Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New York City Marathon Resources

Maybe you are running the NYC Marathon. Maybe your sister or father or coworker is running New York for a charity to honor a loved one. Maybe you just want a quintessential New York City experience. Or maybe, like me, you're running New York in 2011 and you want to stare the beast in the eye before you finally take him on.

Either way, here's a bunch of resources to help you navigate the marathon and marathon week. (Yep, we make it a week long event here!)

Q: Where is a good spot to watch to watch the marathon?

A: Anywhere! There are fans cheering on every inch of the course, minus the bridges. Here's a link to the course map. Plus here's another map that shows the subway stops near the route.

Q: What time will the marathon runners reach 1st avenue? The finish line?

A: The fastest runners start at 9:40 a.m. and you can estimate 5 minute miles for the leaders. So you if you are stationed at 72nd and First Avenue, that's about mile 16.75, so you can expect to see runners at eleven in the morning.
But remember the slowest runners can start at 10:40 am and take upwards of 5 hours to run, so there will be people streaming through the city all afternoon.

Q: What famous people are running the marathon?

A: There is someone for everyone! For fashionistas, there is Rachel Roy and several models, for the foodies, Bobby Flay will be out there, and for the Subway fans, there's Jared. Here's a complete list.

Q: What is the New York Marathon course like?

A: This isn't the easiest marathon to run. It's certainly not the one where you get lots of space between you and the other forty thousand runners. But there are spectactors along the entire course - with things like gospel choirs in Harlem and views of the Manahattan skyline each time you cross a bridge (aka hill). Here's a three minute video of the course and here's a description of the course strategy for runners.

Q: I want some marathon running gear! Where can I buy some?

A: You can buy marthon gear at the expo in the days before the race. Or you can pop into any running store in the city and score a t-shirt or nice little fleece. My favorite running stores are Jack Rabbit at 85th and Lex and NYC Running Company in Columbus Circle.

Q: What fun things are there to do in the city for the spectators?

A: Check out the expo for lots of running and health gear if you are an aspiring marathoner or health nut. If you like to tailgate, then check out the Coors Light Refreshment stops along the course. If all the buzz has got you itching for a run, try the NYRR Five Mile race on the Friday before the run. Check out the fireworks on Marathon Eve in Central Park or scope out one of the many special events that NYRR's is offering this week.

Q: I need to eat some Italian food the night before the race. Any recommendations?

A: Yes, get your fix of Italian in a neighborhood less populated with tourists. Try the Upper East Side or Upper West Side, and make reservations before hand. I like UVA Wine Bar, Becco, and Tiramisu. Or if you are like me and your big meal before the race is going to be light, try the salad bar at Whole Foods in Union Square. I know it's not fancy, but you can make your own salad - either lettuce or a grain salad (pasta, quinoa, rice, wheat berries) and add the protein and oil that you need instead of giving the waitress a big headache.
Plus you can eat your salad in the cafe upstairs and enjoy pretty views of Union Square while you eat.

Q: I need more gels. I forgot my running socks. My iPod headphones broke. Help!

A: Chill out. This in New York City, not the middle of a corn field. Ask your hotel for the nearest running store, or use that smart phone and google it. If you need a specific brand, the largest running stores in the city are the Running Company stores so head to one of those. Also, the flagship Nike store on 57th street will probably have your Nike gear. You can get headphones, gatorade, batteries, and everything else at a drug store.

Q: I've never been to New York before. My knowledge of the city is based upon television and movies. What can I do to make the trip less stressful?

A: First, check out the course via the course bus tour. This will give you an idea of what to expect on race day. If you are looking for something to do that doesn't require too much walking or standing, try a Broadway show, a boat tour on the Water Taxi, or a Central Park tour in a pedi-cab. Most tourist attractions will require long periods of standing in lines, so skip those. And don't worry, because you'll get some awesome photos of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan if you take the ferry to the starting line.

Q: How many people will run the marathon this year?

A: NYRR estimates that about 45,000 people will run, which is the most to run a marathon ever.

Good Luck to all and I'll see you at my watching spot - the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

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