New York City Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Info!

You know the “don’t wear anything new on race day” and all the basics… now, let’s do the New York City Marathon as right as we can. I’ve done this race every year since 2008 (minus 2012 of course…!!) and I can see how logistically heavy it is for someone from out of town or doing it as thefir first marathon. So, here we go! Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments section below. I promise I will answer. Also, at the end, you’ll find a list of free race week events to attend (updated everyday)nyc marathon medal


Make a marathon packing list (even if you’re not traveling) and sort it all by stages, here is my Marathon Packing List to start with. Get everything in the list ready as soon as possible. I’d start one month out with this.

The expo is big (probably the biggest one in the US after Boston!), so please bring some patience, credit cards/cash (there WILL be a few things you’ll want), and comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to bring your confirmation form and photo identification. Don’t wear the marathon-shirt before the race (come on!!!). Note: running stores all over the city have amazing gear and discounts too (organized list HERE), and if you can wait, a lot of the official gear will be half off in the nyrr’s website by January! Also, if you have time for fun, here is a list of all the Free Events to do on race week (this will be updated on the minute for 2017, bookmark it).

Set your clock back on Saturday night, the night before the race. If you use a smart phone like 99% of the population, you’ll be fine. If you set your Garmin, it will update automatically too. Sleep! Also, no worries if you don’t sleep Saturday night (no one does) but make it a point to go to bed early all week, mostly Thursday and Friday.

As you know, in NYC races, in some parts of the city, the GPS can go haywire and then you’ll think you’re doing 4 minute miles, or 17mm!!! GPS can be sporadic in some spots (like in the Verrazano, if you’re in the green corral, or the Queensboro, or crowded areas like First/Fifth Ave, or Central Park). So I set my GPS to manual lapping. Basically, I lap a mile every time every time I see the Mile Marker, and I know exactly how long that last mile took. You don’t have to do this, but at least keep in mind that some miles might be “shorter/longer” than others (actually, if you set your Garmin to lap a mile at 1.01 that matches the mile markers quite well, when the GPS is accurate).

The night (or week) before, watch Run For Your Life, for inspiration. Best movie about the NYC marathon. I weep like a baby every time. Hail to the Fred!!!

Bring a lot of cheap or throwaway clothes to the start, you WILL need them. Find a mylar blanket from your last marathon (and don’t throw away the blanket or poncho you’ll get at the finish here!). You will cherish them until the last minute in the corral (I wear one as pants with tape and one as a cape). I wear my throwaway cardigan or a sweater (cut in the front for easy peeling while running, kept it in place with a safety pin!) during the first mile too! Go to the dollar store and get knee-high socks, cut the toes part and you’ll have throwaway arm warmers! I keep half of it on until Mile 3, it can be windy on the bridge, mostly if you are on top (blue or orange waves). Don’t worry about looking like a weirdo, everyone will look like that!!! Or they’ll wish they did. Really: pile it up!!!

new york city marathon 2014 pictures start (2)

Gear/What to wearusually, the marathon is in the 40s or 50s (the average temp historically is 54). If you’re not checking a bag, layer with things you’ll be happy throwing away. My rule is if it’s over 40, I do short sleeve/singlet and shorts. But depending on the wind/humidity/lack of sleep/whatever you can add a hat, arm sleeves, etc. Always wear things you can get rid of easily and won’t miss. Be smart, and make sure you can peel off layers comfortably. Even in 2014, with the marathornado, I didn’t need extra. I had leg warmers and hated them, I was so hot. Make sure you can peel the layers easily and throw them out if you are not sure and bring too much, ok? If you don’t carry your phone, at least carry a $20 bill, a metrocard, a credit card, and an ID with you, just in case. Better ready than sorry.

Ferry/Bus Transportation, NYRR will assign you a specific transportation or you might have picked one when you claimed your spot (DECIDING ON FERRY OR BUS? GO HERE) There is a reason why you have to get on your bus/ferry a bunch of hours early, I promise it makes sense.Your transportation would usually be 3 or 4 hours before your wave start. This leaves ample time to get everything done, even a long line at the portapotty. This is the breakdown of what would occasionally happen on race morning if you chose the ferry, for example:

7:00 am ferry, takes 25 minutes to get to Staten Island. Get some pictures of the Green Lady, you’ll love the ferry ride.

7:30 am. You are in Staten Island!! When I land on the Staten Island side, I usually like to go to the bathrooms IN the terminal, they’re WARM, then just follow the crowds out of the ferry, you’ll do a right and a left, walk outside, do a block or two, and board the buses to the Athlete’s village, it can be 10 or 20 minutes, let’s assume 30 for traffic so you don’t stress.

8:00 am. You get to the village. Go straight to the UPS truck to leave your bag if you have one, trucks “close” about an hour before your corral closes so get there first. This timing is different for all so check your timeline. Walk to your corral (green/blue/orange).

8:30 Find a portapottie line in your corral, you’ll need at least 30 mins to pee. Lines can be long. if you want to grab a banana, tea, coffee, etc., pick that up before the line and eat in line.

9:00 get to your corral, sometimes they are hard to find so don’t wait until the last minute. They close 40 minutes before your start. In there you can finish your nutrition, rearrange your gear, all that.

Athlete’s Village. It’s HUGE. If you’re planning to meet up with people there, you’ll need a plan. Tell them to wait right off the entrance or maybe at a particular UPS truck, or have a cell phone with you. Did I mention it’s huge? There’s not much cover from the elements but you’ll find food and drinks (bagels and coffee and Gatorade and bananas and tea and stuff!). Head up to your village and camp close to your corral, and pay attention to the instructions. You do not want to be looking for your corral or getting to it as the wave deadline is done. I’ve been locked out of my corral TWO times just because I was socializing and not paying attention, even though I got there early… If you checked the marathon packing list, you are dressed warmly, have food, water, toilet paper, etc, so set up next to your corral. If you are going with a friend, and you are in different starts (colors), you might have to separate here.; unless you decide to run together. If that is the case, you can both start in the corral of the highest bib number.

What the Athlete’s Village looks like: it’s big -and hard to meet up with someone. And we all look like weirdos!

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Write your name on your shirt. If you don’t want your name, write something funny you’ll want people to scream to you all over the course (Speedy? SuperMan?). It will make your race 100 times better. If you don’t want to ruin your gear, cut the letters out of duct tape (like I do!) and voila, they’ll peel right off before you wash your shirt.

Headphones? If you are used to racing with headphones, no need to stress about this. I like to keep them around, and turn them on only when necessary. Sometimes I need a distraction, and though the crowds will carry you through everything, you might need an extra oomph, like on the quiet Queensboro bridge, though I’ve learned to crave that moment alone in the bridge. If you’re in pain or need to recalibrate your pace and need quiet time, you can move to the middle of the street where you won’t be engaging with people. Big disclaimer: the spectators ARE the marathon, and if you use your music you will miss out on a lot. A lot, a lot. A LOT. They can push you so much more than your music could, so use that energy up. You’ll have tons more fun than you expected if you get lost in the crowds cheering. And no one will let you slow down or walk here! Disclaimer 2: if the music is on, make sure you can still hear what is happening around you, people might need to pass you or stuff like that. There are athletes with disabilities on the course, or any kind of stuff happening so you have to keep all your senses peeled. Be alert, cautious, and really really really careful!!!! Be in the moment, don’t miss out or space out.

Place your spectators in spots where you’ll need them. I usually set 4 spots. One in Brooklyn around mile 5 or 9, and then really high on First Avenue, past 118 where the crowds thin out, so then they can cross over to 5th avenue, the third spot, and see you again and then zip over to the finish line (4th spot!)! Know exactly on what side of the street they’ll be so YOU can spot them (they won’t be able to spot you!). Send them with something big: a flag, a sign, balloons, huge funny hat, etc. Here is a great tool that estimates where/when they can see you and all the train stops close by! Tell them to get comfy shoes, really warm clothes and to bring food. It will be a long day for them too!

