Hello class of 2019 TCS NYC Marathoners!
While we are still over 3 months away from the actual day of the TCS NYC Marathon, the next couple of days are very important days to all of us. On August 1, New York Road Runners will allow you to go into your profile to let you choose your transportation options as well as your bag check options. All you have to do is log into your account and go to your NYC Marathon entry within your profile and select your options.
For those who have run the marathon before, by now you likely have your preferred options and know how to respond accordingly. It may be helpful for experienced runners to chime in on your opinions below in the comments section!
However, if this is your first time running the race, then it may be worth it for you to proceed reading! Here is how I break down the different options that will be in front of you soon!
NYRR will give you two options with respect to the transportation that they provide to you. Those options are either chartered buses or the Staten Island Ferry. Before I go into these decisions, I will start by saying that your transportation to this race is like no other traveling you have done for any other race. Unless you are staying in Staten Island close to the start village, you will need to give yourself plenty of time to get to the starters village. Remember, there are 60,000 runners making their way to the start line with you!
The FIRST transportation option is a chartered bus that leaves from two (2) locations. You can choose to take a bus that departs from either the NY Public Library (42nd Street & 5th Avenue) or from New Jersey departing from MetLife Stadium (parking lot K).
If you happen to be staying in Manhattan or anywhere near Manhattan, I strongly suggest the buses that leave from the NY Public Library. The bus from the NY Public Library will take you straight to the starters village in Staten Island. In fact this ride is so smooth that the NYC Department of transportation has arranged to have the roads leading to the starting village closed off and strictly only for the buses. It is my thought that NYRR hires every charter bus in NYC for this event because the parade of buses seems to be continuous. NYRR will ask you to pick a time slot where you will board the NYC buses, but to be honest, just show up with plenty of time before your start time and you will be able to board a bus.
With that being said…I strongly suggest giving yourself three hours of traveling and prep prior to your wave start time regardless of which option you choose. Ideally, traveling will take you between 60-90 mins and then getting thru security will take you some time as well. With that being said, it isn’t a bad idea if you factored in even more time to travel!
I can’t comment here about the bus from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey but I have to imagine that it is similar to the bus that leaves from Manhattan and runs very smooth.
The SECOND transportation option is taking the The Staten Island Ferry. Like the buses, the ferry also leaves from Manhattan, near Battery Park, but departs once every half hour. Unlike the buses, it isn’t a continuous departure. If you choose to travel via ferry and you happen to miss a ferry, then you are waiting a half hour for the next one. Something else to keep in mind is that once you are off the ferry, you will still have to board a bus from the ferry terminal to the starters village. In 2018, there were serious delays with this shuttle buses from the ferry terminal. Will NYRR fix them for 2019? Lets hope so!
Bag Check or No bag Check?
Aside from transportation options, NYRR will also ask you to declare whether you will be utilizing their bag check system or not. For ease of reference, you will check your bag in at the starters village in Staten Island and it will then be transported to the finish line area in Central Park. The weather in New York City can be very unpredictable and its hard to say what you will need after your race months in advance. But I will say this, if you plan on meeting someone after the race or if you are staying in Manhattan afterwards, you might want to consider the option against bag check. I say this for a few reasons. The first reason is that if you decline bag check, NYRR give you a very cool insulated poncho. No this isn’t an aluminum heat wrap but a very nice insulated poncho! This poncho cannot be obtained by any other methods other than by declining bag check on the day of the NYC Marathon. A picture of the poncho is below as it is being worn by a bunch of runners!
Also a deterrent of bag check for me is that the walk off after you cross the finish line will be even longer if you have to pick up your bag from bag check. For comparison, the walk off if you opt for no bag check is roughly a half mile to exit the park at which point you receive your poncho and continue on your way, However…if you have to retrieve a bag from bag check, you can end up walking close to a mile to retrieve your bag and you guessed it – no pretty poncho! Walking a mile after you have run 26.2 miles can be quite daunting.
Finally, the third reason I lean away from bag check is because of the complimentary runners aide bag that is given. While the bag is a very nice gesture by NYRR, it will include two bottles of water/gatorade, a protein drink and some other nutrition in the bag. If you are tired, the bag will weigh a bit as will the bag that you retrieve should you be checking one. I just wanted to mention this if you were still considering checking in a bag as carrying two bags after 26.2 miles might be a drag.
Overall, my personal opinion is to decline the bag check and grab the cool poncho. Of course I say this because I will likely stay at a hotel in Manhattan after the race and will just make may way to the hotel to change. But if you have to travel after the race, checking a bag to get into some fresh clothes might be for you. Just give yourself even more time before the start of the race to go thru the bag check area as that will also require more time from you before you start the race.
At the end, lets hope that the decisions that we are about to make in the next couple of days regarding bag check and transportation are the hardest decisions that we will have to make during our journey to the marathon! Making the decisions to run the 26.2 miles was clearly the easy decision right?
If you have any questions regarding the bag check or transportation options you can reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram at @catrunsnyc_2018 . Enjoy your decision making day!