Overall Rating
Overall Rating (83 Reviews)
4.7
(83 Ratings) 🏆 (83 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.8
SWAG
4.4
The TCS New York City Marathon course is a 26.2-mile block party through the world’s most diverse city, and a model for big-city marathons around the world. As the most popular and inclusive marathon in the world, the event attracts the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of … MORE
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Recent reviews

    sohobrad REPEAT RUNNER '21

    I’m an avid New York who leads running tours in every corner of our city, but the NYC Marathon was never among my faves…until now. The course is pretty difficult … MORE

    I’m an avid New York who leads running tours in every corner of our city, but the NYC Marathon was never among my faves…until now. The course is pretty difficult and forsakes some of New York’s best streets in order to handle 50,000 runners. But 2021 was the most fun a runner can have in a Major. The crowds created a euphoric atmosphere. The best ever and probably the best possible. Every block had the intensity of a goal-line stand. Organization was impeccable and facilities bountiful. The weather was, once again, ideal. Even the course seemed more attractive than last years. My time was far off the mark, but the fun was off the charts!

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    MissPatRuns FIRST-TIMER '21

    I wanted to run the 50th anniversary of the marathon and though I lost my mental mojo because of the delay from 2020 and anticipation of the wait time to … MORE

    I wanted to run the 50th anniversary of the marathon and though I lost my mental mojo because of the delay from 2020 and anticipation of the wait time to start, I stayed the course. It was a beautiful day! Plenty of porta pots, bus ride to the start was easy and smooth, but for us slower runners, the wait for noon start was a little much. Many spectators stayed out to cheer on us back of the packers but I felt a little disappointed that the bands had packed up. I finished in the dark due to too many bladder breaks and the time change but it was still awesome. I followed advice put my name on my shirt and it was awesome hearing people call out my name, even kids. My eardrums were hurting from the enthusiastic crowds! I love that cars are never close, they block the streets far enough away that you never have to see them and it was such a weight lifted. In my hometown, police have to stop traffic at lights and some police let people sneak between slow runners and many drivers are impatient and have disobeyed orders to stop. So it was awesome to not deal with this! Running over bridges was not too bad. The Verrazano at the start is an incline and I have seen multiple FB posts about how hard the race is, but I did not feel that way. It is challenging but I thought it was more my training went off the rails and as mentioned, my mental was a little off. I was a little disappointed that I was a half hour over my first marathon in 2018, so I may have to do this one again. The medal is a big, heavy, gold 50th beauty! The expo was ok but they had no trinket type items you could take home for people, everything was pretty expensive. But I shopped till my credit card melted..lol! I strongly recommend this race for the experience. The volunteers were awesome and the crowds love this event and show it, in particular those out for brunch and drinks. I ran the virtual marathon and fund raised for Team for Kids in 2019 so I could have guaranteed entry for 2020, which of course was cancelled. So, do what you need to if you don’t want to chance the lottery, you will love it!

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    5
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    4
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    5
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    drrobert909 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This was my 7th marathon and my first NYC and though this was a much more tamed down version it still was ridiculously awesome. The expo was clearly not as … MORE

    This was my 7th marathon and my first NYC and though this was a much more tamed down version it still was ridiculously awesome.

    The expo was clearly not as large as previous years and I’m sure in the future it will return to the much larger expo people are used to. The giveaway shirt was good and the New Balance section still had a lot to offer though very pricy.

    The race itself was outstanding. The crowd support was great, the volunteers were perfect. There were definitely enough aid stations plus many unofficial aid as well.

    The finisher medal was top notch. Thought they would have done something better this year with the Poncho since it was the “50th” anniversary (debatable.”)

    Overall, can not wait to run this again!

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    5
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    5
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    pablopelos REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Bridges are hilly, most of course is flatish, crowd is great with lots of support. Started off a chilly 41 degrees, warmed up to about 55ish. Well maintained streets, no … MORE

    Bridges are hilly, most of course is flatish, crowd is great with lots of support. Started off a chilly 41 degrees, warmed up to about 55ish. Well maintained streets, no potholes to deal with. Great after race experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    5

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    jodi26.2 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is a "must do" marathon. Nonstop crowd support & all the NYC energy. It's one big street party through all 5 boroughs. Loved being part of the 50th anniversary … MORE

    This is a “must do” marathon. Nonstop crowd support & all the NYC energy. It’s one big street party through all 5 boroughs. Loved being part of the 50th anniversary celebration. I’ll run it again!

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    2
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    5
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    M_Sohaskey Nov 10, 2021 at 6:54pm

    Great to hear Jodi, and congrats on channeling all that Big Apple energy into an impressive new PR! 👏

    Great to hear Jodi, and congrats on channeling all that Big Apple energy into an impressive new PR! 👏

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    jodi26.2 Nov 10, 2021 at 8:05pm

    Thank you!