You will need/love the extra push, so ask for help!! FORCE all your friends to come watch you. Send an email a week before and ask them “where are you going to be?” or/and use the tool above to see where is easier for them to get to. Then tell them a time you’ll go through there, give or take 10 minutes, and decide if they’ll be runner’s Left or Right. Then make a little-tiny list you can carry in your pocket (Example: 74th st, John, left / 32nd st, Mike, right, etc.) in order of appearance, put clear tape all over it so it won’t get sweaty and basically go from John, to Mike, to etc… Let them pull you along the course and that’ll break the course in parts, instead of think “AH, I gotta go 26.2, ugh” you’ll think: “I am just going to 74th, to see John!Use the sheet, so your fans can find you easily.

Get yourself a course specific pace bracelet, this one is the BEST! It’ll adjust your pace per mile, given the uphills and downhills. And it has way more information than you could ever need. Hill info, spectator info, Plus, you can set it for your particular racing style: negative vs positive splits, big or small fade, etc.

Plan your nutrition way ahead. For the race: try to practice in training with what they’ll have at the race: water, yellow Gatorade and Powerbar Gels (water and G at every Mile and Gels at Mile 18). You can buy gels at the expo if necessary. But for race morning, get bagels/oatmeal and whatever you need the day before as there will not be a lot of delis open at 4/6 am.

If you need to move around the days before the race, go to Central Park. You’ll see many of your race-buddies and get to enjoy the best place in the world as a runner. There’s a 5K early on Saturday, go watch/cheer if you can. The parade of Nations and fireworks Friday night are fun too to get in the marathon weekend spirit.

Find a mantra, or two, you might really need them. I write them in my hand where I am sure I will see it.

The race course WILL be crowded, so PLEASE, if you need to stop for a walk or move over to another lane for water, please please please signal with your arms, and look around behind you before you make any moves. Also put your hand up when you are slowing down if you have someone slowing down ahead of you. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, DO NOT just stop or go sideways. Be considerate of your fellow runners who trained hard and could trip and lose their dream race! On the other hand, you’ll always have someone to run with, pace off, or follow when you’re tired. Pick them up when you feel strong, encourage them when they need it, and keep your eyes peeled for anyone who might need help!!!!

If you are in the GREEN corral and you’re scared you’ll be peed on…  don’t! That is just a myth. IF (BIG IF) there is someone peeing on top of the bridge, you’d only feel it if you’re in the outside of the crowd, and if the wind is going in your direction. I’ve been green twice before and saw/felt nothing. I’ve also been on top a few times and didn’t see people peeing. The odds that you get peed on are about 0.0003. Okay? If you’re scared, just stay in the middle, with the bridge right over you. Ok?


I am gonna break the race in parts, so you will know how to tackle each segment. Device a plan and stick to it no matter what. A smart plan is to aim for even effort. Still, I always go for negative splits, as hard as that seems in this course that has many uphills/bridges in the second half. If you keep it strong and conservative throughout the race, it is possible. I am an average runner and have negative split in all my NYCMs but my first. Ask Bart Yasso and he’ll tell you: “NYC for sure is a 100 % negative split course. Hold back in those early miles and it will pay off later in the race.”

If you are still not sure, check a few of my NYCMs. Again, I am just an average runner! Check how the faster I went through the 13.1 mark, the slower my marathon was! This is quite telling… Check 2009 and 2010 where I only PRed by 3 minutes. Check how in 2010, I started a LOT slower… my first 5K was 1:30 slower! By 13.1 I was FOUR minutes behind… and I still ended up PRing by 3 minutes… Unbelievable, right? It happens! (you can also see how this starting-slow works at the end of this post)

2013 New York City Marathon Negative Splits

Basically: You have to believe in yourself.

Onto the race parts then!

2013 New York City Marathon Elevation Profile

Mile 1-2. The Verrazano: what goes up, must come down

Tricky tricky part if we have to pick just one… the anxiety, fun ahead, the cold, the thousands of runners around you, it’s almost impossible to not let yourself get swept away in this wave of excitement and start too fast!! Well: STOP IT! Force yourself to go slow with everything you have. You will be tempted to match everyone around you, resist with all you can. Let people GO. I promise you: sooner or later, they will come back to you. They will. LET. THEM. GO. Enjoy the excitement of the first 2 miles, and relax. If it feels annoyingly slow, you are doing it right. If it’s crowded, DO NOT WEAVE. They’re doing you a favor by keeping you tied up, relax. The biggest mistake most people make is going too fast on mile one and as soon as they get off the Verrazano, they’re done. Toast. Don’t be one of them! Mile 2, you will be forced to speed down the bridge, you will feel tempted to roll with it (and everyone around you), and pass people. Remember: hold your horses a bit. If you start too fast, your race is ruined. The first two miles should feel easy, on the hard uphill (3% grade for 8/10 of a mile) and easy on the downhill (3.4% grade for a whole mile).

Mile 1 should be about 1:30 over your avg pace, and Mile 2 will be your fastest, 20 seconds under pace.

Just remember this: Bank = Bonk! Mile 3 is when the race starts. The main goal is to get to Mile 17 feeling as if you hadn’t started the race yet.

And one more thing that applies to the whole course. It will be crowded and you’ll notice the stream of runners going around obstacles (curbs, signs, markers) in the middle of the road. You’ll really have to pay attention, look ahead, at least for the whole Brooklyn section (with the curb in the middle of 4th avenue) and First Avenue, or you can easily hit something and go down. When you run on the sides to be close to the crowds, you are more likely to have gutter/drain cover/footing issues. It’s not lethal but be aware that there’s a trade-off if you want to see the crowds.

Miles 3-15. Brooklyn: the 4th Avenue Party

Your goal for the first half of the race is to get to the Queensboro in one piece, feeling strong to climb over the bridge and to get yourself in the city in fighting shape. Exercise all your patience here and keep yourself in good check to not let yourself go. If you are running comfortable, you are doing it right.

Miles 3 to 8 will be easy and flat, this is when you save your energy, you are definitely going to need it later. There is a little hill at 8.5 and the Pulaski Bridge right at the halfway mark which might seem like a mountain if this is your first time. The climb is a 4.3% grade for about a quarter mile. Slow down and go for even effort and not even pace on the bridges for now. It’s not the time to break out your sword.

There will be water/Gatorade in every single mile, so if you miss one, don’t stress. Don’t go for the first table as everyone will do that. There are many tables, go to the last one. Portapotties are also at every mile so keep an eye out and don’t dart sideways!

Mile 3 to 15, should be at your avg goal pace or maybe 5 to 10 seconds faster than avg goal pace. Remember bank =  bonk

Mile 16. THE Almighty Queensboro/Ed Koch Bridge: this part is for YOU

The Queensboro is quiet. Savor this you-time while doing a whole body systems check. Focus on the sound of the footsteps or take out the music if you prefer. This will be the quietest time of the whole race and it’s a long bridge… I like to embrace the solitude of this mile, savor it and prepare for what’s ahead. Back down on the pace a bit so you can get to the top of the bridge with enough strength to take on the downhill! The climb (3.4% grade for a mile) is way longer than the downhill, which is steeper (half a mile at 4.3% grade). Rolling down the 59th st bridge onto First Avenue is surely the most exciting moment in the whole race (well, at least to a lot of us), and maybe, in all marathoning. Get ready.

Mile 16: around 20 seconds over avg goal pace

Mile 17 to 19. First Avenue: Hello New York City

First Avenue is where a win is made or lost. Many elite runners broke their strategy here and paid hard for it. Don’t get taken by the really loud crowds. Keep in mind there are still a few bridges and long uphills ahead of you. The marathon will start taking its toll on you at mile 20 and we are not there yet. AT ALL!!

Plan to set on a steady pace here so you can start making up some time. Do not force a lot of speed, and if the crowds are getting you too excited, make sure you hold back. Move to the sides if you need cheering or to the middle of the road if you have to focus. Cautiously break out your fourth gear and start focusing on the goal. If you have followed a smart strategy up to here, you should be right on goal pace by Mile 20, or maybe 30 seconds behind (which is always a LOT better than 2 minutes fast!). Gels will be around Mile 18, so start checking if you need one for the last miles, and think what color/flavor you like so you’ll be ready to grab it!

Mile 17 will be about 30 seconds under avg goal pace, M18 will be a bit slower, about 10 seconds over avg goal pace and by M19 you should be back on avg goal pace

Mile 20 to 23. The Bronx/Harlem Experience: there is NO Wall (without graffiti!)

