The World's Top 10 Marathons

3= New York City Marathon

Posted: 8 July 2000

3= New York City Marathon

If any marathon could honestly claim to be the world’s favourite, it is New York City. No other event attracts such a high proportion of international runners from so wide a range of countries. They are drawn by the unique appeal of the city and the big-event atmosphere created by the international runners and the crowds that flood onto the streets to support, entertain and motivate them. This is the original big-city marathon, and an event that every runner should experience at least once in their lifetime.

The course: Starting from the huge expanse of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on Staten Island, the course offers a cultural tour through New York’s ethnic diversity as it meanders through the five boroughs on the way to the finish in Central Park.
Highs: The six-deep crowd on First Avenue as you enter Manhattan for the first time.
Lows: The three-hour wait at the holding complex before the 11am start.
Watch out for: The rolling hills over the final miles in Central Park.
Contact: New York City Marathon, New York Road Runners Club, 9 East 89th St, New York, NY 10128, USA; tel 001 212 423 2249; e-mail
UK contact: Sports Tours; 0161 7038161
Size: 30,000+
Month: November

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New York City Marathon

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Hi fellow runners.

  I am entered in the NYM 2008 and was wondering if anyone had any info about the course and pre start info.I have heard that you have to wait 3 hours in a holding area!

I am running for Get Kids Going , a charity that provides mobility aids for people with disabilities,so that they can take part in sporting events.

Thanks from Colin

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Posted: 03/06/2008 at 12:15


I ran it last year and my advice is to get the ferry to Staten Island if possible. The buses run from 4.30am to about 6am but they scare monger you by saying that if you’re not on a bus at 6am then you get sent to the ferry terminal anyway. Being appropriately scare mongered I was on a bus at 4.30 so had a 5 hour wait in Staten Island prior to the race. If I did it again I would def get the ferry as it runs until 8am I think. The wait area is (at 5am!) dark and cold but there’s a good spirit and I spent the time chatting to the American ladies I was sat next to. Loos were never really a problem and never required more than a few minutes of queuing.  

Apparently this is a problem specific to 2007 (orange start) but there was a horrendous cock up with the baggage trucks. I went to put my bag in 1 hour before the race started and there were literally thousands of people trying to do the same but the trucks were parked inside an enclosed area with only one entrance so everyone trying to get in prevented people from getting out hence there was an almighty log jam meaning that no one could get their bags to the trucks. I eventually pushed my way through with literally 2 minutes to go before the start meaning that I missed my pen and had to start further back. Lesson – put your back in the trucks super early! 

At the end of the race you are herded about 0.5 miles to get to the baggage trucks and you are not allowed to stop and sit down (they are like Hitler!). Depending on how fast your time is the end could be very congested and therefore very slow moving. Once you get out of the park you will NOT be able to find a taxi. I also couldn’t find the subway due to the crowds so walked for ages until I found a bus stop and some friendly locals to point me the right way. You need to pre pay for the bus but I started to cry so the driver let me on for free! Lesson – get a hotel room within walking distance of the finish line. If you use a Garmin it will go funny once you get to mile 16 i.e. Manhattan so don’t be too reliant on it for pacing information. If you have people coming to watch you then the best bits (in terms of being to see them) are Queens/Brooklyn and the Bronx as the crowds are thinner.  

Last of all, incase it’s your 1st marathon, DON’T DO ANYTHING ON RACE DAY THAT YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IN TRAINING!!!!!! I did (took energy gels) and ended up walking the last 6 miles.

Posted: 03/06/2008 at 14:28

Thanks for that - i think i will wear old clothes and dump them at the start rather than use the bag drop.

Also thanks about the garmin tip! All the tall buildings i suppose.

   Cheers, from colin     

Posted: 04/06/2008 at 19:50


I did New York last year too, and loved it.

All the things Tortie has said are correct, but the race itself is fantastic.

I did put my gear into the baggage truck early, and had enough clothing left, that I was going to throw away before the start. I was on orange start too, and it was perfectly seeded and did not get held up by anyone. There are toilets galore at the start and on route, there are drink stops every mile if you want them.

