In 1970, a small group of runners—127 to be exact—each paid a $1.00 entry fee and ran a marathon in New York’s Central Park. They kept at it, though, and in 1976, more than 2,000 runners raced through the city’s five boroughs. A mere 40 years later, the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon saw a record setting 51,388 racers cross the finish line, making it the largest marathon in the world. On November 5, the tradition will continue with the 47th running of the TCS New York City Marathon.
The race begins in Staten Island and almost immediately crosses into Brooklyn where, at mile 8, the three starting courses converge into a single course route. From here, runners follow the East River into Queens before crossing over the Queensboro Bridge at mile 15. The cool, quiet stretch of the bridge is the perfect lead up to the loudest cheering section of the race—the 3-mile trek down First Avenue in Manhattan. The race crosses into the Bronx before turning back into Manhattan for the homestretch down Fifth Avenue and the final few miles to the finish line in Central Park.
For those of us watching the race, organizers have staked out some great spots to catch the action (and, yes, there is an app for that). Between miles 2 and 4 in Brooklyn, you can catch the still-fresh-faced runners just after they’ve crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge out of Staten Island. Leading up to the halfway point, Williamsburg and Greenpoint are ideal watching stations. Get there early and grab some delicious drinks and treats before cheering on the runners. Just over the Pulaski Bridge in Queens is the ideal spot for the actual 13.1 mile-marker cheering section. Then there’s Manhattan’s First Avenue. The sidewalks will be packed, but that just adds to the feeling of hustle and bustle we all love about NYC and race day. If you want some shoulder room, watch from the Bronx just over the Willis Avenue Bridge. This area is less crowded, but this is that crucial 20-21 mile stint where runners are tired and feeling the aches of the miles they’ve run. Bring your A-game cheering skills if this is your spot. The final area open to general spectators is Fifth Avenue between East 90th and East 105th Streets. You can catch a final glimpse of your racer before he or she enters the last leg in Central Park. To watch them in Central Park for the last 2 miles of the race, you’ll need to grab a ticket.
To the runner, this is the day you’ve been working so hard for! Remember, most of us don’t sign up for these events just for the prestige or the bragging rights. It’s the love of running, the excitement of the crowds, and, for events like this, the magic of the destination. The TCS New York City Marathon is a time when even New Yorkers are reminded of the unique beauty, diversity, and possibility of their city. Focus on your run, maintain your pace, regulate your breathing. But don’t forget to look around and soak up the day. There will be history, energy, and life all around you. Enjoy all 26.2 miles of your day. You’ve worked hard for it. Make the most of it.
If muscle cramping is an issue for you, you still have time before race week to see how HOTSHOT not only stops cramps, but prevents them from ever happening. Click here to pick up your order of HOTSHOT today. Then, come see us during race week at the Expo! We’ll have product, a great deal or two, and some enthusiastic folks ready to hear your story and answer any questions! You can also find us wherever you go on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. See you in New York!