This is when you will use up your training and start working hard… and it will get REAL HARD fast. Not only you’re hitting twenty, but there will be a few bridges and in some areas, the crowds will be thin. Dig deep and stay focused on your pace, ease up on the uphills and bridges but make sure you don’t get too distracted or discouraged. This is a really nice stretch to start pushing the pace when you can. Just focus on getting back into the city in one piece to face mile 24. Once on Fifth Avenue, focus on getting to 110th st, where Central Park starts! If you see trees ahead, keep in mind the Marcus Garvey Memorial Park will intersect the course on 125th, and then you’ll be back on 5th ave.

Mile 20 to 23 should be right on avg goal pace or maybe about 5 seconds under

Mile 24. Fifth Avenue, the ninja hill.

Fifth Avenue will provide you a long straight stretch, so rare in this race… It is going to hurt, there’s a long uphill of 0.90 of a mile at about 2.5% grade (you won’t even see it coming!), and you’ll be tired. Use your mantra here. There will be enough spectators to help but this is when you have to start digging deep and see how many gears you have left. Keep in mind you might not notice the uphill at first so don’t go all out crazy just yet but keep focusing on the finish line pulling you. Don’t let it win!

Once you have the park on your right, at 110th st, focus on getting to the entrance to the park, just one mile away at 90th st. Fred Lebow won’t be there to salute you as always, so all you can do is catch up to ALL those people who went out too fast at mile one and two, you’ll spot them easily. Sad but sure. Pick a bright target 20 feet ahead and don’t let them go. One at a time!

Mile 24 will be slow: about 20/30 seconds slower than average goal pace

Mile 25 to 26.2 Central Park

Once you make that right into the park, you just have just about 2.3 miles to go, all undulating with steep/short ups and downs.

If you did things right, you will pick up a LOT of people in this stretch. A LOT. A LOT LOT. Undulating hills all the way to the uphill finish, you’ll be able to change biomechanics so often that you won’t be too set on one form, which is great. Find your fifth gear and ram it home. Enjoy those last two miles, they go by fast and you’ll be stopping soon so USE ALL YOU HAVE LEFT!

There is a looong 3-avenue stretch up Central Park South (5th ave to 8th ave with 3.3% uphill grade) that seems to last forever though it’s  just a half mile…. focus on the Columbus Circle towers at the far end. Make sure your bib is visible, very important here. The hill at the finish is the steepest of the whole race (very short, but almost 5.5% grade!) so just ride it as hard you can, as long as you can still finish with a smile!

Mile 25 should be a few seconds under average goal pace and M26 maybe 5 seconds over average goal pace. The last point2 will be slower, about 20/30 seconds slower than average goal pace.

Pose for the finish picture!!! Smile, arms up, you got this. DO NOT HAVE A FINISH LINE PICTURE OF YOU PAUSING A WATCH, I warn you!!!!! We have official results, ok? Stop your watch a few seconds befor or after the finish, just not there.

That’s it, you’re home. The most famous finish line in the world. Cry if you want (I always do!). You can stop now. Just make sure you don’t stop right at the clock, or there’ll be a human pile on top of you 😉

Plan on it taking a LONG time between finishing and exiting to find your friends/family – 30-60 minutes. It’s crowded, there might a line at your truck, and you will be moving slowly even if your body is capable of moving more quickly.


Walk, get your medal, take pictures, get your stuff or your poncho, meet your friends, get drinks and clothes on, eat, enjoy, celebrate, stretch, ice bath, rest, eat more, sleeeeeep! Go to the finish line store early Monday morning at the Pavillion, tell everyone about your race, eat some more, walk around, get your medal engraved, buy get some finisher’s gear,  wear the medal on Monday if you are a tourist or if this is your first mary, go downstairs backwards, have a congratulatory donut, look for your name in the NY Times on Monday, tell people you won’t act crazy anymore and won’t be doing another one of these ever. Sign up for another marathon right away and celebrate some more. Celebrate the whole week if you want. You earned it. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done this race, or any, finishing NYCM is always amazing. I dare you to not cry once. This marathon is our victory lap through the city, after all our training. ENJOY YOURSELF.

tcs new york city marathon expo medal pictures course mutai under armour arciniaga macca switzer (31)

Questions?? Anything to add? Anything you want to go over? Comment below (it’s a lot faster than me replying to an email, trust me!)

2017 TCS New York City Marathon: race week events! 

My Race Reports with tons of pictures and more info:

2014 TCS New York City Marathon: #marathornado

2014 EXPO pictures here

My 2013 New York City Marathon Race, PART 1

NYCM2011: Get Ready, Set, GO! (at the start)

NYCM RR 2010: Running Free

Apparently, I didn’t bother writing one in 2008 and 2009!

The official New York City Marathon Course Map.  More info on their course page, including a video of the course.

Love this: Toby’s Essential Last Minute Tips for NYCM


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269 thoughts on “New York City Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Info!

  1. I’ve been toying with the idea of making the jump to the marathon for a while now – this article is darn convincing! I’m going to have to keep an eye out for the lottery this year…


  2. You said it all. While I was reading, I was thinking, “The hill on 5th Ave is sneaky, and the sun will be right in your eyes!” but then you went ahead and said that, too. You thought of everything.

    Thanks for posting this; it made me feel like I was running the course.


  3. (you only wear the medal on Monday if you are a tourist!),
    sorry but that is wrong. After 10 years of doing this race I always wear it the next day under my work clothes


  4. Liz, I LOVE this post. I printed the whole thing out and I’m going to use it as my official guide. I’m mad scared about the negative splits part. I know it works, but it is psychologically tough. What I can promise you right now is that I will go mad slow for the first two miles and that I will force myself to keep my pace on first avenue. PS: I’m gonna make sure I’ll remember to buy waterproof mascara, as you already know I’ll be a crying baby (as per usual) by the end.


  5. Weird question, but my friend and I are both running this and we’re in Green wave, which apparently goes on the lower level of the Verrazano, and she’s warned me about some peeing tradition that happens?? Is that true???


  6. Me encantó tu post. Te respondo en español … Correré el día 3 y seguro que aprovecharé muchos de tus tips. Mi PB es 3:39 y me pusieron en la 1ª wave con lo que creo que seré el más lento y correré, como decimos en España, más solo que la una … Mi idea es 1:47 en el half e intentar ir más rápido en la segunda parte si dan las fuerzas. Será mi 4º maratón y en los dos últimos hice el mismo tiempo en los dos splits… We will see if it Works …. Thank you.


  7. Thanks for all the great tips and the extra knowledge about the course, especially 5th avenue. My training and goal for NYC has been to negative split and I jokingly tell my friends that the only thing I will be saying once it starts is 9 minute first mile, 9 minute first mile even though my goal requires a much faster average pace. I was placed in the green wave so I am a little bummed to hear its not on the top level but if that means less wind…then AWESOME. Also, fantastic tip about being ok with being bunched up in the first mile, I usually try and get to the outsides in races but now I think I will stick with the pack! THANKS for writing this.


    • Thank you, so sweet. Glad you found it useful. Green is usually a lot less windy, so you’ll be fine. and let the crowds restrain you…did you see my splits? it’s very possible to neg split IF you race smart. Maybe that’s the mantra you should write in your hand “race smart” 😉


  8. Oh my gosh, just reading this blog post got me teary about crossing the finish line! I am going to be a mess on race day. Also, the course specific race bracelets just changed my life! THANK YOU!


  9. You covered everything, including 59th street bridge and last big hill on 5th Ave. That gets many people. I That’s my mantra right now. I have run this course in my head so many times and everything you said is so spot on! Thanks. I am with Dave, Nov 3rd can’t come soon enough!


  10. this was an excellent post, thank you! for runners not familiar with NYC or new to large races with tons of spectators this pt can’t be taken for granted

    ‘Send them with something big: a flag, a sign, balloons, huge funny hat, etc.’

    I ran NYC 10 yrs ago and the group I planned to meet was supposed to be on the east side of 81st/1st Ave, where I lived at the time, but unfortunately they were not able to cross 1st ave and still be there in time so they looked for me from the west side of the avenue. So as I’m running up 1st Ave on the east side of the street I stop at 81st but don’t see them, disappointment :-(, it’s really a sea of humanity on 1st Ave until the 90’s/100’s, so ended up proceeding north after giving it a few minutes. However, on 82 St I see a friend who ran into my family and told me they were on the other side of 1st Ave. on 81st. Turned around, ran back to 81st (totally weird) and hung with the cheering section for a few mins the whole escapade probably took five mins. So be very specific if you plan to meet people, esp in the more crowded ares, and have something that you can look for. Have FUN!


