Written by Lindsay Borden
I recently ran the New York Marathon and was blown away by the magnitude of it.
I arrived in New York City on the Friday before the race with many other runners on my plane. while listening in on their conversation, I realized we all had the same plan. We were all going straight from the airport to our hotels to the race expo. This stressed me out a little as I was already nervous about how busy the expo would be since I was arriving at 2 pm and not first thing in the morning.
Being around 36th Street and 11th Avenue, the Javits Centre was very easy to get to. Upon entering, we were immediately able to get our registration package (I like getting these items first so I can then wander through the expo at my leisure). After getting the registration package, we were directed to the Asics area for the Official NYC Marathon accessories, clothing, and footwear. There were a few items in various colours and sizes. This allowed Asics to have a lot of every colour and size and I didn't feel like I had to grab everything before deciding because they might run out of my size. After choosing my clothing, I was directed to a “line”. The line was a crowd of people that was then filtered into a more narrow winding queue (the first of many this weekend). At the end of the line, there were about 8 cash stations with 6 cashiers at each station. Ultimately, this was a pretty efficient process. What was frustrating was when I walked into the rest of the expo after leaving the official gear area and saw an empty Asics booth with all the same clothing!
The expo had a lot of the usual booths, items you might have forgotten to pack, and a few new and interesting items. I did not find that there were many deals that couldn't be missed.
That night, we went for dinner at Hangawi before heading to a play (a relaxing, but entertaining way to spend the evening).
Saturday was a more active day. My sister and I went to a spinning class at Soul Cycle in the morning (I figured that it’s different muscles then running, so shouldn't be a problem). We then did a lot of walking (and eating) through the Soho, the Flatiron District, and Chelsea.
I was able to go to bed early Saturday night and decided to change up my morning routine. Since I was boarding a bus at 6am for a 10:40 am start, I resigned myself to having to use the porta-potties at the starting area and decided to find a place to stretch once there. As a result, I woke up at 5:00 am to eat, wash up, gather my things, go to the washroom, and walk to the Library to board the bus.
I was shocked to see the line of people that wrapped around buildings like a snake from one block to the next. The line moved pretty quickly and all the runners boarded the line of coach buses waiting to take us to Fort Wadsworth. Along the way, I noticed the New York city buses were being used to transport the volunteers. At Fort Wadsworth, there were double decker buses lining the walk from the corrals to the starting line (I think every bus in the city was used for this race).
Time passed at Fort Wadsworth faster than I had expected. The weather was quite pleasant and I found an area to stretch, snack, and read my magazine before starting the race. Soon enough it was time for my wave to get into the corrals (I did try to get into an earlier wave, but was turned away). I made the mistake of giving a time I didn’t want to get less than as opposed to the time I really wanted to try for. This was good and bad. On one hand, I didn’t get to leave earlier or run with the right pacing bunny (especially bad since I forgot the charger for my GPS watch). On the other hand, I did get to line up at the very beginning of the wave and see the soldiers walk us to the start line, the organizers lining the start, Teresa Hui singing the National Anthem, and no crowd of runners to dodge as I began my run into Brooklyn.
The New York City Marathon runs through the 5 boroughs. Spectators line the streets from the beginning to end. There are definitely areas where you will see more people than others, but overall, it is a very well spectated event. The run finishes in central park (don’t start sprinting too soon, it’s longer than you think). Also be prepared for a long walk out of the park (fortunately we were given fleece-lined ponchos and those really helped. My spectators had trouble getting close to the park after the race, so choose a to meet at the family meeting area or along Columbus Ave. or 59th.
Places to stay: this really depends on whether you want to be near the transportation to the start, near the finish, or near attractions you will be visiting. I recommend staying a little off the beaten path to ensure a quiet night’s sleep.
Food - Some of my favourites:
- Van Leeuwen ice cream
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