The New York Marathon is looming, the gun goes off on November 7th, 2010, and I’m never surprised to have a large number of customers preparing for such an interesting and diverse race!
This is more than street Hot Dogs and slices of Pizza and knowing how to get the subway to 34th street! It’s the New York Marathon, looming with its impending deadline of November 7th! Here is the spotters guide to lots of the little things that you need to think about for NYC (written by a former Brooklyn resident whose apartment was around the 12 mile mark). The first half of the race was like running home. Unfortunately, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
There are two different ways to get out to Staten Island, and whether you take the buses or the Staten Island Ferry, it means that you’re stuck out on the island for a while before the start of the race. What are you taking out there with you? Your singlet, a short sleeve, a long sleeve, gloves, arm sleeves, a waterproof hat, sun block. Yes, you’re going to take a range of clothes that you need in case the weather is wet and cold, wet and warm, cold and dry, or just plain hot. Take a little of everything and decide what you need when you get there. In 1995 it was snowing before the gun at 32 degrees and it got colder during the race, with a wind chill down to 18 degrees! The following year it poured cats and dogs until mile 4 in the race and then heated up with all that moisture in the air. The rest of the race was run in soaked clothes and soggy shoe in New Orleans weather. Motto: be prepared for a little of anything.
The race undulates a lot, and the two bridges are tough little climbs that can throw off your pace targets. Make sure to chill out on those if you don’t hit your pace on the long uphills. This is a race to take in chunks: the first two miles on the bridge, the flats of Brooklyn up 4th Avenue to the Hall of Music, the winding sections through Williamsburg and Long Island City to the 59th St Bridge, 1st Avenue in Manhattan, the short Bronx stretch and 5th Avenue to the park, and finally Central Park.
Best viewing for family members: they can see you in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg on Bedford st, hop the L into Manhattan, take the 4, 5 or 6 up to the upper east side, see you on 1st Avenue when the crowd thins out around E80th st. then walk across to the Park and see you there. Minimal effort, maximum viewing time! Works every time.
My legs always were pretty sore from New York, so I got used to using new shoes that maybe had 20 or 30 miles to them for the race. Something about the constantly changing road surfaces I think. Perhaps it was the downhills from the bridges.
Ah, the bridges! Keep to the middle if you’re on the lower level of the Verranzano Bridge, people are busy peeing from the top level sometimes and the wind can whip that around on the lower deck. When you leave Manhattan to go to the Bronx, stay on the carpeting. The metal grating will cut through your shoes and hurt your feet. The carpeting isn’t perfect, but it definitely helps.
Remember that you’re going to be picking that same bag that you checked on Staten Island in Central Park, and trying to figure what to put on to stop from getting chilled and cramping up. Your spouse or friends can bring some clothes but you may wish to put on some of the pieces that you didn’t use for the race! You’ll want some comfort on the way to food or the hotel. I don’t normally say to think all the way to the finish line, but this time thinking past it will be huge help.
Best of luck in the race! While not flat or fast like Chicago, this race is a great microcosm of what makes New York such a great city: It’s a stunning array of people from all walks of life in celebration of tens of thousands of runners completing an amazing journey for as many reasons as there are people!