    • yes, I should probably bold that area… i always tell them stuff like northwest corner, if that doesn’t work, keep going north…. (assuming I am going north -so i don’t have to come back!)… it has to be very precise!


  11. This will be my 7th marathon and yet this was still a fantastic post 🙂 I made it to NYC last year for the cancellation, so I am ready to do it this year!! I love your break down of the hills and the great reminder about that first hill because I know large crowds always make me weave as i try to find room. Good reminder to just relax and accept it.


  12. It that a picture of the actual finishers marathon for this year?
    If so it seems similar to the past 3 years style, thin wording in round edge, year in middle.
    At least this seems to include some skyline view.


  13. Wow, this is sooo helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just ran my first marathon here in Denver, CO on Sunday (Rock’n’roll series). Can’t wait to run NYC. I never thought about bringing my blanket from the Denver marathon for beforehand. Again, thank you for all of the local/expert advice.


  14. Great post. I ran NYCM08, NYCM10, and registered for NYCM14. Just can’t wait! (And i’m a (french) tourist and i wear my medal and my finisher hoodie on monday (and maybe on tuesday too…)


  15. In response to your comment – I dare you not to cry once….reading this brought tears to my eyes. I guess I lost the dare!!! So excited! NYC Marathon! My first marathon! CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!!!


    • So excited for you too!! NYCM was my first too and it was amazing. If you are like me, and do get emotional easily, remember you can’t race and cry efficiently… tell yourself you can cry all night starting when you cross the finish line!


    • I used to PR every year because NYCM is the only race I used to do… it depends on how hard your PR race was, or in what shape you’re in now. 4 hours? why 4 hours? Just get there 1.5 hours before your wave. the listing on what’s restricted is on the nyrr site.


  16. Merci pour les bisous, c’est très gentil !
    What would be your advices for post race meeting with friends and family, but outside the official family reunion area ? We used to meet on the Museum stairs but i see it’s a forbidden zone nowadays. Of course it’s a bit early for the 2014 race but in fact i’m in New York next week (unfortunatelay after the marathon) and i would like to do some spotting (or scouting). Thanks! And bisous!


    • well, we don’t know yet what the finish line area will look like for next year, but any random corner, with a Starbucks so they can wait indoor would do if they don’t want to be at the family reunion area…


  17. All these tips are fantastic! I’m running this in 2014 (my “rejected three times” bid matures then). This gives me a lot of insight on how to train for this race as well as how to actually run it.


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  20. This is a great post, one of the best NYC marathon reviews I’ve ever seen.
    It tackles a lot of the small but important questions on “how to” get ready and “how to” run the marathon.
    NYC Marathon will be my first marathon ever. I am from a very sunny and hot place (Guadalajara, Mexico) and I am wondering what should I wear for the marathon. I run my 10k and half marathon on a very very light short-sleeved dry-fit T-shirt, shorts and sunglasses.
    I am wondering if NYC gets cold and I should run on a long-sleeved T-shirt or what will I ultimately need to wear when running so I don’t get extra-hot but not freeze either. Any suggestions?


    • Hi J Esteban, gracias!!! Well… what to wear is such a uniquely personalized decision… it depends on how you adjust to the weather. Look at the pictures and you’ll see people in shorts and singlet and others in long tights and jackets… I think you need to start writing down winter temperatures and what you wore. I have, after some years, decided on this (For racing!!! for running it’s an extra layer!!!). Above 42, it’s singlet and shorts, Above 50 is just bra and shorts. Under 40… will depend on the wind! If you’re still not sure, wear layers that you’d be ok shedding during the race.


  21. Late to this party, but great post! Nov. 2013 was my first marathon and I couldn’t imagine a greater one than NYC. Born and raised in Queens but moved to San Diego in 1990. I didn’t become a runner until 2009 so returning to run through my hometown was an incredible, uplifting experience. I didn’t cry which is really surprising since I cry at *everything* but the thrill of crossing the finish line was unreal. I was supposed to run in 2012 and was in NY when it was cancelled. That was a crushing experience but I knew the minute they announced that I would re-train and be back the next year. Thanks for a fantastic column! Jealous you get to run in NY all the time.


  22. Do you have any recommendations on lodging for NYC marathon?
    Great tips! This will be my 5th marathon, but I am awful with logistics! Airbnb, certain areas to stay, or specific hotels? I will be traveling from DC.


      • Wouldn’t recommend airbnb for NYC – they are technically illegal and it can be a hot mess. Personal recommendation is book what you can afford now, make sure it’s fully refundable, and keep checking. I found last year some prices actually went down the two weeks before the race and I was able to switch to a lower rate within my same hotel. Like emaiuolo says, it really doesn’t matter where you stay – subways are fast and it’s easy to get around. Upper West Side, Times Square and Central Park South are all close to the finish line.


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  25. I was in NY for the cancelled 2012 race, but I am doing it this year 2014. So excited, and thanks for all the great info. I have been really nervous about all the bridges since I live in FL where it’s fairly flat. One note on hotels, I highly recommend going through Anthony Travel. They have really nice hotels for a great price! I made the mistake of finding my own hotel in Times Square area and paid $300 per night for a very small, no-fringe, old hotel. This time, I am paying slightly less to stay at Doubletree South, only 1/2 mile from Javits, 0.8 mile from library to catch bus, and 2 miles from the exit at finish at 77th. In my experience, prices went up and hotels fill up fast as race gets closer. However, The Muse offered a great Sunday night deal, so I’m sure other hotels do the same. 8 weeks to go for 2014!


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  27. Super super excited! I have lived in the area for 20 years but this will be my first NYC Marathon! I was going to ask you for a spectators’ guide but you’ve provided it already! I have a group of friends and relatives who want to come cheer which is funny because they never have been interested before but hey it’s NY! I am so nervous and excited, and it’s just a few weeks away!


  28. Excellent advices! I have a question, I was assigned to the bus that leaves from midtown at 6:00, I do not know yet at what time my wave start but I guess it is like 10 or more so I am wonder how to do with the food, do I have to take breakfast at 5 in the morning or wait until 7? I do not know if I can change my transportation to leave later.

    Do you recommend to take another pair of running shoes to be only in the waiting time? I read it may be wt the floor.



    • what do you usually do before long runs? how erly do you eat? if that works, do that, otherwise you have a few more weeks to practice eating a few hours earlier. I don’t eat before marathons so I don’t have to deal with that but most people eat their bagel/oatmeal or whatever at home and bring a banana or another bagel for the rest of the time.
      you can’t change the transportation, but you can always take the ferry. You can hop on any ferry and you’ll get there!!!
      floor might be wet, but not like puddles, just a bit of mist from the cold morning. I have never worried about that. You can bring two plastic bags to put on your shoes if you want, but I have seen people bring extra shoes. Just keep in mind the bag they give you is not that big.


  29. This will be my first time running NYCM. Coming from Texas. Been reading this every couple weeks for the last few months just to continue reinforcing the need to start slow! Appreciate the great tips! Can’t wait to get there.


  30. Bravo on your fantastic race recap and tips! I ran NYC for the first time in 2010 and was in the city in 2012 for the race when it got cancelled, so I’m back this year to try again.

    Last time I ate my pre-race dinner at a restaurant on UWS. Just wondering if you’ve ever gone to the official pre-race dinner. I’ve never gone to the opening ceremony or fireworks, but after reading your remarks, I’m thinking of going, and signing up for the dinner.

    I’d be interested to hear your feedback about the dinner and if it’s worth it or if I’d be better off
    finding a good meal at a local restaurant.

    Are you running this year?


  31. Felicitaciones, información muy detallada de la carrera!. el proximo 2 de nov será mi primera maraton y nada menos que en NY….


  32. Oh my goodness, this post is sooooo helpful and addressed a few of the NYCM logistics I’ve been concerned about! First, I know you mention that you can get on any ferry…do you know if the same is true for the buses and do they check if you were signed up for bus / ferry?

