Uniting Runners From All Over The World Via Running in NYC
Author: We Are NYC Running Club
We Are NYC Running Clubhttps://catrunsnyc.wordpress.comOur running club is emblematic of the wonderful city that we call home, New York City! Like our city does, our club welcomes runners from all over the world whether they run just one race a year in our city or several races a year. Our runners embody the spirit of NYC as our members represent so many wonderful backgrounds. Male and female, young and old, several ethnic backgrounds and most importantly, athletes on all levels of the running spectrum are proud to call “We Are NYC Running Club” their running family.
We all love NYC and most importantly we love the physical, mental and emotional benefits that running brings. Join us today to share in all of our excitement!
Due to accumulations of already 2-3 inches of snow on the ground in Brooklyn and more still falling, we have decided it is in the runners best interests to cancel this run! .
We have come too far training wise to risk insury! Originally I had hoped this would be mostly rain but it wasn’t the case!
Apologies this didn’t work out!
As we come up close to two weeks left to the United NYC Half, its time for runners to get their final long runs in! Similar to what we did a few weeks back, we will be running a large portion of the United NYC half course! This week we will come close to running the whole course! We are looking to run approximately 12 miles this Saturday!
Where: Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch @ Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park!
When: Saturday, March 2, 2019
Time: Gathering between 7:00am – 7:15am
Why: 12 miles of the United NYC Half Marathon Course
We will be doing this run rain or shine! One of the positives that we have going our way that day is that we will have a bag check available! You can check your bag with one of our members at Grand Army Plaza who will then transport your belongings for retrieval by the NYRR Run Center.
We will also have FREE samples of Nuun Hydration & Vitamins to give out before and after the run.
For this run we will have three different pace groups and have them departing at staggered times.
-Pace group 1 – 7:30am – Runners pacing over 11:00
-Pace group 2 – 7:45am -Runners pacing b/w 9:00 and. 11:00 per mile,
–Pace group 3 – 8:00 am -Runners pacing under 9:00/ mile
Below is the route that we will be taking for the course run. Please keep in mind that some parts of the actual course cannot be run as we do not have access to them such as the main road of the Manahattan Bridge and the actual FDR Drive. We have improvised the route to come as close to the actual race day course as possible.
I know the race starts within Prospect Park but we won’t have the luxury of signage telling us where to go this Saturday and I would like to avoid any confusion. Also, starting in Grand Army Plaza allows, our vehicular bag check to drive up right to us and not having to go inside the park. So with this route, we will end up somewhere between 12 and 12 1/2 miles approximately while cutting out one mile from within Prospect Park.
We will start at Grand Army Plaza and head South on Flatbush Avenue, taking Flatbush Avenue until you get to Empire Blvd. (0.75 miles)
Once you hit Empire Blvd, turn around and come back up Flatbush Avenue retracing the route you just ran. Go back thru Grand Army Plaza and run past it but make sure to pick up Flatbush Avenue on the other side of Grand Army Plaza AND NOT Vanderbilt Avenue. (approx 1.0 mile)
Once you pass thru Grand Army Plaza, stay on Flatbush Ave for 1.5 miles and make a left on Willoughby St. (1.5 miles)
On Willoughby, go 5 blocks, approx. ¼ mile and make a right onto Jay St. (0.25 MILES
Stay on Jay St for a little over a ¼ mile until you come to Sands St. Here, there is an entrance to the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway. (0.25 MILES)
Enjoy the stretch over Manhattan Bridge and take your pictures now instead of race day lol (1.3 MILES)
When you come off the bridge make a right on Canal Street Stay on Canal Street for about 3 blocks until you get to Allen Street and make a right. Stay on Allen St until it turns to Pike Street and take Pike Street all the way until you hit the FDR Drive. (0.25 MILES)
Cross under the FDR drive and run along the water either along the water or on the bike path under the FDR drive. Stay along this path until you come to the Water Club which is approximately at 34th street (3.0 MILES)
Continue one block on 34th street to 1st ave and make a right. (0.1 MILES)
Continue north on 1st Ave to 42nd street and make a left (0.4 MILES)
Continue on 42nd street to 7th avenue and make a right. (1.2 MILES)
Continue north on 7th avenue for a mile until you reach 59th street and Central Park South. Make a right on Central Park South. (1.0 MILES)
Take Central Park South to Grand Army Plaza and enter the park on East Drive. Continue on East drive and make a left at the 72nd street tranverse. Take the transverse around to the west drive and end run at tavern on the green. (1.5 MILES)
See you on Saturday rain or shine! Any questions regarding the run, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org !
