Where: New York, New York
When: Early November
Size: 40,000 runners
Completed November 1st 2009
- Be prepared for a long (up to 4hrs) wait in the starting pens. Take food and drink and keep warm
- Although it’s tempting – don’t climb over the barriers to get closer to the start line – people get disqualified
- Try to get onto the top level of the bridge at the start of the race because people wee off the top and if you’re on the lower deck and the winds wrong it could be a bit nasty
- Don’t let the excitement change your race plan – take a watch and keep your own pace
- Make use of the computer chip system in your shoe so friends can ‘live track’ you online to see how you are doing
- Be warned – the crowd drops at about mile 19 in the Bronx, right around ‘Hitting the Wall’ territory
- There are quite a few bridges to watch out for including the killer 3 mile hill aroundmile 22 to 25 as you come back into Manhattan
- Wear your medal out on your victory night out like a celebrity and lap it up!
Official race video…
As you’d expect with a race like this everything needs to be planned to the utmost detail seeing as they close a lot of main roads in the centre of New York. There’s a great EXPO in Manhattan before the race to register and collect your race number and to check out some gear. Very easy to find if your new to New York and despite the number of people no queues which is good. There are also lots of buses to the start line on race day, but try to book early, as I booked late and was one of the first to arrive so had a pretty cold 4 hour wait!!
Throughout the race there are water and energy drink stations at every mile. Another great feature is they team up with UPS. You can take one bag of belongings to the start line and by the time you have finished you can collect at end from one of the truck. Great for warm clothes and supplies.
The immediate post-race is a bit chaotic. You finish in central park on a small path not designed to cope with the numbers, quite a contrast to the roads you’ve been running on. Bottle Neck is an understatement. Also everyone stops as they go over the line and there is a massive queue to collect your medal. First aid is brilliant though as you’d expect at this kind of event. The UPS collection is very simple, yet it was still about 30mins of very compacted walking down this path before you get out. But once you’re on the subway there aren’t many better places to start celebrating your achievement.
What’s the course like?
I may be a little bias as my first marathon, but the course is superb as you cut through the heart of the city. You run through all 5 Boroughs of New York including a number of bridges. There is a great view in the first mile as you run over the 2 mile long Staten Island Bridge with a view of Manhattan in the distance. You then run through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Bronx.
The first mile or so on the bridge is amazing as you comprehend what you are undertaking. Then as soon as you get on the freeway in Brooklyn the crowds starts. Right from the word go the crowd is AMAZING, and I probably wouldn’t have completed if it wasn’t for them. New Yorkers are so enthusiastic for the runners and really show their support. As the course cuts through a lot of residential areas people line the streets in support and play music. I thought the support couldn’t get much better until I ran into Manhattan after 14/15miles and was hit by a wall of noise from the 5th avenue crowd.
How difficult is New York City Marathon?
Compared to the other big city marathons, New York is quite hilly. The rumour goes if you run New York and London at the same speed you’ll do London 30mins quicker. There are quite a few bridges to watch out for and the killer 3 mile hill around mile 22 to 25 as you come back into Manhattan. Probably the longest and steepest hill of the track, also where Paula Radcliff lost it. Might be worth noting that there are some very long straights which some people find dull, however there is so much to look at so it doesn’t get boring. How hard do you think this race is? Vote in our poll below.
What is there to do Après Race?
It’s New York City – get your medal on and get out there! Beer pong in a student bar is a particular treat!
My Race Diary
Time – Between Puff Daddy and Kevin Spacey