    Also, as far as meeting friends at the Athlete’s Village – was the cell phone service ok to use phones to coordinate meeting up or should we really try to pre-choose a location to meet? Thank you so much for this post – very helpful!


    • I am not sure about the buses, never taken the bus. choose the ferry, there’s bathrooms and you can meet up with friends on the other side, indoors!
      I think I never had issues with cell phone reception there.


  33. Such a great post! I ran NYCM last year and in 2011. I am scared to try any other marathon because this one is just amazing. I will be there this year as a spectator. Nice recap! Inspires me to write my own 🙂


  34. Great race recap!! Loved all the logistic and information about this huge event. This will be my first NYC marathon and I so excited. I do have a question about the ferry, you said you can take the ferry at any time they offer. They asked me to make a selection for transportation a few months ago and my ferry leaves at 6 am. So I can take a later one? I am planning on taking the subway to the ferry and I am kind of worry about the subway being super crowded or taking longer than expected. Do you have any info regarding that?

    Thanks again for all your information!


    • Alejandra, do not stress about transportation. Trains will be crowded with runners but never to the point where you can’t get it. good thing is everyone will be on the same boat as you! just hopstop it the day before so you’ll know the mta updates for that weekend and how long it’ll take. make sure you use hopstop or the mta trip planner.
      as for the ferries, also do not worry. Just head over to the terminal and you can hop on ANY ferry, later, earlier. if you get to the other side of the terminal too early, just hang in there as it’ll be warmer than the Athletes Village!


  35. Thank you so much. This is my first NYCM and I’m excited as I can be. I appreciate all of the tips. Hope to finish strong and have a blast. I’ve already cried just thinking about it. I love NYC!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. What a wonderful and inspiring write up. Thank you. I am running the NYC Marathon on Nov.2nd for the first time and even though this is not my first marathon ( this is actually my 3rd full marathon), I am nervous about the bridges and the elevations. My goal is 4:30 and I just ordered the pace bands through your recommended place ( mymarathonpace). My question is based on the recommended pace for each mile what if I have to walk some of the bridges or elevations ( I don’t plan on but based on the comments from others looks like people do struggle on the bridges), would I be able to compensate for the slow start later and still meet my goal? I am a lot more nervous this time than my first marathon…any advice?

    Liked by 1 person

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  39. Can you recommend a good spectator’s guide? This is my first NYCM and while we’re local (NJ) my husband HATES the city (HATES) so he’s thinking of taking the train from Tarrytown then taking the subway to wherever I tell him to go. I’m thinking of sending them over near the Q-boro bridge so they can see me around mile 16 then they can leisurely stroll over toward Columbus Circle and then to the family meeting area. Does that sound reasonable? Or is there something better? Logistics aren’t my strong point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • it’s really really crowded there and it’ll be tough for him to get a spot unless he gets there early, or is really pushy!!! I’d suggest having a big wig or flag or sign too. it’s VERY CROWDED. did you see the jack rabbit spectator sheet above, use that!!! Would he be ok on first in the 80s or 90s? then he can walk to 5th ave and see you again! after the 90s it is a lot better, it’s quieter and you’ll be able to spot him!


  40. With your bib, how strict are they? If you’ve already got it pinned to your shirt but have a jacket or sweatshirt over it and just lift the outer layer to show the bib are they cool with that or does it need to be fully visible the whole time you’re in the start area?

    Thanks again for the great article. Very,very helpful!


  41. Thanks for the info. I was also wondering how far it is from the Staten Island terminal to the race starting area. I.e. Do I need to take a bus or is it a short walk/run?


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  43. This article is amazing. You took me on a journey. I’m headed to NYC in 2015 and can’t wait to earn the pride you’ve described in this article!!


  44. Running the NYC 11-1-15 (also my first marathon). Thanks for a great article and terrific advice. It’s like I am a kid waiting for Christmas morning I am so excited!!


  45. hi,

    my marathon training has been so-so. i’ve been doing the mileage, but noticed i was more on pace last year. have you ever had a so-so/blah marathon training year and how did the marathon turn out then?


    • I’ve had many crappy training periods, and I am not gonna lie, the race hurt more than usual. This marathon in particular is quite hard so if you’re not ready, it’ll chew you up. What I would do, is, start super super easy and make sure you’re enjoying the race if you’re going for fun. If you try to push the pace earlier on, you might suffer a LOT more later. If you still want to try to go for time, then go on the conservative side, pace-wise, and make sure you have a really good week the whole 7 days of the marathon: run little, sleep a lot, hydrate like crazy, eat healthy, all of that really helps, no stress!!! Are you still going for time or you just want to make sure you finish in one piece?


      • I’m not injured, I followed my training plan for the most parts (except for certain specific paces I was supposed to hit), I usually do a negative split and I’ve done this particular marathon about 10 times but previously with not much of a strategy, so I’m going in with specific ideas in my head about what pace to start, where I’m supposed to be at HM and I’m usually faster in race mode than in training mode, so I owe it to myself to try. I’m on week 13 as of today, so I still have time to get myself “more prepared” since I still have 3 LR’s to do.


        • oh, then don’t stress. You have the course experience on your side!!! I think having a particular goal in your head can sometimes play against you because of the pressure you’re putting on yourself. You might be fine and even surprise yourself… it’s really hard to know what is going to happen (that’s the beauty of the marathon, how impredictable it can be) but as long as a solid strategy AND you stick to it come race day, you’ll be fine!


          • thank you. I tend to compare last season’s training to this year, so am getting apprehensive and worried. also, correcting myself, this is my 10th NYC marathon, but the bridges are always overwhelming. 🙂 Yes, you’re right, races are unpredictable.


  46. so maybe try to do a few more runs up and down hills to build confidence? are you racing before the nycm? that can also give a really good idea of where you are fitness-wise. Hopefully, no marathornado this year so there’s that leg up! 😉


  47. that’s actually my workout for tonight – focusing on form on the bridge. did the bronx 10 miler, but since i jogged 5 miles beforehand, i ended up doing it as training pace by accident. was not a good race, did it at training pace, so was not happy. my garmin was faster.


  48. Awesome information, thank you, extremely valuable for me as a first NYCM-runners and NYC visitor! TCNYCM 2015 will be my eight marathon but my first in New York and my first outside of Sweden where I live. Regarding transportation to the ferries, do you recommend grabbing a cab early in the morning to the terminal or is it easy from Midtown (230 E 51st St) to ger around with the subway? How long do think think the subway trip is? My PR is 2:50 but my goal in NYC is to run my 5th consecutive sub3hr-maraton and have fun meanwhile.

    I suspect I will be at the ferry terminal way too early 🙂 Thanks again/Kind regards,


    • You can catch a cab easily at that hour and be downtown maybe in 15-20 minutes from Midtown. With the train, it’ll be 30 minutes but check the schedule as they run on weekend schedule then (so, sporadic, maybe each 15 minutes depending on the line), just make sure you check the mta and plan the trip. DON’T GET to the Athlete’s Village too early. You’ll freeze for no reason, and waste calories, stay on the terminal!!!!!!


  49. I came across your great running blog and your tips for prepping for the NYC Marathon. Wonderful stuff for sure.

    I am a long time distance runner, 60 year old 28 marathons, 8 Bostons, but NYC never hit my radar. Well, I had a qualifying half marathon that allowed me to get into NYC and I took the leap. So, my wife and I will be trekking out to your wonderful city for a 5 day getaway from Michigan and are excited and of course a bit anxious. Having sad all of that, I am wondering if I can ask you a couple NYC specific questions?

    1). I did not know what I was doing and signed up for the Staten Island Ferry option and now wonder if I screwed up? We are staying off 57th Ave. at the Essex/JW Marriott. Probably too late to even worry about this, but was curious how hard it will be to get down to the Ferry.

    2). As we will be in the city for many days, are there any places around the Central Park area that we are staying at to get moderate priced meals/food. Not huge foodies for sure, just looking for some decent food w/o breaking the budget that is already being tested on this great trip.

    3.) Is the hop on hop off tour bus thing a good option for a few days? Don’t want to buy the tickets and then find out it really is a bad deal?