    Thank you!

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '21

    The first thing you have to understand about this year's marathon, is it was less than half the normal field thanks to COVID and the international travel ban in the … MORE

    The first thing you have to understand about this year’s marathon, is it was less than half the normal field thanks to COVID and the international travel ban in the US.
    The expo was smaller and I honestly didn’t find anything worth visiting aside from the New Balance area and the official marathon experience.
    The shirt is great, I love the design and the sizing (though it ran small as usual) fit perfectly as I’m between sizes anyway.
    On race morning, I took the train/subway/ferry to SI as I live in the NYC area and wasn’t starting until noon. Which brings me to this: The noon start was entirely unnecessary. With such a reduced field, honestly they barely needed 4 waves, forget the full 5. Brooklyn was hopping as usual, but starting at noon means that those of us who were on the course the longest had the least support after the first 12 miles or so. Coming off the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan is described as faster runners as a “wall of sound like none other”. Unfortunately, I got off of the bridge to silence. Nary a cowbell, Manhattan right off of the Queensboro was as silent as the bridge itself. Then the blip in the Bronx practically felt unsafe it was so devoid of people aside from runners and, thankfully, the 2-3 police stationed along the course.
    I didn’t have the best race as my hip flexors weren’t happy with me as of mile 7 or so, but I trudged through. As of the Willis Ave Bridge I couldn’t run anymore and walked the rest of the race.
    Central Park was fun and NYRR volunteers were handing out glowsticks. The finish line after dark was hopping. Honestly, that awesome 50th medal is almost all that kept me going to the finish.
    We thankfully got to exit the park at 72nd street this year, which was a nice change. Everyone got a finisher poncho, but they weren’t special for the 50th which I’d hoped they’d be.

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 10, 2021 at 1:56pm

    Congrats, Katy! Talk about a race weekend like no other... the thought of being greeted by silence coming off the Queensboro Bridge is crazy. Sorry to hear your hip flexors… MORE

    Congrats, Katy! Talk about a race weekend like no other... the thought of being greeted by silence coming off the Queensboro Bridge is crazy. Sorry to hear your hip flexors acted up, but glad you were able to dig deep and persevere to the finish, since that 50th medal has a shine all its own. Rest up, recover well, and thanks for sharing your epic day! LESS

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '21

    After I ran the NYC Marathon for a second time in 2009 I swore I would never run it again. I'm a 50-stater and I have been focused on conquering … MORE

    After I ran the NYC Marathon for a second time in 2009 I swore I would never run it again. I’m a 50-stater and I have been focused on conquering new states. This year, however, I really wanted the medal with a “50” on it (being this is my 50th birthday year). So I signed up. I forgot how special it is to run in your hometown. You get to see friends, co-workers, teammates, and runners you see all the time when training. And the crowds! They seemed extra pumped this year. Perhaps it was to make up for the cancellation of last year’s race (due to COVID), the enthusiasm from the crowd was contagious.

    Due to COVID protocols, there were less runners (it ended up being less than 25k finishers). They did 5 waves instead of 4 waves. The final wave (mine) starting at noon. That was the only downside to the day for me, as it meant finishing in the dark. But with less runners, there were no lines at the port-o-potties! Something I never experienced at any race, let alone a NYC race!

    Unique to this year: you had a select an expo / bib pick-up time. Not a lot of vendors, but there were some. I imagine (or hope!) that the expo will return to normal size and protocols next year.

    Getting to the start: Ferry to Staten Island and then a bus to the start village. I’ve heard this has been mildly stressful other years, but it was super smooth this year.

    Swag: Long sleeve technical shirt and the “50” medal.

    Course: Not easy! Bridges and climbs. But the crowds! Can’t beat the experience.

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    gsnow96 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I was a VIP runner for HoneyStinger brand nutrition for this race which meant a VIP bus to the start, heated VIP tent before the start, and a nice fleece … MORE

    I was a VIP runner for HoneyStinger brand nutrition for this race which meant a VIP bus to the start, heated VIP tent before the start, and a nice fleece lined poncho at the finish. I had never been to NYC and this race goes through all 5 boroughs. The crowds were epic. I’ve never seen so many people at one time and place. This was an unforgettable experience. Plus I finished more than twenty minutes faster than my Boston finish time.

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    pablopelos FIRST-TIMER '19

    Not the easiest marathon with the bridges, but the great crowds really make it, lots of other runners to chat with along the way. For this marathon I take my … MORE

    Not the easiest marathon with the bridges, but the great crowds really make it, lots of other runners to chat with along the way. For this marathon I take my time and enjoy the experience.

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    runningservant Nov 10, 2021 at 1:19pm

    Congrats 👏 👏 👏

    Congrats 👏 👏 👏

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    lassieandmax FIRST-TIMER '19

    I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said. NYC puts on a stellar production. The crowds are amazing and so much fun. Just a few things to note … MORE

    I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said. NYC puts on a stellar production. The crowds are amazing and so much fun.