Always with a smile, Samantha has been featured on many NYRR promo ads!
Another week has passed so it’s time to shine the spotlight on one of our members! Today we are happy to shine that spotlight on one of our very first members, the always smiling, Samantha M.!
Samantha has always come to club gatherings with tons of energy, a positive attitude and of course her vibrant smile.
Samantha started running in 2001 in college when she felt she was overweight and as a result, it made her self-conscious. At the time she had an unpleasant dance teacher that would make her feel uncomfortable about her weight so she turned to running to prove that teacher wrong and feel better about herself. Little by little she would set small benchmarks for herlsef measured in city blocks.
When she’s no running, Samantha loves singing and dancing!
Eventually she had worked up to a mile and before she knew it she was running as far as 5 kilometers! As running became a healthy obsession, she would run at the gym on treadmills admittedly so she could watch trashy TV (lol). Ever increasing her mileage, she joined New York Road runners in 2012 and ran her first 5k that year. Fast forward to today, Samantha has run over 80 races with NYRR!
Being a runner since 2012, Samantha stumbled across We Are NYC Running clublast year while training for the United NYC Half Marathon. Why would Samantha join a running club though after being a runner for 6 years and having success with it? Samantha points to the amount of support that she felt from strangers who shared the same common goal as her and had a true genuine love for running.
3rd from the right, Samantha was at the very first official club meet up!
Samantha was part of the first unofficial meet up of the club back at the 2018 NYRR Gridiron 4 miler run. That day she felt the group had something special just from spending 15 minutes together with the group before the 4 mile race. With many years of running already under her belt, she wanted to be part of something bigger where she could talk to people and not be judged. She remembers many years back still to that dance class teacher where she made to feel so small. Being a part of this club, she no longer feels that at all! Since joining the club, Samantha has loved being a member as she points to the many fabulous, strong, dedicated and down to earth people she has met. She adds that running a race is so much better knowing that you have a lot of people out there rooting for you and running with you. Just yesterday, Samantha ran her 22nd race as a member of We Are NYC Running Clubas she ran the NYRR Gridiron 4 miler with the club and celebrated a year of running with her new found running family!
Looking forward, she continues to think about running the TCS NYC Marathonas a long term goal. For now she is concerned with committing time to train for a marathon as she knows the amount of time involved with it and she does not want to take that time away from her family, especially her three year old son Harrison. Speaking of her son Harrison, he himself has already run some races with NYRR. Samantha plans on continuing to have Harrison run more races this year while she continues to prepare for some more half marathons herself with the 2:00 time barrier as her ultimate goal!
Pictured here at the Bronx 10 Mile, Samantha ran 22 races with We Are NYC RC in 2018!
We are fairly confident that Samantha will break that 2:00 barrier if not at the NYC Half Marathon, perhaps the Brooklyn half marathon! Once she has done that, if she hasn’t changed her mind about going for the TCS NYC marathon, she may just be content with continuing another fun hobby of hers – performing and singing famous Broadway musical scores on top of her radiator with her son Harrison!
Here are some words that some of our members had for Samantha!
Carlo Has Ascended to B Corral & Shows No Signs Of Stopping!