    We are arriving on Thursday, so hoping to hit the expo early and will take advantage of your tips. I know how crazy the Boston and Chicago expos are so am preparing for even more crazy fun.

    Hope your running is going well and the injury bug is becoming a distant memory.

    Dan, from Grand Rapids, MI.


    • wow, Dan!!! that’s quite an impressive running resume!!!! You’ll love NYCM, I can’t wait to hear from you after!!!!
      1–the ferry is the BEST option!!!!! just go outside, follow the crowd of runners into the train (you’ll be downtown in less than 30 minutes) and hop on the ferry, gaze at the statue of liberty and settle in, warm. you’ll love it. the ferry rocks.
      2– you’ll have to look for small places, like cafes or delis. most things around Central Park can be expensive… it’s a pricey city. you can also shop at a deli or supermarket and make your own meals, or picnics even. If you want to go out one night to a nice nice place and not break the bank, I’ll suggest Otto (5th ave and 8th st) you can eat each for under $20 and it’s amazing pizza.
      3- not sure.. I’d rather walk the city and I feel like I’d see more. if you’re here for a few days, i’d recomend getting a 7-day unlimited metrocard (for trains AND buses) and it’s only $31 (each far is 2.75 so this is super cheap) and you can go everywhere with it!!!
      — the expo… not as big as Boston for sure. maybe a 4th of the size. I’ve been disappointed with it lately… but there’s always some good stuff. just not a lot.


  50. You just gave me the chills and tears all at the same time! Thank you for such an informative recap! This was so helpful. ❤️


  51. Hi Liz!

    Love reading your blog – I am running my first NYCM this year, my third marathon so far, and ran into some IT Band issues about 4 weeks ago. I know you had an IT band issue while training for Boston and I am wondering if you have any advice. My last long run was 4 weeks ago (17 miles) and since then I have not been able to build mileage without pain. I am doing all the PT rehab and am only running about 20 miles/week right now with spinning as an addition. I am wondering if cross training will be enough to get me through the marathon so I can stop running and let my leg heal. I can’t even imagine dropping out!! Any tips would be amazing. We are so close and I am getting nervous!


  52. I usually take the bus from the NY Library but they are saying this year we need to get to the library at 6am whilst my start isn’t until 11am. On the Bib I think it will say bus from NY Library does this preclude me from taking the Ferry and then getting the shuttle bus on Staten Island? Do you buy the Ferry ticket on board or have to queue at Ticket Office beforehand? Id be coming on Lexington line. what station would be best for Ferry?


  53. Thank you. Really enjoyed reading all your informative and amusing advice. Even though this is my 10th NYM I can still learn things and have done from you.


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  55. First of all, this post is amazing!! I have read it at least 1,000 times … so thank you!! =) Love your blog too! This will be my second marathon … and despite a minor IT band injury that has disrupted my training for a few weeks … I am so ready to run NYC! Question about transportation?! I actually live in FiDi now but signed up to take the 6 AM bus from the library when I was living on the UES (figured it was easier to get to from there and was hoping I was in the first wave). Well, just found out I am in the second wave (10:15 start) and now live basically next to the ferry. I know it’s too late to officially switch but what are my options? Go to the library and take the 6AM bus and wait in the cold (yuck!) or can I take a later ferry (suggested 7 AM based on your post) even though I didn’t sign up for it? How strict are they with letting people on? Will I run into any issues if I just switch?? Any insight would be appreciated! Thank you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  56. LOVE this post—so incredibly helpful! I have it bookmarked and read it every year before the race (about to run it for the 3rd year in a row). Thanks to following your advice, I got a PR and negative split last year 🙂

    One small point about the timing of the shuttle buses from the ferry to the start village—the past 2 years, it took about a full hour for my ferry bus to get to the start village, things were so backed up. And being in the green corrals both times (farthest away from the entrance), had to make a stressful sprint to baggage to make the cutoff. I actually missed it by about 20 minutes last year, but luckily they weren’t strictly enforcing it and I was able to drop my bag with no problem. I’m planning to allow extra time this year!


    • thank you and nice job!!!!!!
      wow, such awful delays!!!! both years?!?!? WTF!! so sorry to hear. maybe add an extra half hour then? still, I rather rush than frrrrrreze! right?


      • My main issue in 2013 was that it took a really long time to get ON a bus—there was such a giant crowd of people exiting the ferry terminal, it took a while to inch along and reach the buses and then be able to fit onto one. In 2014 it was a lot quicker to get to the buses, but for whatever reason the ride took foreeeever and included just sitting in traffic several times. But I agree—don’t want to get to the start too early! At least this year I’m blue, so will be closest to the entrance 🙂


  57. Hi! This is such a great article – thanks for writing it!

    I am running my first NYC marathon this year and developed soft tissue damage in my foot about three weeks ago. I have not been able to run at all for the past 2.5 weeks (I had my foot in a boot to try and heal it faster) and it is still not 100% better but I took the boot off a few days ago and I am going to try and go for a run this weekend because I am getting really worried about not being ready. I got up to 18 miles in my training and felt really good but that was about 4 weeks ago now (I injured my foot on a 10 mile run the week after). Other than the injury my training was going really well and I felt good increasing the mileage. Do you have any advice or thoughts? Will I be okay even with the little hiatus from running? Just worried because my 18 mile run feels so long ago now.



  58. Thanks again for all of this info. I’ve just reviewed it after getting my bib number yesterday… Orange 1st Wave. I’m excited but surprised at how anxious I am about NYC. This is my 11th marathon (Cincinnati, Indy, Columbus) so I can handle the distance but the logistics have me a bit freaked out. Staying with friends on UES 72nd so planning on subway to ferry. Looks like your 7am ferry advice is the way to go. Thanks again! David in hilly Cincinnati


  59. I’m in the 10:15 wave, but no bag — is the 7:30 ferry cutting it to close? Staying in midtown so I can get there for 7:00 if that’s safer. Will probably just plan to do that. Forced rest for the last couple of weeks after some microtearing in my quads that just won’t get better. Here’s hoping for fresh legs soon! Thanks for this amazing info — your recaps have also been very helpful in suggesting where my family should try to be on the course (coming from out of town – first time running NYC!)


  60. thank you for the tips… nyc will be my third marathon, but my first not flat marathon…. the first two i runned in the flat dutch city Rotterdam. I’m sooooo nervous, but i will tho this!! It is my dream and 1 november it will be come true

    Liked by 1 person

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  63. Hi there,

    I wondered if you knew – and you probably do – whether or not you can use the restroom after getting into your corral… Or, do you have to wait in your corral for 40 minutes before starting and then finding a bathroom there after? That’s a long time! Thanks a lot for your blog, it was incredibly informative. I really appreciate it. You do great work! Thanks a mil! ~ Juliette

    Liked by 1 person

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  65. Hi! I absolutely loved your information. Your “Running and the city” website has been the most helpful and I haven’t felt the need to find other information once I stumbled I yours. How that happened was a nice accident. I have been trying to find out if they will be passing our bananas towards the end of the New York City marathon!

    This is my best friend and my first time running the New York City marathon and we are super exited….and very nervous. So again, thank you for your specifics. I have shared your website with other people I know who are running it this year.

    So, the big question…..will they be handing out bandanas for us runners towards the end of the marathon?

    Can’t wait to hear from you! Thanks for being awesome and posting our information! More helpful than you can imagine for us New York City marathon newbies.

    Liked by 1 person

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  68. Thanks for the info!!! I’m super excited.. I love NYC… I have a question… I have a 545 am ferry time… My wave goes at 1015… Can I catch a later ferry??
    I’m from WV… This will be my 4th marathon!!! Just my husband and I coming to NY… He’s not a runner.. So I will be heading to the start solo!!!

    Thanks Tara


  69. I can not thank you enough for this post. I finished my NYC marathon today. The Mylar blanket tip saved me a lot of money. Also the ferry ride and not to go the start line too early, that was spot on. Once again, thank you very much.


  70. THANK YOU!!! Your tips were great! 2015 was my first NYC, but 11th marathon. Never experienced anything remotely like it. It was an incredible, awesome, emotional experience. It sounds really geeky, but I could feel the energy from the spectators powering me through it. Up in The Bronx I realized that I could BQ and I DID IT! I was blown away by the friendliness and genuine warmth of people. Even on the Q and 6 subway that I took back to our friends’ place, people were congratulating me. It was crazy. Thank you New York City! David — Cincinnati OH

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great job!!!! newyokers get a bad rep because we’re quite aggressive, fast, busy but we’re all super nice deep down, mostly on marathon day!!! 😉 congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!


