Race: TCS NYC Marathon

Runner: Austin Meyers

Race Date: 11/07/2021

Location: New York City, New York

Results: 3:12:54 (PR!)

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6226337150

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

  • The course: The route is awesome. It starts on Staten Island and takes you through all 5 boroughs of New York City. I’ve been to the city numerous times for work as well as pleasure, and the race took me through neighborhoods I hadn’t seen before.
  • The prestige: One of 7 World Marathon Majors. An opportunity to run in the same race as Olympic Medalists and World Record Holders. In a non-COVID year this is usually one of the largest races in the world with 50k+ runners, including the best runners from across the globe.
  • The people: The only portion of the race where people weren’t lined up on the sidewalk screaming was on the bridges. The entire city comes out to scream and cheer on the runners, its an atmosphere I haven’t experienced anywhere else.

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

  • The course is hard towards the end! I wasn’t expecting the last few miles down 5th Avenue (uphill) to be as hard as they were, but my legs were zapped. And through Central Park, the winding and rolling hills got really hard for me. That’s more of a reflection on my state at that point than it is on the race.
  • The waved starts were further apart this year, and I ended up running a lot of miles basically by myself. In smaller races I have been running the same pace as any number of folks and had the chance to chat during the early miles and work together. In this race I started with a big group but after mile 1 I was running pretty much solo. Then in the final 5k the course filled up with slow runners from previous waves, and I was fighting through people to reach the finish.
  • Getting to the start sucked also. I had to get on a bus at 5:15am, only to sit on a sidewalk on Staten Island for over 3 hours. They could handle this a little better, I wish I had a chance to get more sleep and maybe stay warm.

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

No one pees off of the Verrazzano Bridge, contrary to all the rumors. Trying to spectate the Central Park section is really hard, the whole park is fenced off.

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

Fueling went really well during the race for me. I was drinking water as frequently as I could, up until the 20mi mark, and taking a gel every 4-5mi. I was also able to keep a reign on my effort for the first 20mi, which left me with the legs to push the final 10k.

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

Don’t underestimate the final 3-4 miles of this course! The hills look tame on any other day, but after running 22+ miles they are a real challenge to push through.
It would be really easy to push yourself too hard in the first half of the race. Keep your body in check and wait until you are running on 5th Avenue to dig into your reserves.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

If you like cities, it definitely is pretty.

NYC Marathon Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Moderately tough. The difficulty comes in the last 5-8k which only adds to the fatigue you’re feeling at that point.

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

Well organized for sure.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Arguably the strongest field in marathoning

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.

There are lots of ways to get into this race; time qualifying, through the New York Road Runners organization, through charity, etc. Travel and hotel accommodations are simple enough, but can cost you if you wait until too close to race day.

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

Pretty standard aid stations. You can get water and gatorade every 2-3k.

NYC Weather and typical race conditions

This years race conditions were perfect! Sunny sky with cool air, little wind, no rain. It’s November in NYC so it can be cold. I’ve heard horror stories of the freezing rain in other years. More often than not it seems to be perfect fall running weather.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It is generally spectator friendly. Trying to get into Central Park for the last 5k takes time and effort. Other parts of the course are very easy to spectate.

How’s the Swag?

Swag is standard, a technical T and a medal.

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

8/10

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