This week our member spotlight is focused on our quiet but fearless Carlo Fervil. Carlo’s love for running has turned into a lifelong passion. Here’s why…
Carlo had no idea that he was going to soon find his passion and something that would take him on a lifelong journey. At the encouragement of a co worker and curious to try running as a way to get fit, Carlo entered his first 5K in Brooklyn. Excited to see what the hype of running was all about, he ended up disappointed when the race he ran was very disorganized. In 2017, his co worker told him about New York Road Runners, so he entered a 5k in Prospect Park. It was love at first run! Every race he ran, he pushed himself harder and harder to see what his limit was. He quickly realized, there were no limits to how hard and fast he could run. Carlo did not see running as a “one and done” thing. He wanted to keep going, learn everything he needed to know and most of all give 100%.
Carlo Was Part Of The Club’s First Ever Ragnar Relay Team This Year!
Then Carlo had something happen that changed his perspective and made him realize that he also needed to learn how to train properly. He entered the Staten Island Half, his very first half marathon. Not sure how to train, he used an app but didn’t quite follow the training the way it was prescribed. Not training properly resulted in injury to his IT band, during the race. Unable to walk he realized at that moment that he wanted to do whatever he could to avoid injury, so he began doing research on how to train properly. Carlo learned there are three important components to running injury free. Cadence, hip strength and heart rate. He used that to develop his own training, worked it into every run and started to see that he was becoming a stronger, faster and more efficient runner.
“Coach Carlo” Is Always Willing To Give His Teammates Running Advice!
It didn’t stop there for Carlo. Now he wanted to share everything he had learned with everyone around him. In 2018, Carlo joined his first training run with We Are NYC Running Club. He quickly became part of the team, but also felt that he wanted to help others run better too. Carlo started offering teammates small tips on how they could improve their form and ways to run better. This would lead to many of his teammates calling him “Coach Carlo”! Last fall, he organized some of his own training runs to work on interval training. Now some of his teammates were seeing their own gains and improvements. Coach Carlo was making a much bigger impact.
Carlo has big plans for his future. He is looking towards becoming a Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America. In 2019, he will be running both the Chicago and Berlin marathons. But both of those races are going to be a small step in preparing him for the biggest journey of his life. To begin his training, in the hopes of obtaining a spot in the Olympic marathon trials. Carlo’s dream is to take his passion for running all the way to the Olympics.
Carlo leaves us with his motto in the hopes that everyone will apply it to all areas of their life.
“Patience and consistency are the keys to success and it stands true when applied to fitness and running goals.”
Always With A Smile, Carlo Is Aiming For The Olympics One Day!
Our Member Spotlights Bassem Reaches “50” Days On His Run Streak
In continuing with our We Are NYC Running Club member spotlight, our next awesome member is one of our more vocal, motivated, and loveable members. Bassem has been a long time runner and has logged well over 60 races just with New York Road Runners alone. Three of those races have been the New York City Marathon. In 2018 he opted not to run the NYC Marathon and focused on the Philadelphia Marathon instead. It resulted in him running a personal record of 3:49:22 after having a previous record of 4:52 in NYC! An outstanding PR of over an hour, but what makes this even more fantastic, is that Bassem just turned a young 50 years old!
Bassem Last Month At The Joe K. 10k
Realizing his accomplishment this year, Bassem now has his eyes set on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. He would have to knock off another 25 minutes on his marathon time but he says there is something different now about his training. As noted earlier, Bassem is a long time runner, but this year he has seen improvement thanks to the support that he has received from his “We Are NYC Running Club” members. He points at the motivation factor as well as accountability being a huge boost to his training. While his pursuit of the Boston Marathon is currently a long term goal, his short term goal is to keep his current run streak alive. A couple of months ago when he turned 50 years old, Bassem decided to start a “run streak” where he runs at least one mile each day. Last week during one of our weekly group runs, Bassem reached 50 days on that streak and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon! How long can Bassem go? We shall see!
Seeing how much the club has given him this past year, Bassem is always willing to give back. At group runs and on race days, Bassem is always willing to give runners advice based on his past experiences. Whether it may be about running apparel, nutrition or race logistics, you can count on Bassem to give you his words of wisdom.
