Tips for the TCS NYC Marathon

Happy Wednesday!

Wow does time fly! It has been almost a year since I ran the NYC Marathon! Wow! I still have my photos on my iPhone and my medal is still the lone medal on my “running wall”. I really wish I could be there again this year, but that race is hard to get into and very pricey. Maybe another year! Thinking back to NYC, I have come up with some tips for those going down to the Big Apple this weekend to run the best 42.2KM/26.1 Miles they have ever run.



  1. Your “Ferry Time” is just a suggestion

NYC Marathon’s start line is in Staten Island and is a point to point race. Meaning, like Boston, runners have to travel far to get to the start line. Unlike STWM where I just rolled out of bed, and walked out the door to get to the start line, for NYC I had to travel almost 3(!!) hours to get to the start. If you live on Staten Island or choose to stay there, you just walk to the start. There were some people that parked there, but those spots are long gone by 8am (or earlier). For most runners you have a choice: bus or ferry. You have to make your choice months in advance and you are pretty much stuck with what you get. However, one thing I found out last year is that the whole “Ferry Time” is actually more of a suggestion. When I arrived at the Ferry Station, there had to be thousands of people squished in the terminal. No one checks your bib, nor cares if you get on “your ferry”. I arrived the suggested 30 minutes before my ferry time of 7:45am. The time I actually got on the ferry: maybe 8:15. We kept lining up for a ferry, then it would fill and we would have to go to the other side. The terminal was wall to wall with people. However, the ferry ride itself was fantastic. Make sure you get outside to enjoy the view! After that, it was the bus lines and the ever slow drive to the start. I didn’t even arrive at the start village until 9:45am. It was chaos. If you need time to get yourself ready for the marathon and don’t want to be rushed into the corrals – go early! If you are in the 1st or 2nd wave, do not wait until 7:45am to go – you won’t make it. I saw people with Wave 1/2 bibs in the ferry terminal just chillaxing and having a bagel. There were people on my bus that were wave one, and they didn’t make it to the start, so they had to wait 30 minutes until the next wave. If you don’t care what wave you go on, then relax but otherwise I think a perfect time to be at the Ferry is 7am. However, notice one great thing about the ferry terminal: WIFI!! I believe we had it on the ferry as well. Great for those of us who don’t have US data on our phones.


2. Look out on all the bridges

Runners may hate hills – but the hills at NYC are something else. Make sure, that on that first giant bridge that you look both right and left. The views are incredible. Even though every time I put my head up, I lost my hat and the wind made me cry – I made sure to look out at the views. The other bridges have pretty impressive views of the NYC skyline. Make sure you take a look and maybe a selfie or two. There are tons of other people doing the same thing. Look closely at the reflection in my glasses – tons of people stopped to take pictures!



Sometimes a random runner will be nice and take your picture.

Don’t freak out about the bridges – they really are not that bad. The views help!



3. Watch the Course Video

One thing that totally helped me last year was viewing quite a few videos detailing the race route. Here is a great video released by NYRR. There are lots of other videos. Take an evening and study the course! Brooklyn has the longest section of the course and this one stretch goes straight down a main road for what seems like forever. Before you veer to the left, there is one big building in the road. I remember just wanting to see that building and run towards it as it meant that the first 1/4 of the race was complete. After you make a few turns you head onto what seems like a big party street – enjoy the crowds! But seriously, since I did not know a single part of the course, it really helped to view the course before hand.

4. Go back to the Expo late Saturday afternoon

Last year, I went to the expo in the afternoon, maybe around noon?  It was busy, but not terrible. I did not have to wait in line at all to get in or get my bib. The floor was busier and with a 2 year old, we didn’t stay long. I still ended up buying a few things including my NYC marathon jacket. There was a bit of a discount when I purchased my jacket, but apparently just before the expo clothes there are some great deals on the “official gear”. Last year, Kate from SoCal Runner Gal went in the last hour and apparently Asics NYC gear was really cheap.

But another point is – make sure you buy some gear. I love my Asics jacket! This year’s NYC Marathon gear looks nice (there will be more at the expo).




5. Enjoy the experience!

Running the NYC Marathon is a bucket list item for many. For me, it was on my bucket list before I really even liked running. Don’t forget about why you are there on the big day. Sure, you may want to PB or have a terrific first marathon time – but it is the amazing experience that you want to come away with. Remember how cold and windy it was last year? I was still smiling. Remember how I spent 40 minutes in the portapotties last year? I was still smiling! You should be smiling too! The crowds are unbelievable, even on the worst weather days. You seriously do not need music for this race. I had my iPod in my pocket the entire time and never even thought to listen to music. I met people from all over the world that day – including some folks from Australia. Although I was running by myself, there was never a moment getting to the race that I wasn’t talking to someone. It is all part of the fun, and you really need to make sure that despite what happens running wise, you enjoy the race!


And finally – something I did not do but recommend: Write your name on your shirt! It was one thing that I just didn’t do for whatever reason I think I meant to grab some duct tape or something. Really, it helps. The crowds at NYC are unbelievable. People will call out your name and cheer you on. Do it!

Other tips:

Eric wrote a great post on his blog – he also created a great video on Vimeo. The video makes me want to run the marathon again so badly.

This writer also has great tips about the marathon and he updates it yearly.

Good luck to everyone running NYC this weekend. I will be watching/track a few of you. Special *race hugs* goes to Kaella who will be running her FIRST marathon at NYC and Regan who is returning to NYC for another go at the marathon! GOOD LUCK!!


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1 Comment

  1. Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Great tips.I loved the bridges too and didn’t find them bad to run at all. Maybe because I had psyched myself out by reading race recaps so much that I thought they would be mountains.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Injuries and adjusting race plansMy Profile


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