  71. Great post! I will also be running it for the first time and am so excited! One question: Given all the road closures, what are the best ways to get to the start line (I will probably be staying in Brooklyn or Queens and can’t find any logistical info on this)?


  72. Thank you so much for this post! This Texas gal is running her first full Marathon and it’s this one in NY!!! I greatly enjoyed your detailed post and I will definitely be going over this post several times. The breakdown you gave per miles was much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Hi! Thank you for this, great info!! I am running for the first time this year and am verrrrry excited. Question for you: How strict are they on checking your assigned transportation time? I’m taking the ferry but I waited too long to reserve and the only time left was at 5:45 am, which is insane. If I get there later will they let me just get on a later bus?? Thank you!


    • the ferry is FREE transportation, ANYONE can get on it, you can bring your family on the ferry, if that says anything to you… so, yeah, you can hop on ANY ferry! the bus is a different story, I’d stick with the ferry!


      • I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear at all, I mean the bus you take AFTER you take the ferry to Staten Island. So, the bus from the ferry stop in Staten Island, to the start line — does it matter which one you get on at that point? I am definitely taking the ferry 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  74. I love this post! I am from Indiana where I live in the country and coming to New York to do the marathon is my dream, but I am so terrified of getting lost and having no clue where to go haha!!! thank you so much for the tips!


    • you won’t be LOST. Ever. I promise. On Sunday morning, you head out and you’ll see a SEA of runners on the subway. just follow them!! it’s a lot easier than you think. when there’s SO many people, things need to be organized and streamlined, otherwise it’d be chaos… you’ll see how it works!


  75. Hi Elizabeth, first of all: great post!
    Hoping to stay healthy and therefore be on the startline on Nov 6th…have a few questions for you. First time NYCM, I will stay a week with my familiy having found an apartment in Midtown.
    Having not read this post before, I have chosen “bag drop” and “midtown bus start 6:00AM” 😮 What do you suggest to do…change my plan and get a cab first and then the 7AM Ferry?
    I’ve chosen the bad drop so I can put my cell in so at the finish I w would be able to call the rest of the family to meet them more easily, also take my recovery drink and food…

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Hi Elizabeth, first of all: great post!
    Hoping to stay healthy and therefore be on the startline on Nov 6th…have a few questions for you. First time NYCM, I will stay a week with my familiy having found an apartment in Midtown.
    Having not read this post before, I have chosen “bag drop” and “midtown bus start 6:00AM”😮 What do you suggest to do…change my plan and get a cab first and then the 7AM Ferry?
    I’ve chosen the bad drop so I can put my cell in so at the finish I w would be able to call the rest of the family to meet them more easily, also take my recovery drink and food…


    • you can def take a cab or just take the train, as we all do. it’s super easy. just walk outside and follow ANYONE to the ferry terminal, we’re all going in the same direction!!!


      • Hello maybe I did not explain myself…I have run other marathon including majors and I know it is easy to follow the wave of people who go to the start line. I was suggesting an advice trying to understand if it would be possible to take the ferry at 7AM without losing the bag drop option…


    • My splits are in each of the race reports, link at the bottom of this post. Otherwise look at the race reports tab. I have never done the bus tour but I don’t think it’s necessary. There is a video on YouTube with the course. Seriously I think it’s better to look at the course profile on the post. Doing it on a bus will not give you the best inside as it never does. The video might help


  77. Wow, this is both awesome and overwhelming!! I’m getting really excited – but also kind of terrified! This will be my first marathon, just looking to finish, not for a certain time – do you have any extra tips for a first timer? Also – I signed up for the bus from the Meadowlands, which says it’s between 5-6am. Is that not the best way to go? Reading this I feel like maybe I should go with the ferry but I didn’t select a bus option from there so I don’t want to be stranded. I’m a slow runner, so I know I’ll be starting later. Just wondering what you think is the best way to do it, especially with all the tight security measures. THANKS!!!


  78. Great post. So glad I found this!!!!! This is my very first marathon and I’m super excited and nervous! Question: I get lost and ovewhelmed very easy, especially in big crowds.How easy will it be for me to find my corral once I get the the village?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nancy! The AV is big and overwhelming so prepare ahead if you ge t overexcited. There’ll be a map on the website and MANY MANY signs everywhere. Bring maybe a headset for the start and just focus on finding your area early and setting there close to the corral entrance. You’ll have to keep an eye on the watch and the announcements but you could easily also focus on the music or a book! DON’T STRESS! Also, you could try to find someone in your corral and get their help to escort you there. I find company very useful in places when I get overexcited!


  79. Such a great post! I remember last year when I finished, bawling! Was hospitalized a month before the marathon and didn’t get my training in. Hoped to recover so I could at least participate. I did! I always cry too.. never thought I’d be able to run a marathon. Never thought I’d live in this amazing city. I’m curious as to what you like to eat the day and night before the marathon? Any tips or tricks?

    Liked by 1 person

    • well, that is NOT specific to the NYC Marathon… hahahaha. rice rice and more rice! and lots of salt. I avoid gluten, fiber, pretty much anything that could mess up my tummy. I have the most ridiculous stomach. I finally had a breakthrough this weekend in a half were I wasn’t having stomach issues, will post about it tomorrow. But you’ll have to find what works for you!


  80. Thank you so much for this post!! I’ll be running NYC next month hoping to PR and everyone has said it’s not a PR friendly course. To hear you say you’ve done it and PRd multiple times and giving advice on how to make it happen, helps ease my anxieties. I really want to do well on this race and ALL help is appreciated, lol! Thanks for such an in-depth review on the race!!


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  83. Thanks for this: it’s the most helpful thing I’ve found so far!! One question- I’ve been assigned wave 4 but my last marathon I ran 3:39. Do you know if there’s any way of getting your wave changed before the day? Maybe at the Expo?

    Liked by 1 person

  84. I am running my first NYC Marathon in a couple weeks and just got my Confirmation Form. When I registered, I told them I could run a 4:45 based on a London Marathon 2015 time of 4:42 (I’m 65). I have been placed in Blue Wave 4, Corral F (last one out). I would like some advice on a strategy – should I wait/lay back till most of the runners have left – let the crowds thin some before trying to weave my way through the slower runners. My training has gone well and I did a 23 miler a week ago in 4:04 – makes me think a 4:45 is very realistic. Should I assume that the other runners in my corral have a similar pace?

    This will be my 15th full marathon – first was in 2008 on my 57th birthday (April 26th). I have done several other big races including Berlin (2011), Boston (09, 10, 11, 12), Chicago (two weeks after Berlin 2011) and London (2015 on my 64th birthday), so I’m not scared by the crowded running field. However, in London my left IT band gave me fits starting at about 13.1 (London Tower Bridge) – I assume it was from the weaving (lateral movement) and putting on the brakes (tip toes) so I didn’t run over other runners. My 13.1 split was 2:09 and the finish was 4:42 (I know, I went out fast from the race excitement – need to do better in NYC).

    It looks like others have the same “issues” (post above)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Randy, yes everyone in your wave has the exact same goal as you. W4 Blue F is exactly 4:45 so you won’t be slowed down. Also, you’ll be starting slower than that so if it’s crowded at the start, take that as a good luck charm, as it’ll help you slow down in the mile you need to go the easiest. DO NOT WEAVE!!!! save your energy, people will move out of the way if you wait a second or two and you won’t run 29 miles instead of 26.2. Good luck.


  85. It appears that I have a very similar situation to the post immediately above – Starting Wave/Corral. Looking for a strategy:

    I am running my first NYC Marathon in a couple weeks and just got my Confirmation Form. When I registered, I told them I could run a 4:45 based on a London Marathon 2015 time of 4:42 (I’m 65). I have been placed in Blue Wave 4, Corral F (last one out). I would like some advice on a strategy – should I wait/lay back till most of the runners have left – let the crowds thin some before trying to weave my way through the slower runners. My training has gone well and I did a 23 miler a week ago in 4:04 – makes me think a 4:45 is very realistic. Should I assume that the other runners in my corral have a similar pace?

