with other Runlabbers I knew from Newcastle, made the experience even better.
The event itself should be on everyone’s to-do list. An experience that is unique and open to all that are willing to run or walk their way around New York. The atmosphere is electric for most of the 42km. The crowd enthusiasm, cheer signs (most were quite humorous), bands and music, aid stations and not least the volunteers and NYPD support keep you moving and keep you motivated to finish. Sharing the experience and hearing everyone’s success stories at the event dinner organised by Anna’s team topped the day and closed out the NYC tour in a way that ensured some treasured memories.
Well done all of you!

 Linda Stanborough

For me this year I was always going to New York with my friend Wendy to celebrate joint 40th birthdays. When we talked about it through the years running a marathon while we were there never entered my mind!

I’m so grateful to have joined the running community, and Runlab in particular. I’ve made some great friends and achieved things I never would have contemplated. Thanks team

The marathon. After completing my first in the Gold Coast with a time of 4.06 I was determined to beat the 4-hour time. As my training progressed I set the goal fast at 3.50 and on the day was so happy to get under that with 3.47.

The event was amazing, there was the expo, the opening ceremony (I felt like I was at the Olympics) the special ad ons from ATT, a perfect hotel location and breakfast at the Hilton, the start village and then the run!

The start was incredible, although that first bridge seemed to go forever! I ran my second fastest ever half marathon getting caught up with the runners around me and the crowds. It’s hard to describe. They were so passionate and encouraging. I couldn’t count the amount of high 5’s I handed out. If I was struggling a bit a few of these have the pick-up I needed.

I was worried before the start about being able to reach my goal with the jet lag, a rather late night for Halloween and a lot of walking around before but @Vlad Shatrov and the ATT pre-race brief helped calm those thoughts.

I was able to maintain a pace for the second half to reach my goal. I was ahead of time and watched the 3.40 pacer go by, then the 3.45 and I was damned if I was going to let the 3.50 one!

Finishing through Central Park was amazing. The hill didn’t even feel that bad with all the crowds and activity to keep your mind off it.

When I crossed the line it felt amazing. The moment was made even better when I saw @Cheryl Shatrov Hayward’s smiling face congratulating me. Followed not long after by @Peter Adams. It was so great to have them there to share the finishing excitement with. And later that night to be able to celebrate with all the Runlab team was the icing on the cake. Thank you to all of you for making this experience so amazing!

Where’s the next one?

Vlad Shatrov

New York – New York! Let the Magic Happen!

This was a B Race in my overall plan, and I had to keep that in mind constantly in the lead-up. Whilst 2:26 is good time, as I always say, time alone is often not a true indication of the result. This was true in this case for me at this years NYC Marathon. How did I train for this and how did it fit in? read on for a summary of my approach.

This was my 5th World Major Marathon. I’ve got Boston to go, ideally in 2021. My focus the past few years has definitely been on longer road and trail running events. It’s my strength and what I love working and training for. Every week I’m challenging myself and honing the skills that allow me to compete with the best in the World. It was early this year I first considered Ultra Trail Cape town. Post a DNF at UTA and due to sponsor commitments, this ended up being locked in, Mid-year. New York was already planned, and I was going with many of my Runlab clients on an organised trip with Adventure Time Travel (ATT).

Wanting to peak for UTCT but run well enough at NYC Marathon to get a specific speed adaption was what I was juggling. Only having a structured plan would keep me on track.

A typical weeks straining was

Monday 10km + 15km (Both easy – 4:30-4:45 Average) flat road

Tuesday 12km easy + Intervals. Intervals were efforts between 3-5 minutes @ my Threshold NOT V02 (this is the first major different to pure Marathon Training). Whilst I was often too tired or heavy to hit a real V02 – I definitely still got an adaption without sacrificing the ability for me to focus on trails.

Wednesday – 21-25km on Road or 25-28km on Trial (Alternating) and the Trail runs had over 1500m vertical gain + 5-10km PM and STRENGTH work

Thursday Easy 7-10km am and easy 10-15km PM

Friday TRAIL 20-40km

Saturday 20-30km road with Fast 5km effort (Tempo Pace)

Sunday Road or Trail 20-40km.

A Few points on the key sessions.I did a few sessions on the trail which were between 25-35km where I then finished off with a faster paced finish on the Road. This wasn’t for the Marathon – But to better adapt to my trail running strengths of Leg speed. Race visualisation was practiced, putting myself into race day and the 70km mark, feeling sore and tired with 30km to go – how would I be able to run? Wanting to run well at this point in that pretend race, I was out there practicing it as best I could recreate it.