Bassem (on the right) With His Vuvuzuela @ The Fred Lebow Half Marathon!
Bassem doesn’t stop there either in supporting his running club teammates. Coming out and cheering with the club as part of our infamous cheer squads is something Bassem enjoys doing. If you have run any races in Central Park recently, you may be familiar with the loud echoing sound of a “vuvuzuela”! Yup – one of those vuvuzuelas is likely Basem!
His energy and dedication to the club make him a clear candidate for today’s spotlight and he is just another reason that We Are NYC Running Club continues to thrive today!
We will leave you with some words from Mr. Vuvuzuela aka Run Streak Man, aka Ragnar Guy aka Boston Marathon hopefully, aka BASSEM!
Cheryl crushing the 2018 TCS NYC marathon this past November!
Good Morning Running Community!
Over the past (almost) year, We Are NYC Running Club has grown tremendously and with over 450 active members worldwide sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who is up to what. So to assist with keeping up to date with our members, we’ve decided that starting in 2019, we would introduce one outstanding member per week to showcase who they are and why they are such a great teammate.
It is our honor and privilege to introduce the first ever Member Spotlight: Cheryl F. (IG: @cfriscia).
Cheryl has been such a supportive and compassionate member from the day she joined the club. She puts 110% into everything she does whether it’s encouraging her teammates during group runs or organizing a Cross Fit class for the club. Cheryl is committed to taking We Are NYC Running Club to the next level.
Cheryl is a survivor of stage 3 kidney disease. With her kidneys failing in 2014, she was hospitalized and underwent two years of intense treatment. While she avoided a transplant, she has come back to full health thanks in part to a complete diet change and lots of exercise. In April she celebrated her full recovery with our running club by running the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K.
With the arrival of her first grandchild and watching her son get married, Cheryl experienced it all this past year! She capped off a triumphant year by running and completing her first marathon, the TCS NYC Marathon, and her teammates were there cheering her on all across Manhattan!
When Cheryl sets goals, she hits them! Check out some highlights on Cheryl and hear what other members had to say about her character and impact she’s had on the club! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for you, Cheryl! Thank you for being the personable, driven, and kind member that you are!
Here are some member messages about Cheryl!
Some kind words on Cheryl from teammate Derek S.!
More kind words from teammate and good friend Rosa S.
A big thank you to our teammate Casey (IG: @caseyalexandrafit ) for her work on this!
Be on the lookout every Monday for our latest Member Spotlight!
Happy running to you all!
Cheryl holding her newborn grandson earlier this year!
In two year’s time, Carlo has gone from corral K at NYRR races to corral B. This guy knows what he’s doing!
Hi everyone, this is Cesar. When I started We Are NYC RC I was excited to just meet friends who were runners. As a result some of these runners have become valuable sources of knowledge for me. So allow me to introduce you to one such runner in my club, Carlo F. This guy has improved in leaps and bounds and yet he is always willing to share the secrets of his success. Today I wanted to introduce Carlo who will be contributing to this site from time to time. You can follow Carlo on Instagram at @clo_runs !
To some, winter means treadmills and indoor cycling while for others, winter can be a wonderland full of countless adventures. But you may not realize that outdoor winter running (and winter training in general) provides many benefits, such as:
1. Promotes Weight Loss – When it’s cold, you start shivering because muscle movement helps heat up the body. So we actually use more energy during winter running as the body has to work harder to provide us warmth. This helps work off the gains during a time when it’s easier to stay indoors than to go out for a workout.
2. Improves Your Cardiovascular System – Running in the winter strengthens your heart & lungs as they have to work harder to provide the body with oxygenated blood since it becomes less easy to breathe (due to the cold air reducing the body’s air flow) and maintains the body’s core temperature.
3. Strengthens Your Immune System – When your body’s immune system is exposed to the cold, it is enhanced to fight inflections. Staying active during the winter is your best defense against cold and seasonal flu. In addition, the cold air acts like a natural ice pack to decrease inflammation, an in turn your joints will feel less sore after a winter run.