    This will be my 15th full marathon – first was in 2008 on my 57th birthday (April 26th). I have done several other big races including Berlin (2011), Boston (09, 10, 11, 12), Chicago (two weeks after Berlin 2011) and London (2015 on my 64th birthday), so I’m not scared by the crowded running field. However, in London my left IT band gave me fits starting at about 13.1 (London Tower Bridge) – I assume it was from the weaving (lateral movement) and putting on the brakes (tip toes) so I didn’t run over other runners. My 13.1 split was 2:09 and the finish was 4:42 (I know, I went out fast from the race excitement – need to do better in NYC).

    In closing, I would be very interested in your thoughts about a race strategy – I’m not out for a qualifying time or anything like that – I want to enjoy the crowds/bands, etc., so I don’t want to be the last runner on the course.

    Liked by 1 person

  86. I can’t seem to click to the link to the “great tool that estimates where/when your friends can see you and the subway stops nearby”. Any other way to get that info?

    Liked by 1 person

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  88. Marathon Bible! Being that I ran most of the course during my training, I literally visualized this while I was reading. This was/is the absolute best perspective of the race…in a nutshell. I’m definitely ready now. The one date that means the most on my calendar…11/6/16. My first time running it and I’m looking forward to it even more! Cry…probably. Worth every tear…absolutely!

    Liked by 1 person

  89. Pingback: The Final NYC Marathon Countdown | California Endless Summer

  90. Hey Liz,
    this is an amzing blog post, which helped me a lot for my preparation (and to keep calm). Also many thanks for your latest information when I met you on the Expo on Thursday. The closing of the corrals 40min before start is really happening, but fortunately I was there just in time.

    Although I stayed directly with Airbnb in Staten Island, I took a public bus to the ferry terminal and saw thousands of runners. Although there were many shuttle busses, it was still too less for so many runners. Fortunately some nice runners let me in at the beginning of the queue, because I was running out of time. Then, around 1/2 mile before drop off, there was a huge traffic jam of all these shuttle busses. I asked the driver to let me out and ran the last little distance with some other Wave 1 starters. Without this, I would have missed my start. Hence, hint for everyone: Expect big delays for the shuttle bus travel time. My recommendation: Stay in Staten Island and take Uber to the start – NOT the shuttle bus route! Or be at least 2.5 to 3 hours before start at the ferry terminal. I was there 1:45 before start and only made it due to above lucky tricks.

    The race itself was runnign good for me. I got the hint, you should feel on first 10 miles like a relaxed jogging and you easily control the pace. Although I was 15sec faster per mile than expected, this strategy worked for me. Only at mile 22 it became hard for me, but I made New York my second best Marathon City in 3:08:12. Amazing and now I finished all Big Six. 🙂

    Recommendation for a record time:
    Recommendation for even more and in my opinion most craziest and noisiest people on the course:

    Thank you so much Liz for everything and sporty regards from Germany 🙂


  91. Thank you for this post! This will be my first NYCM and I have been planning to run the course since seeing a friend finish the 2014 race. I was in tears just watching the race! I will be re-reading this over and over to rehearse my race strategy!

    Liked by 1 person

  92. Hi, thanks so much for compiling this info, it’s super helpful! I have a few questions if you get a chance…I was assigned to Wave 1 green start. I saw that you can move back waves/colors if you want to, is that true? If so, would it be better to start where I was assigned, at the back of Wave 1, or would I be better off starting at the front of Wave 2 in the blue start? To give you some idea of my time, I put down 3:33 as my expected finishing time (always hoping for that BQ, haha), but with how training has been going will probably run closer to 3:45-3:55. Thanks so much! I am from San Diego, first time in New York, first NYC marathon (11th marathon), very excited 🙂


    • Yes. You can move back to a corral with higher numbers. It doesn’t really make much of a difference… you can decide based on where the pacers are, or if you rather lead or chase… have a great race!!


  93. This was a great post. Its clear that you took a lot of time, and were so thoughtful. Like many others, this will be my first NYCM, but with your insights, I’ll have the inside baseball I’ll need to be successful. Thanks again for taking the time!

    Liked by 1 person

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  96. Hi I just stumbled across your website, a ton of very helpful information, thanks for all of that! I am running my first full marathon in New York on Sunday and have a quick question re start corrals and anticipated finish time.

    I’ve been placed in Wave 4/Orange because when I signed up I was intending to run with someone who’s slower than I am, so I applied with an anticipated 5:00 hour finish; but now it doesn’t look like we’re going to run together.

    I’m not super fast and am not expecting to blow the field away (especially for my first full, ha!), but is it possible to finish in 4:15 or 4:30 when the wave/corral I’m starting in is pacing at 5:00 hours? I run halves every few months or so at an 8:20 pace and workout with a CrossFit trainer three times a week (did my 21 mile training run at 10:20 pace), so I think a 4:15 finish is within the realm of possibility everything else being equal. I know it’s net time that matters obviously but is there just too much traffic/too many people to expect to finish in that time frame if starting in one of the last waves/corrals?

    Thanks very much in advance! And PS I love BA, my favorite city in the world — other than New York of course 😉


    • There Will be traffic in the 1st mile but it should stretch out quickly. I don’t think there should be an issue. Streets are wide and you should be able to get to your pace quickly.


  97. Thank you so much for this! This is my second NYC marathon. I used your suggestions to create a pace card complete with locations that I’ll use for the race in my attempt to do a sub-4


  98. Hi. If anyone is still reading this I have a question that I’m really stressed about. I signed up via a friend in the NYPD. He hooked me up a few months ago with an entry, as I didn’t plan ahead and enter the lottery at the normal time. Anyway, when I signed up, there were no transportation options available! I am staying at the very tip of lower Manhattan, by the ferry terminal. If I don’t have the normal race transportation options, how in the world do I get to the start? Help! Thanks also for all the tips!


  99. Thank you so much for this post and all the other advice on your blog! I’m running the NYCM this year (my first marathon) and this is by far the best information on the course I have found. Very helpful, especially if you’re not from NYC (or the US) like me, and a great read too!

    Liked by 2 people

  100. Eliii!!! Hare otra maratón 4 semanas deapues y esta sera como un long run de entrenamiento. Estoy planeando caminar las subidas de los puentes, que opinas? Mi plan es no desgastar tanto mis piernas, en la medida de lo posible.


  101. What a fantastic post! My husband is running the NYCM this year and we just read it together. I felt like I was there with him! Now he’s psyched! Thank you!!


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  104. I discovered your wonderful NYCM dissertation prior to running my first NYCM in 2014 and still read it each time. Just finished my third and I would like to let you know that I took the 7 am ferry,I believe, and the line to get onto the buses at the terminal on SI was AT LEAST an hour long!! Just want you want to do, is stand on your feet for an hour before running 26.2 miles!! I don’t know if this is the case with ferry arrivals at other times but I think it’s important that you add this into your tips, etc because I think people need to know. What a nightmare…there has to be a way to alleviate this situation. Between this, and the very long and crowded ride to the AV once you actually do get on the bus, leads me to tell people NOT to choose the ferry option! So please consider this rather large issue when you tell people to take the ferry!


    • Hi Nancy… yes I heard that the lines were a big problem this year. NYRR is aware of this and hopefully they can fix it for next years… thanks for the feedback! Hope you had a great race!!!!!


  105. Thank you! Your article was very helpful for me as I will be running my first marathon this November 3rd! I plan to do the run walk method so hopefully by mile 20 I have a bit more energy they if I would have run continuously. My longest run was 15 miles last weekend and I ran the whole time but then I was developing tendinitis on my knee from overuse so I am switching to the run walk method which I tried this weekend and I was able to keep my 12 m/m pace (even with the walk breaks!).


  106. I enjoyed a lot your article , 2019 will be my firs full marathon , I’m very nervous specially at the start since mine will be at 11 am , I’ll be frozen by then , but I got great tips from you, Thank You


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  108. Pingback: 26.2 New York City marathon tips – Biggsy Travels

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  110. Just want to say thank you! This is my fifth time running the NYC and I always look for this article just to calm my nerves a little and gameplan. I’ve shared this with other runners too. Take care and good luck if you’re racing again this year!!!


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