AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him and let him know what you think.
There are a few seminal Manhattan experiences that people never forget — and never forgive themselves if they miss out on them, like sightseeing from the roof of the the Empire State Building, a carriage ride through Central Park or finger banging a sexy stranger on the L train at 4 a.m.
Another one of these "must have" experiences is the New York City Marathon. Sure, it's not Boston's, but other than the Puerto Rican Day Parade, there are not many other citywide events that bring as many people together sweating and wearing extremely short shorts.
Plus, there's always the celebrity runners that participate that are an added attraction to the road race. This year's headliner is Captain One Nut himself, Lance Armstrong, who, for all his alleged doping scandals and questionable alliance with a shirtless Matthew McConaughey, always generates support and excitment.
But there are others who'll be running this weekend that'll also get their share of unique applause and extra cups of water thrown at them. So I'm carb-loading like a motherfucker, massaging my shin splints and handicapping the odds on the other runners who'll get the most support this weekend as they attempt to cross the finish line without puking.
Follow the Kenyans, after this jump.
Rickety Old Man: 2/1
As with small children, everybody loves it when a senior citizen does something remarkably average (speaks in complete sentences, doesn't fall off the toilet, chews food), which is why when the 88-year-old creaks his way toward the finish line, there will be a noticeable uproar. Granted, this person is usually in remarkably good shape — better than most 25-year-olds — yet for some reason, there's always the morbid hope that if they'll fall down mid-stride and die. It's kind of like secretly wishing for a horribly gruesome hockey fight where somebody loses an eye.
Ridiculously Handicapped Fella: 3/1
Of all the disabled people running in the race tomorrow, my favorite is the dude who'll be all inching along in the loose-fitting lyrca with the crooked legs. Even though his feet will be facing each other, he some how musters the strength to complete the race in under 14 hours. Granted, he'll fall a lot and let out these spine-chilling gutteral moans, tumble into the water table at least six times and most likely cross the finish line with his race number splattered with his own feces — but he's still an inspiration to us all. Amazing!
Blind Person: 10/1
It's a little known fact, but New Yorkers secretly HATE blind people. Therefore, the long odds go to this person who'll be briskly shuffling along decked out in giant sunglasses and his number pinned upside down on his shirt. Most Manhattanites are inundated with so many blind people on a daily basis that there's little sympathy left for them. They're more like out-of-place furniture that you keep bumping into on the sidewalk/subway. Yet, some will still feel compelled to cheer (if they're running with a seeing eye dog), but if they just have a personal handler, well, watch how many of the onlookers will turn away in order to suppress the urge to boo.
Drunk Guy Still Wearing Halloween Costume: 1/1
Everybody loves an underdog, and there's none bigger than the guy still reeling from that raging roof party in the West Village. He'll have just have woken up in some strange apartment, looking for his friends and trying to find a cab. Best course of action? Follow all the people! You'll see him half-heartedly attempt to keep up with the runners, then gasp for air around mile .4 and head to the sidelines asking for directions to the Joshua Tree. Plus, he'll still have half of his brilliant white foam sperm costume that was only amusing when he was lumped in with a pack of others just like him. Even louder ovation if he boots on another runner while trying to get out of the way.