4. Build Mental Fortitude – By encouraging yourself to embrace the cold instead of staying indoors, you are pushing yourself to break those mental barriers that can hinder your progress. Plus, you’ll have run through some of the toughest, hardest and least enjoyable conditions imaginable and that will give you the confidence to tackle a new season of running when spring comes along.
5. Improves Physical Endurance – Your muscles will need to adapt to uneven and slick terrain. Whenever you attempt to walk across such a surface, every muscle in your body is working hard not to lose balance, thus becoming stronger, more responsive and more resilient in the process.
6. Less Crowded. During the winter, Central Park is almost a Ghost Town. There will be fewer people out. And for the ladies, this also means less cat-callers during the season.
7. Running in the Cold is Easier – you do not have to worry about sweat and dehydration. The colder the weather, the less heat stress on the body. Soon you will realize it feels easier to hold your 10K pace during the winter as opposed to during the summer.
Winter is the Best Time to Work on Yourself – Because there are less races and less people. This is the best time to focus on your weaknesses and turning them into strengths as well as trying out new things that you may have wanted but couldn’t find the time. You want this to be a period where you are able to gain the necessary fitness to tackle a new challenge or an upcoming training program.
Possible areas you may want to improve: Cadence, Core Stability, Running Form, Upper Body Strength, Aerobic Base (High Mileage @ Easy Pace), etc.
Possible things you may want to try: Heart-Rate Based Training, Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, Jump-Rope, Weight-Lifting, Running Drills, other Fitness classes, etc.
When it comes to Winter Running, the most important part is the layers you wear. This website, brought to you by Shape Magazine, shows what winter gear you should have at your disposal as well as a guide to what to wear at what temperature. However if your easy pace (in miles) is faster than 9-minute, you may have to adjust accordingly, as the faster you run, the more heat you generate.
In addition, some of you may not realize but there are indeed sneakers made for winter running (snow/ice/rain). Last year, I wore Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX exclusively during the winter. I recently purchased the Saucony Peregrine 8 Ice+. There’s also the Brooks Ghost 11 GTX. You can either research or reach out to your preferred brand(s) for sneaker recommendations for winter/cold weather running.
You can also purchase Snow & Ice Traction Cleats (such as Yaktrax). They are used to avoid sliding on slippery surfaces like ice and snow, as they are attached to footwear with either rubber straps on the heel and toes that covers the whole sole or a single strip over the foot.
You can even take it a step further by installing spikes on the bottom of your sneakers to act as cleats (DIY Traction). This would be the cheapest option and would advise to do on a pair of your least favorite sneakers.
Running during the winter has its dangers that you have to watch out such as hypothermia, frostbite, knee pain & lower leg injury (if you’re not working on your core, hip mobility & flexibility). Of course, if the weather conditions are too bad, please use the treadmill. 🙏
So you are running the United NYC Half Marathon? Congratulations are in order because this race is not easy to get into! Now that you have gotten into the race, running and completing the race is not the only thing that you may have to worry about. Preparing for this race physically, mentally, emotionally and logistically can be a huge task. The version of this course was run in 2018 for the first time, so even if you have run a lot of races in New York City, this race may still be relatively new to you!
At this current time, I am hosting a United NYC Half Marathon Facebook group and as we did last year, each day we are discussing so many topics about this race. From training, to travel accommodations, to diets, to race prep, to holding local group runs and even hiring a few coach buses to take some of us to the start line of the race! We’ve been covering so much in this group and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! (side note, we have similar groups open now for the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon and the New York City Marathon!)
So I thought I would put this article together for everyone to benefit from the discussions that I had last year in the group. As time goes on I will be updating this post with new developments or changes to the race.
This post is heard towards out of towners running the race but there is definitely info in here for native New Yorkers as well. It’s a long read but I think there is something for everyone in here!
