Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lost Boy of Sudan Lost in Central Park! (And then found)

Email sent Saturday, March 10, 2007


The Lost Boy of Sudan, Macharia Yuot, whom I emailed you about a few days ago (read his amazing story in Sports Illustrated at: came to visit us in NYC today -- and we lost him!  While it was worrisome at the time, it ended up being a pretty hilarious (not to mention ironic).  Here's the story:


After yesterday's 19-mile run, he was going to take it easy today, with "only" a 10-mile run, so after showing him where we lived and telling him the cross streets, my three girls and I (on our bikes, of course!) set off with him on his run in Central Park at about 10:45am.  About a mile into the run, as Macharia was just flying, my girls started whining about how tired they were, blah, blah, blah.  So, I told Macharia that we'd meet him back at our apartment and we stopped at a playground.


About an hour later, we came back to the apartment, where four friends who responded to my first email about Macharia were waiting to meet him and have lunch.  We waited and waited and waited.  By 1:15pm, we knew he could have run a marathon and started to worry.  We correctly surmised that he must have forgotten our address and didn't bring his phone with him, so how does one find a lost person in all of Central Park's 843 acres (equal to 6% of all of Manhattan)?!


We walked into the park and headed for the North Meadow Recreation Center (mid-park at 98th St.), which has staff that might be able to help.  As we approached, a police van was driving out, so we hailed it and, in a totally random bit of good luck, as we described Macharia, the cop said, "Yeah, I just talked to him.  He was on 60th and 5th and said he knew your address, but just couldn't remember the apartment number, so I told him to go to the building and wait for you there."


Obviously, he didn't know my address or cross streets or he wouldn't have been asking a cop for help on 60th and 5th, so we decided to split up.  We figured he'd be coming north, but weren't sure if he'd be on 5th Avenue or on the park drive, so my friends hopped in a cab and slowly went down 5th looking for him, while I jumped on my bike and pedaled madly down the park.  We both got to the southern end of the park at about the same time and, lo and behold, he was sitting there, patiently waiting for us, exactly where he'd talked to the cop.  PHEW!  I'm sure he'd been very worried, but he was embarassed that he'd forgotten the address and was so happy to see us that we quickly put this behind us and rest of the day went smoothly (thank goodness!).


We had a very late lunch and heard his remarkable story.  He's a lovely guy.  Then my family and I took him to Rockefeller Center, where we went to the top, and then walked through Times Square, which he thought was pretty cool.  We then walked to the Amtrak station, where he caught the train home to Philadelphia.


He's running in a 5-mile race in Central Park early next Saturday morning (7:45am I think), so if you want to get up early and come cheer him on, let me know...

 Subscribe in a reader