    Just a few things to note – this will be a VERY long day. You get the start way earlier than your start time and walk forever to get back to the subway. The Subway is extremely crowded so you’ll be lucky if you get a space on the car. its easily a 12 hour day.

    The swag is awesome. I opted for the poncho this year and I’m so glad I did. Its the best poncho ever.

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    5
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    4
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    5

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    kellyscott8 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Great marathon that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! The start is a pain to get to, but nothing beats the crowds or getting to run through … MORE

    Great marathon that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! The start is a pain to get to, but nothing beats the crowds or getting to run through all 5 boroughs on NYC!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    dsbland FIRST-TIMER '19

    Anyone who loves to run marathons needs to run NYC at least once. It took me 3 shots in the lottery and I finally made it for the 2019 running. … MORE

    Anyone who loves to run marathons needs to run NYC at least once. It took me 3 shots in the lottery and I finally made it for the 2019 running. There is no part of the race that is not top-notch. The expo is jam packed with people and vendors, I enjoy spending time at expos so this was terrific for me. I was concerned about logistics but this turned out to be a breeze as well. I stayed in the Battery Park area and had a short walk to the ferry to get to the starting area on Staten Island. After the race, it was a short walk to the subway stop to get back to my hotel. The only draw back was this was the time change weekend which resulted in an extra hour of sleep (yay!) but also meant it was getting dark and quite chilly by the end of my run (yikes!). One of the many unique aspects of the NYC marathon is that if you’re a slower runner you go in the later corrals so my run didn’t even start until almost 11:00am. Finishing after 4:00pm meant the sun was already well on its way to setting. The course was tough but the support was unbelievable, definitely the best marathon experience I have ever had. One tip, when you register you get to choose to either check a bag or get a post race poncho. Definitely choose the poncho, it’s amazing!

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    Kneilan FIRST-TIMER '19

    3rd Abbott World Major, great course, great crowds. Lots to do befor and after the marathon, Lady Liberty, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial MORE

    3rd Abbott World Major, great course, great crowds. Lots to do befor and after the marathon, Lady Liberty, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial

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    cedoyle REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Fun, fast start (e.g. "New York, New York" playing on the loudspeaker and confetti in the air as you start over the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge). Good bands in Brooklyn. Frequent water … MORE

    Fun, fast start (e.g. “New York, New York” playing on the loudspeaker and confetti in the air as you start over the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge). Good bands in Brooklyn. Frequent water stops and timing points. Consistent enthusiastic crowds, but not too overwhelming. Race seemed to be most crowded in the last 5 miles due to narrowing of the running path.

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    chapinwc FIRST-TIMER '19

    NYC marathon should be embraced for what it is- a big city marathon with so many runners and spectators. The course can be crowded and the fans loud. If you … MORE

    NYC marathon should be embraced for what it is- a big city marathon with so many runners and spectators. The course can be crowded and the fans loud. If you can take the Staten Island Ferry-a unique race transportation experience- to the buses that will get you to the start area. Embrace the energy at the beginning of the race and don’t get flustered in the first mile with the congested Verrazzano Bridge climb. If you’re following a pacer/pace group be on your toes and ready to dodge runners to keep pace in that first mile. Don’t trash your quads going too fast on the descent down off the Queensborough Bridge back to Manhattan just before mile 16. Save something for miles 22-24 as you face a sneaky gradual ascent down 5th Avenue into Central Park for the finish. The crowds should help carry you to the finish after mile 24.

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    melissasims3 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first marathon, so I don't have anything to compare it to. It exceeded my expectations - I was nervous after reading reviews about complicated logistics but honestly … MORE

    This was my first marathon, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. It exceeded my expectations – I was nervous after reading reviews about complicated logistics but honestly everything went like clockwork. The weather was stunning, the crowd support was off the charts, there were some hills but they were not terrible. I was disappointed in my finish time – marathons are really hard! But I hope I get lucky in the lottery again next year so I can improve my time. I feel like I learned a lot along the way about how to run a marathon so I’d like to try again. New York is so fantastic – I loved everything (except maybe the long walk out of the park after the race).

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    5

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    ashleekucinski FIRST-TIMER '19

    -Best crowd support you'll ever experience! -Bridges are tough (especially Queensboro because of where it is in the race), but doable -On-course fuel is great! Many options every mile -Expo … MORE

    -Best crowd support you’ll ever experience!
    -Bridges are tough (especially Queensboro because of where it is in the race), but doable
    -On-course fuel is great! Many options every mile
    -Expo is huge. Would’ve liked more discount running gear, but it was still really cool. Tons of cool photo ops!
    -Post-race poncho is awesome. Def pick this over the bag!

