Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon Race Report – Devora Courtney

Race: Fred Lebow Manhattan Half

Runner: Devora Courtney

Race Date: 01/22/2023

Location: Central Park, NYC

Results: 1:57:52

Strava Activity Link:

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. It’s close to home (I live in the Bronx) and easy to get to.
  2. It’s hilly, but there is a considerable amount of down to balance the up.
  3. It’s a nice size (5,000) runners and pretty park scenery.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

3 times up Harlem Hill is cruelty to runners (it used to be 2…they adjusted the course).

I don’t love races that are out and back or double loops. I like running from point A to point B with no repeats.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

January. January is the weirdest thing about this race. Weather is unpredictable.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I’ve run this race a total of three times: 2018 (2:02:25 – second half ever and a 4 minute PR but not a sub 2), 2022 (2:07 – I went out too fast, was overtrained, and completely mentally and physically imploded. It set me back quite a bit and was a big impetus for me hiring a coach in the months after). This was an awful race I was really anxious about it happening again and was so happy to have run this well with an even effort thanks to Coach Gilpatrick!

What I did well: I started one corral back and went out with a slower pace team so I wouldn’t blow up mid-race. I ran an even effort for the entire race.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

The first Harlem Hill is Mile 1. Start slower than you think you need to. It will be easier to pick up speed on the downhills after Mile 2 but if you go out too quickly you will gas out at the mid – race Harlem Hill lap.

Mentally chunk the race. I hate loops so I broke the race down into 2-3 mile segments to focus on at a time. This helped me keep going even when I got “bored” or wanted to stop.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Don’t take a quick walk so close to the end (last Harlem Hill). I still was well within my goal time but need to work on giving more at the finish.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There are some rolling hills right after Harlem Hill that are challenging because they are slow and gradual inclines. Harlem Hill is the “big hill” but these subsequent hills creep up on you as well. Keep your effort up Harlem Hill and these hills similar (about two miles). Your body will thank you.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?


Difficulty – Is it a tough course?


Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

NYRR races are always well – run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Didn’t pay attention.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

NYRR races tend to sell out. This one is usually available through early – mid December but you can’t just show up on race day.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Classic water/gatorade. There is a gel station but I bring my own. The gatorade came in handy when I reached for my second gel at Mile 9 and realized it had fallen out of my pocket. A few sips at the next aid station carried me through.

Weather and typical race conditions

Climate change is real and January is erratic in NYC. This year the conditions were PERFECT! 35 at the start and overcast skies.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner

Nothing out of the ordinary.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes. It’s not a crowded race so you can really spectate anywhere on the course.

How’s the Swag?

I love beanies and I run in them all the time in the winter. I don’t really care about medals but am happy to accept one always.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4/5 stars. It is overall a challenging course and when you run it well, you will feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. The 4 stars are due to difficulty of the course (3 Harlem Hills is just mean) and unpredictability of the weather. It also took me a long time to sub – 2 this race. Everything else is great!