Runner Emily reviews her experience of the NYC Marathon in 2016. Read on for her advice on hills, booking your hotel, and more!
Race: NYC Marathon – http://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/
Runner: Emily M
Location: New York City
Results – 4:50:24 (PR)
3 Bests – What aspects of the NYC Marathon did you like the most?
- The spectators were amazing!
- Very well organized
- The course itself was really nice! You got to run through so many different areas and never repeated a section
Not so much – What aspects of the NYC Marathon didn’t work for you?
It was a lot hillier then I expected and it was a long walk out of the chute. Early start to get to the bus (5:45am), but a long wait until the actual race (10:40am)
Also, the expo was nice but packed! I didn’t get my shirt size that I wanted because I got there on Saturday afternoon but it still worked out fine
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the NYC Marathon?
Some of the spectator signs were pretty weird but kept me preoccupied which was nice
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I stayed steady and never really felt like I hit “the wall”. I finished slower than I wanted to but I think that was because the NYC marathon course was so hilly. I trained for the bridges but my knees started to hurt around mile 16 so I walked at the water stops after that.
After the Queensboro Bridge, runners were dropping like flies. I actually stopped to help a man that fell to his knees, holding his chest and saying he was weak. Another runner helped me get him safely to a medic and then we kept going. I put this as a highlight because it felt good helping a fellow runner in need (I just hope he was ok!). The medics were everywhere and moved quickly.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the NYC Marathon to help the next runner
Opt for the race poncho instead of bag check for after the race. It’s a long walk either way but shorter if you get the poncho (it’s a nice fabric one that you can keep!)
If you can get there on Thursday or Friday, I highly recommend it. We didn’t get there until Saturday and it felt like everything moved so quickly
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Fundraising is hard!! I’m proud of what I did and it was really fun to have people yelling “Go St. Jude!”, though.
Most important course-specific knowledge to know about the NYC Marathon
You have to pick transportation to the starting line so try to pick a hotel that is close to a subway if nothing else. It’s a 60-90 min bus ride or there are other options as well.
Watch for aid stations! They put several right after mile markers and people just randomly stopped so you have to pay close attention
Mile 23 is rough!! Continuous incline which felt like it took forever!
Aesthetics – is the NYC Marathon a pretty course?
Portions were pretty. I loved finishing in Central Park! Running over the Verrazano Bridge and getting to see the city was awesome!
Difficulty – is the NYC Marathon a tough course?
I’m not used to hills so it was challenging for me. None were really that steep so if you’re used to hills then you’ll probably be just fine.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Extremely well run. The app kept runners and spectators in the loop and made things very easy from start to finish
Competition – is there a strong field?
I’m guessing so.
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.
The NYC Marathon requires you to qualify by time, get in from the lottery, or fundraise for a charity to enter. I didn’t get in from the lottery so I chose to fundraise and run for St. Jude. It was a lot of work raising money but the experience was something I’ll never forget! I booked my hotel fairly early and took the train in from Philadelphia. We were within a few blocks of pretty much everything-subway, expo, Times Square-so it was easy to get around throughout the weekend.
How were the aid stations?
More than enough!
Weather and typical race conditions
My NYC Marathon race-day was 50s, sunny, a little bit of wind but not too bad. My ideal racing conditions
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
The security is pretty strict so make sure to read all the rules. I had my headphones and a regular belt to hold my phone but that’s it. You can’t have any sort of camelback/backpack while running but regular hydration belts are fine. With all the aid stations, I opted not to carry the extra weight. They give you a clear plastic bag at the expo for race morning but won’t let you take anything else in once you get to Staten Island to the Start.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends?
My friends/family saw me 3 times. They took the Subway and said it wasn’t bad. You have to pay for a VIP pass to see the finish so no one was there to see me cross the line which kind of sucked. There were still plenty of spectators and volunteers at the end, though
How were the awards/SWAG?
A really nice medal!!
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give the NYC Marathon and do you recommend that others run it
I highly recommend this race! It’s expensive but totally worth the experience in my opinion. The volunteers and spectators really helped to make it a great race!