There are very few people that are great at all aspects of train running. Essentially there are three components. Technical – Hills – Open running. I’m ok at Technical but am naturally gifted and have developed my open running skills. I want the leg speed to run in the good open running sections. I’m also good on the Hills, but I’ve worked many years on developing this, and this is now too part of my trail running success. I actually love being on a hill that’s steep, working hard, but in control and climbing step after step! There is so much more I could talk to you about my training generally but I’m going to round it out by saying that, I also raced on average every second week with minimal to no tapers. This replaces a gaping hole of no Tempo sessions in my Weekly training – It was hopefully perfect for my trail running but meant whilst I was strong, I wasn’t at peak speed!

To run a better Marathon, I would not be able to focus on my trail running.

My biggest volume weeks were built into steadily and over a 6 Week period September-October I averaged 190km a week. A had no injuries, but a lot of challenging days made easier by doing runs with my Champion running buddies.

Now back to that 2:26 and the fact that a time doesn’t tell the story. I didn’t chase an Elite start, B race and focus on the fact I was doing this with Runlab – and these guys are my friends too. I didn’t want to be off doing my own thing race morning, I wanted to do it with the crew. But hey – I mistakenly thought we would be lined up behind the Elites anyway and that would have been totally fine. I could live without the Elite Tent and easier race morning. Luckily unlike almost everyone else, ATT organised us to be bused over to Staten Island early, but then taken to the Hilton Hotel. Here we could relax and have breakfast in comfort. We then got transported to the race precinct arriving about 75 minutes before our scheduled start. Everyone else (apart from the Elites) had been there for about 3 hours. This made the experience so much better, thanks ATT! It was still a 3:30am wake up though.

Majors are crazy! When over 50 thousand people are just doing the Marathon distance it’s pretty full on. Once dropped toilet stops, bags drops and walking to the Coral meant we had 15 minutes only until we were led onto the bridge. Now with the A runners I was locked into race mode. No warmup possible as we were crammed in a small area, but I did get about 5 minutes of circle jogging in. I was still protected with old clothes and tights and a Poncho given with the race kit, specifically for this. Temp 5 degrees with a headwind, mmmmmmm. We were shuffled onto the bridge and ended up behind many rows of other runners. At the time those that were with me and myself thought that these people were just there for the pre-race entertainment and ceremonies. The Elites where in front of this group! Bang (cannon) and off. A crazy fight to try and even run, must have taken at least 2 minutes to be able to run freely as we worked through this group, many of them just jogging (I think they were event legends, runners having completed this race many times prior) either way it wasn’t ideal for them or those of us in the A group actually trying to run quickly.

Breaking free finally I could see the Elite pack about 500 metres ahead on top of the bridge, so I lost time here, but it didn’t affect me. I quickly realised that there were a few others about 40 metres in front also from my A group and a little pack formed, I think my second km split was a 3:05 or something as I surged into this little group. Pretty soon though there was no such pack, there were about 4-5 of us way out in front of our group and way behind the Elites. That’s pretty much how it stayed!

Gel at 15km and 30km with all up 2 mouthfuls of water was my nutrition, although unfortunately I had the worst stomach upset and was forced at 32km to stop and go to the toilet, lost another minute, but again I didn’t let it affect me.

The crowd and course were simply amazing. I cannot tell you in words what I feel, even now as I write about it, it’s just an emotion that comes over me of another life changing experience. I tell you, get out there and do something like this, you grow from it.

With the lost time, on a challenging course and with long sections of headwind- the actual running effort was about 2:22, it was exactly what I planned and hoped to run. The actual time whilst disappointing, is accepted totally by me considering all of this. I had run and got a benefit. When running and hitting my splits below 3:20 per km, by myself, I felt good. Over the course of the afternoon as our runners all finished and we all connected, the collective euphoria was special.

As soon as I got my bag and was walking back to the hotel, I was tracking all the runners with understandably focus on Cheryl (My Wife). At that time, she was on 3:44 Pace, she was about 30km in, I was starting to feel relief. Her own year and lead-up had been dramatic, you will see her own story somewhere. In August she was in ICU – the thought of even going to New York was not looking viable for about 2 weeks, and then still would she even recover and sort of be able to train? Well she pretty much held that pace, finishing smiling and totally absorbing the moment and event, a few days post she admitted she could have run faster, but it wasn’t about that this time!

The acknowledgment of pretty much any new Yorker of your effort was genuine, for me topped off by being “Fastest runner in the Hotel” and being gifted a bottle of Champaign, chocolates and a Watch! There were over 400 runners in the Hotel.

Everyone in our group has walked away from this for the better, it was more than a run!