Getting Your Race Day Bib and the Expo
Whether you are traveling in from out of town or whether you live here in New York City, you will have to make your way to the Half Marathon Expo. For those that live in the New York City area who are accustomed to picking up their race day bibs at the NYRR Run Center, that will not be an option this time around. Further, you will not be able to pick your bibs up on the morning of the race either! That makes it super important that you plan some time either on the Thursday (11:00am – 9:00pm), Friday (11:00am – 9:00pm) or Saturday (9:00am – 6:00pm) before the race to make it down to the Expo. The Expo is located at 125 west 18th street, New York, NY 10011 (between 6th and 7th avenues).
* Note the times listed above for the expo were the times that the Expo was open in 2018. The hours of the expo have not been listed yet but will likely be listed a couple of weeks before the race. It is likely they will be similar but check back here closer to race day for the exact operating times of the Expo!
When heading to the Expo, give yourself some time to be there. Getting your bib and race shirt should be quick, but there is usually a lot of fun little things for you to see or do there. A race pacer booth will be set up so that you can speak with race pacers to talk about strategy to meet your desired goal time. I was able to confirm with NYRR that you will be able to pick up a “race pace” bracelet at the expo to help you keep pace with your desired goal time. These are several different bracelets each with a different goal time. The bracelet then tells you the mile splits you will need to hit in order to run that bracelet’s goal target time. Among other things to do at the expo is look for your name on the wall of runners, take some pictures or do some shopping from the racks of merchandise they are sure to have! The official race day gear sponsor New Balance will be on hand and sometimes you can score some free giveaways! Whatever it is, just give yourself some time at the Expo! You won’t regret it!
If you can’t fit some time in to get to Expo yourself, there is an option to send someone as your proxy to get your bib. That involves having your proxy bring a copy of your photo ID, with your name matching the name attached to the bib. Your proxy should also have a copy of your race day confirmation form. Your race day confirmation form can be found by logging into your NYRR account. This will be available a couple of weeks before the race so don’t panic about having that yet! While this is an option, you will miss all of the fun at the expo!
Know Your Transportation To The Start Line!
This is the first year that the course will start in Brooklyn and end in Manhattan. As such you will have to plan out your traveling plans in order to get to the starting line on time! The race is on a Sunday morning which means New York City subways will be operating with less trains than they usually do during the week. Further, the NYC MTA has a tendency of doing a lot of track work on weekends. This means give yourself lots of commuting time if you will be riding the subways to the race that morning. Last year, New York Road Runners Club released a detailed diagram of Prospect Park and where runners will need to go to enter the starting corrals. Based on that diagram below, it looks like the Q, 4 & 5 trains are the preferred subways to take the start of the race. One important thing to note, even though it is advertised that the race will start in Grand Army Plaza, runners will have to enter the corrals on the other side of the park over by Flatbush Avenue & Empire Blvd. Make note of that and make sure you travel to the right location! Traveling to the Grand Army Plaza station will only make you walk all the way around to the start of the corrals.
Diagram of the starting line for the United NYC half!
One thing that I STRONGLY urge you to do is check out the service advisory section of the MTA website. They are notorious for scheduling track work or other maintenance that can severely affect train service on the weekend. The last thing you want to do is be on your way to the race, only to find out that morning that the train you planned on taking that morning was not working! Plan ahead! To assist with that, the MTA actually has a “Trip Planner” available. This trip planner takes into consideration any service advisories that may be in play that day. I tested this a couple of weeks back when I did my trial run of the course (click here to read my review of the course!). The day I used the Trip Planner, there were service advisories for the subway lines I used that day. The trip planner told me about them and factored them into my traveling time. I got to the starting line to meet my group for the trial run on time with no issues just as the trip planner had planned it out for me! For reference the name of the subway stops you can travel to are in the graphic above. Enter those subway station names into the trip planner along with the station you are traveling from. It works – use it!
