Insider Tips for the New York City Marathon #TSCNYCMARATHON

running-advice-bugIf you’re looking for my article on tips about the New York City Marathon that ran in US News Health, here it is:

Runners celebrate in the NYC Marathon

Runners celebrate in the NYC Marathon

Runners from around the world are about to converge on New York City for the TCS New York City Marathon, and they will all have something in common: They want to have the best experience possible. The marathon is huge, loud, packed with deep crowds and lined by some of the city’s most iconic sights. For the uninitiated, it is an inspiring – if a little bit overwhelming – experience. If you’re one of them, take heed of these tips and get the inside track:

1. Bundle up.

While the forecast looks good for this year’s race, the weather in New York City can be unpredictable. Some of my most intense memories of the New York City Marathon are of nearly freezing before the start in the staging area at Fort Wadsworth. Plan to spend hours out in the weather prior to the start with little to no shelter. There are a few tents, but for the most part, runners are out in the open and exposed to the wind and potentially cold temperatures. You may want to wear some old clothing, such as heavy cotton sweat pants and a sweatshirt, and then discard them at the start. In the past, race organizers have collected abandoned clothing and donated it to shelters. That way, you’re keeping yourself warm doing something good for the community at the same time.

2. Don’t be late.

Race organizers have devised an effective plan to get the thousands of runners out to the start, but it’s up to you to make sure that you’re on the correct ferry or bus. If you miss your ride, you may have a really difficult time getting to the start. I have heard stories of people thinking that they could “grab a later ferry,” only to find themselves out of luck. Every seat will be full, so stick to your assigned slot.

3. Bring only what you need.

Security will be tight this year at the New York City Marathon, as it has been at most major marathons over the past few years. If you’re thinking about bringing anything other than your running gear and energy supplies, you should check the prohibited items list on the marathon’s website. Keep in mind that sleeping bags and tents – which seem like appealing ways to stay warm at the start – aren’t allowed.

4. Understand the first few miles.

The start of the New York City Marathon is a massive undertaking that uses multiple waves and multiple corrals in each start. The course is actually split into three separate routes for the first few miles, with all of the courses eventually converging. What this means is that if you are trying to see or meet someone on the course, you need to understand that you might not be talking about the same “mile 5.” Also, keep in mind that there are separate color-coded mile markers on the course until mile 8, after which they all finally converge.
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Races — New York City Marathon — A Story of Shock and Awe

A Crowd Shot of the NYC Marathon at mile 22

running-advice-bugThe New York City Marathon is simply in a class of its own. The size and history and scope of it are so large as to leave one in awe. The 2010 race left us in shock as well.

With 45,000 runners, 2.5 million spectators and thousands of police, volunteers, media and sponsors — New York is just the biggest and baddest of them all. The crowds are overwhelming. And we’re not just talking about the crowds on the sides of the roadways. Runners are surrounded by a thick fog of other runners around them for nearly the entire distance of the race. As I stood watching the race at mile 22 this year, I couldn’t help but notice the traffic causing runners to pitch and dodge the other runners around them (and the spectators that fearlessly rushed across the streets between them as if playing a game of Frogger on steroids.)

It was another cold year and spectators were treated to chilly winds and the moving shade of tall buildings, blocking out the little warmth of the sun. The conditions were nearly perfect for the runners. Just a day later, sleet and rain would fall on Manhattan in the morning, so this day was a bit of luck for everyone involved in the race.

Race leaders Gebremariam and Mutai at mile 22

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