Yes, the hardest thing, is the early start, but they have tea and coffee and bagels etc and it is a great atmosphere sitting around waiting for the start. Getting back to your hotel is also awful, and totally agree that if you can get a hotel close to the finish then do so.

It was very cold when arriving at the start, but come race time, everyone was throwing off their gear. I ended up running in singlet and shorts, but guess it doesn't get that warm every year.

Have a great one - I'm sure you will. Wish I could do it again!

Posted: 04/06/2008 at 20:19

BTW - the crowd support is incredible, and continues, until all the runners come through, my husband and son, walked the first 16 miles and jogged the final 10, and they had a ball, they got great pics, got great support, and really had a wonderful time.

Posted: 04/06/2008 at 20:23

Thanks for your reply , it sounds like you had a ball!

Cheers from Colin 

Posted: 05/06/2008 at 18:08

other thread

Hi folks.

There seem a lot of wee new york marathon threads on the go.  Do you fancy coming to this one.

C u there

Posted: 21/06/2008 at 19:19

i too ran this last year but i have to say that i probably wouldnt do it again .

the early start is a real problem with our bus leaving at 5.15 , getting us to the start line at 5.45 . we didnt start running till 10 !!! i agree about the toilets being plentiful but getting rid of the bags was a nightmare due to the crush , so get rid of your bag as early as possible . i got a great bit of advice the day before the race which was to go and buy a cheap sleeping bag to take to the start along with some old cardboard to lie on . given the time we were hanging around it was invaluble .

running over the narrows bridge at the start is a really iconic moment which should be savoured along with the support in brooklyn . HOWEVER , i did find many parts of the race where the crowd was pretty thin which made parts ( for me ) lonely .

i found the course a lot tougher than london with the climbs up the bridges really taking their toll so beware .

once crossing the finishing line in central park it took us a full half hour of shuffling ( because we were that tightly packed in ) along the road just to get to the baggage buses . not too much fun when you are trying your hardest not to throw up !!!

i think the best thing that i done for the race was to drape a union jack around my shoulders as the brits in the crowd pick you out and i felt like i was representing the country in the olympics !

i am glad to say that i have completed a NYC marathon but for me , there were more negatives than there were postives as i dont think it is as half as well organised as london .


Posted: 26/06/2008 at 13:49

I've just got back from running the New York Marathon 2010 and I have to say I loved it!! I also ran in 2007 and loved that too. I hear what people are saying about the wait at the start but I see that as an opportunity to meet new friends and people with at least one common interest and the wait until the start has flown by on both occasions.  If you do feel the cold though the sleeping bag and cardboard idea is genius and much easier than it sounds.

The organisers seem to have got the baggage truck situation sorted, I didn’t think to put my bag in till 5 mins before the dead line and got straight to my truck no problem. 5 mins after that I realised I’d checked my timing tag in and had to get it back, the UPS people were more than helpful and found my bag so I could retrieve my tag.

In 2007 the bag retrieval did take a long while, I think it took me almost 45mins to get to my bag and out of Central Park, this time it was much quicker, I’d got my stuff and was on the way in about 20 mins. It’s almost impossible to get a cab after the race, I don’t think they want sweaty runners in the back of their cars but the Rickshaws pick you up no prob. If you plan ahead and know what Subway to get they let you ride for free if you’re a runner so that’s a good option if you know where you’re going.

The atmosphere on course is unbelievable!! People from all walks of life line the streets and cheer you on. Hang to the side of the roads and you’ll high fiving all the way to the finish line, no matter how bad you feel the crowds can give you the lift you need to get to the end. I’ve run 4 marathons in all and the positive feeling I got from New York has never been equalled. The pain in my legs has always been over shadowed by the pain in my face from smiling so much.

Given the chance I’d run this race every year, the positives I got from the races will stay with me forever, I really can’t say enough about it. Keep warm at the start, feed off the energy of the crowd, plan your journey out of Central Park, keep an open, positive frame of mind and you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted: 11/11/2010 at 15:33

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