Aside from subways, NYC taxi cabs, Uber & Lyft are an option. Just keep in mind, traffic to that area will be heavy. Further street closures in Brooklyn leading up to the park may snarl traffic. Give yourself some time if you plan on taking some form of car service to the start! As for driving yourself, I strongly suggest against it. 25,000 people will be heading to the start area. I tried to park at Prospect Park a few weeks ago for a race that only had 5,000 participants and it was chaos on that day! Imagine having 5 times the number of runners and trying to look for parking! Leave your car at home!
Planning Your Day Before The Race
Many folks will be traveling into New York City specifically for the race. If you are like many of these folks, you might be getting to New York on Thursday, Friday or even Saturday. If you are lucky enough to get in Thursday or Friday, do your moving around the city those days. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday March 16th because St Patricks Day falls on a Sunday this year. The Catholic Church will not allow the parade to occur on a Sunday so the parade will be on Saturday instead! With that said, Manhattan is full of parade goers and party goers looking to seek a celebration or two in honor of the famous Irishman! The festivities always seem to end up in an abundance of alcohol being consumed so if you had your heart set on going to a restaurant or bar in Manhattan on this Saturday, just know that it may full of festive party goers enjoying St. Patricks’s Day. Further, getting around town may be tough on the day before the race as the parade route goes right up 5th avenue, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. As I mentioned, plan your day on Saturday accordingly to work around the St. Patrick’s Day congestion.
There is no question that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the most popular parade in New York City and one to enjoy if you are ok with having a couple of drinks. But for the person who has trained for weeks in preparation for 13 miles on Sunday, you might want to skip the festivities this year. If you need to unwind with some beverages, seek out hotel bars or lounges who will likely not allow St Patrick’s Day revelers into their establishments. Better yet, by a bottle of wine or a 6 pack and sip comfortably and responsibly in your hotel room if you absolutely must, although personally, I recommend you save it for AFTER the race!
Dressing For The Race & Bag Check
What to wear come race day morning?
Weather in New York City in the month of March is extremely unpredictable. There have been 70 degree days in March and there have been insane snow storms in the month of March. In 2017, the race was run on the heels of a pretty strong snow storm during the week leading up to the race. The temperature at the start of the race was 30 degrees. In 2018 while there was no snow on the ground, the wind chills had the temperature feeling like 20 degrees. While the temperature could be cold at the beginning, it could warm up rather quickly as the race progresses as well. So how does one dress??
I suggest to wear some layers to the race that you will be comfortable parting with. There are close to 25,000 runners competing in the United NYC Half Marathon. This means that the bag check won’t be close to the starting line. In fact if you look at the graphic of the starting area above, the bag check is before you even enter the secure zone. Think hard about what you want to check in and what you will be able to bring with you thru security and to the starting corral. Keep in mind that you can only check in a clear bag. NYRR wants to see the contents contained in your bag. Also, I have confirmed with NYRR that your bag will be transported via courier to the finish line at Central Park so don’t worry about having to come back to Brooklyn to get your stuff! Check your bag in with confidence!
In terms of other items allowed past security, water bottles in excess of one liter will not be allowed. Camelpacks are also not allowed either. To be honest, those likely aren’t even needed. The race course will have a water station just about every mile along with some water stands that will include Gatorade. There is even a “Powebar Gel” station along the Half marathon route!
The security check point will include a metal detector and you will pass thru it like you do at an airport. Your cell phone, keys, money, etc., will go in a dish and then they will wand you and you will go thru a metal detector. All of this means that if you’re checking items into the bag check, you will have to do it early to give yourself enough time to get thru security. This could cause your wait in the corral to be anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
Going back to how you should dress, you will want to stay warm in the corrals for this period of time. This is where the extra layers come into play. Remember, it will be anywhere between 7am – 8am when runners start since there are two waves. Once your wave starts, you can peel a layer or two off and part with them by placing them in one of the several donation bins that will be lining the starting line area. That’s right, you won’t be seeing those items again, so plan accordingly!
