New York

Being a part of the NYC marathon as a marathoner or a supporter is one of the things that everyone visiting NY in the autumn should do. It is one of the biggest events happening in the city during the year. Another is the Halloween parade which takes place on the streets of NY several days earlier so you can combine them in one visit. Both events were cancelled the first time we were in NY due to the storm Sandy, so we were even more excited to get back in 2013 and be part of them.

But let me tell you more about the NYC marathon… There are several ways to get in and run 26.2 miles in the streets of the city – be one of the lucky ones chosen in a lottery, run another marathon for a specific amount of time, run for charity, live in NY and take part in the events organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR). Read more.

Once you’re in, pay all the fees and get yourself in NY, you need to go and get your marathon number and chip for time tracking. It takes about 10 min to do it, another 10 to take some photos and then you have all the time to shop running stuff on the expo.

The Marathon Route

The Marathon Route

On the day of the marathon, you need to get up very early (around 5 am) and take transport to Staten Island where the start line is located. The transportation for the marathoners is organized upfront. Supporters are not allowed neither at the start nor at the finish line for security reasons.

[TIP] For marathoners – buy a cheap blanket to wrap yourself and throw it away when you start running. An old warm jacket and a hat can also do the job. For the supporters – get warm clothes, a scarf and a hat. You’ll spend at least 4-5 hours outside.

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Once I left Val on the ferry to Staten Island I found myself alone in the area of Wall Street, on a chili Sunday morning, 7 am and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee was the only savior for me.

At 8.30 am I was at the Columbus circle – one of the best places to watch the marathon and cheer the marathoners on their way to the finish line which was located several yards away, in the Central Park. There were barriers already set by the police, but after taking the train, walking around the streets, passing 3 different security check points (with and without dogs!), I crossed the circle and found myself on the tribunes with a great view to the big screen presenting live the start and the battle between the elite runners.

Security

Security

The marathon was officially opened by the mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg. The theme song of the marathon was “New York, New York” sung live by Gary Russo – a NYC Subway Worker, who in 2011 became famous for singing the Frank Sinatra song at work.

Around 11 am the first to cross the finish line started arriving:

Priscah Jeptoo

Priscah Jeptoo

 

Jackson Kiprop

Jackson Kiprop

And here is Val several yards before the finish, looking like he is able to run one more marathon:

Val @ Columbus Circle

Val @ Columbus Circle

He finished in 3 h 25 min, at around 1.30 pm. It took us several hours to find each other (until 4 pm), but it was a happy reunion. One of the places where runners gathered with their families was in the Time Warner Center where a marathoners’ lounge was set with a soft carpet and wide screens to watch the marathon news. There were also official points for family reunion on the street near the finish line but they were very crowded.

A happy finisher

A happy finisher

[TIP] My advice is to meet with your family at least one or two metro stations away. Around the finish line the streets are blocked and even crossing a street from one side to the other might cost you half an hour or more.

On the next day we saw a lot of people proud to run the city, wearing their medals the whole day. It looks like it was a tradition that we weren’t familiar with. So if you run the marathon, do not forget to show off your medal the next day:)

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