Going back to checking in your items at the bag check, one thing to consider when packing your check-in bag, is that it may be cold or rainy this day. Consider packing a dry or warm change of clothes in your check in bag for after the race. The last thing you want to have happen is to be standing around after the race in cold or wet clothes. You can easily duck into a portable john to get out of those wet clothes if you choose after you retrieve your checked in bag. If you despise portable bathrooms like some folks do, you can head over to the New York Road Runners Run Center (320 West 57th street b/w 8th & 9th avenues) which is not too far from the finish line to use some of their changing rooms there.
As of the editing of this article, we are still three plus months away from race day. Its impossible to know the weather but I will update this post a week before the race with the 7 day outlook weather wise and what I would wear to the start that day!
Get To Know The Course
Finally, the course itself! As mentioned earlier, last year New York Road Runners Club decided to change the course route that had been in effect for several years. The race last year started at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and finished in Central Park. The reason for the change is because the race is getting bigger each year and they are looking for a wider course and one that has a larger finish line and finish area. Logistically also, finishing in Central Park allows them to keep the finish area open longer so that runners don’t have to worry about having to finish their race under a certain time.
The course map is just above. If you have run this race before you will notice that this course has a lot more hills than the previous version of it. What make it worse is that a lot of the hills are towards the end of the race. If you look at the elevation chart at the bottom of the below graphic, miles 8 thru the end of the race are a series of climbs most of them which will be in Central Park. Just before that there is a stretch of 7th avenue from 42nd street up until the entrance of Central Park which is all up hill. If this stretch may look familiar to those who have run this race before thats because the race used to run the opposite way down 7th avenue after you exited the park. This year, you are running a slow steady climb for 15 blocks before you get into Central Park! If you haven’t thrown in hill work into your training, now may be the time! For a more comprehensive review of the course, you can read the review I wrote up after I did an actual trial run of the course last year. You can find that article here! I will be doing another trial run of the course now in January and February along with members of We Are NYC Running Club. Check back on this site for more details on when that will be happening!
The Finish Line.
You made it 13.1 miles to the finish in Central Park – CONGRATULATIONS! You’re not done yet! Once you are done with the race, you will still have about a half mile walk. During that walk, family will not be allowed in this half mile are as it is considered a “runners only” area. Family can watch you finish the race during the last mile. See the graphic above and note that they can enter the park on the west side the park via two entrances. They will not be able to meet you however on there other side of the finish line.
Once you have crossed the finish line, you have approximately a half mile walk that will lead you to the southern exit of the park close to Columbus Circle. I highly suggest, that you meet with family away from the park after the race. The area around Columbus Circle will be pure chaos. During your half mile walk you will get your recovery bag, water, and of course, your well deserved medal! There will also be stations set up to take post race pictures with your medals or your friends. Medical tents and bathrooms will be available during this half mile walk as well. It may be a half mile, but trust me, it will pass by really quickly!
Speaking of medals, make sure to get your medals ENGRAVED after the race! I confirmed with NYRR that medal engraving will be available immediately after the race at the NYRR Run Center on Sunday from 10am – 5pm. If you are not in the mood to stand on line to get your medal engraved after the race, medal engraving will also be available at the run center on Monday 3/18 from 12pm – 7pm and on Tuesday 3/19 from 4pm – 7pm. Unfortunately medal engraving is only for NYRR members. However there is nothing stopping you from becoming a NYRR member before the race to not only take advantage of free engraving but to also take part in their future races. Of course as an alternative to all of this, you can also get your medal engraved else where.
I am a stickler for logistics. I put this together because so many of you worked hard to prepare for this race and I don’t want to see you throw it away because you thought you could pick up your bib on race day morning or you took the wrong train to the start or your dressed incorrectly. You deserve better than that! Now go out there are crush this NYC Half Marathon!
If you found this information helpful, then I am glad I could help. As I mentioned earlier, if you happen to be running either the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon or TCS New York City Marathon, I have similar group discussions going on now. Here is the one for the Brooklyn Half and here is the one for TCS NYC Marathon Why not join these groups and get in on all of the information being exchanged there!