    My only gripe is travel to the start line. The Staten Island Ferry took two Subway rides to get to, and then a bus after the ferry took FOREVER. Make sure you use the bathroom before getting on the bus! 🙂

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    matthew.ranalletta REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This was my second time running it, and it was even more enjoyable this time around. The hills on the bridges seem difficult for people, but if you do training … MORE

    This was my second time running it, and it was even more enjoyable this time around. The hills on the bridges seem difficult for people, but if you do training runs on hills and fuel yourself properly during the race, you’ll be fine.

    I think the three different Start Villages are still a bit of a mess organizationally, but I do love that you get free coffee and bagels. And the port-a-potty lines in each village are not that bad compared to other races.

    For those choosing between gear check and post-race poncho (I’ve done both), definitely do the poncho if you can swing it. You exit the finish chute faster, and the poncho is super warm and nice! I’ll definitely be keeping it for future races.

    For transportation, I recommend choosing the Midtown bus option instead of the ferry + bus option. Both take a super long time (2+ hours), but it’s nicer to have a one-seat ride instead of having to transfer.

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    Donnie FIRST-TIMER '19

    Awesome event even with my poor performance. It wasn’t the course or the odd start time. I just ran Chicago three weeks prior so I wasn’t e petting yo do … MORE

    Awesome event even with my poor performance. It wasn’t the course or the odd start time. I just ran Chicago three weeks prior so I wasn’t e petting yo do well but did even worse than expected.
    We stayed in Manhattan so we were able to walk to the expo, a bit of a walk but doable. Also only a mile from the finish line. And about a 15 minute walk to the bus for the start village. While the hotels are a bit pricy it was convenient. I don’t k ow the area but if I were to come back again, I might could find a lower cost hotel.
    Expo is what I expected. I went early to avoid big crowds. We arrived at about 9:30. Left around 10:45 and it was getting packed.
    Great event. Only part that i am not a fan is catching the bus at 5:30 AM to get to the start village and then waiting three plus hours for my start. I understand why but it was still my least favorite part. I even prepared for it, wore two extra layers, brought a heat sheet and a small throw blanket but still was cold. I did manage to get to the village early and they had a limited number of yoga mats so at least I didn’t have to sit/lay on the ground. But I was happy for the upper 40’s low 50’s when running, sitting/laying around in it three hours prior wasn’t fun.
    Also in the start village were bagels, bananas, coffee, & water.
    There are constant announcements that keep you informed of everything you need to know. Lots of restrooms in the village and in the corrals.
    But having said that NYC Marathon is all everyone says it is……….

    Course was great. Not flat but no big hills. Awesome crowds most of the way. Bands and other entertainment along the route. Lots of water stops, official and unofficial. Several stops with gels, bananas, and fuel bars.
    On the bridge around mile 15 there is a place where you can get a good selfie with the skyline in the background
    Finish line moved pretty good. Liked the post race recovery bag, the fact they handed you a bag with your water and recovery food rather than you having to grab everything individually. You still have at least half a mile to a mile to walk before you can exit the runner area then a bit of a walk to the reunion area. So if you are like me and are pretty wiped out post race, be prepared. It took me 45 minutes once I crossed the finish line until I exited the secure area.
    Medal is awesome as expected.
    Probably a one and done for me due to expense but I can see why this is one most everyone wants to run.

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    YanisNanashi FIRST-TIMER '19

    New York Marathon is definitively a once in a liftetime must run marathon for every runner. Organization is amazing and the atmosphere along the course spectacular except of a few … MORE

    New York Marathon is definitively a once in a liftetime must run marathon for every runner. Organization is amazing and the atmosphere along the course spectacular except of a few parts.
    Expo is well organized and even though it was very crowded when I visited the expo on Friday at 11 am waiting times were absolutely ok. The start on Staten Island was breath taking with helicopters flying over Verezzano Bridge and fireworks etc. The starter villages (3 different colors) offered coffee, tea, other drinks, bananas, more than enough toilets etc. Even though we took the ferry 4 hours before the start waiting time was not as horrible as I expected – but to be honest: the weather was sunny and not too cold – I would not like to experience all that with rainy weather. Well, the course is tough – everyone knows that. I expected the bridges to be the toughest parts of the race, but in my opinion the hardest part was 5th avenue with a constant slightly uphill elevation almost at the end of the marathon. From my perspective the weakest part of the race was the finish in Central Park. The atmosphere of the finish is quite poor (compared to e.g. Berlin) and after having reached the finish line the second marathon begins: the marathon to get out of Central Park to get your poncho and to meet your friends. It took me almost 45 minutes constant walking!!! Unfortunately this year´s medal i absolutely not my cup of tea. The design of an apple in my opinion is awkward. Well, all in all a fantastic experience, but I will most probably not run NYC again – too expensive, too stressful getting to the start, waiting, etc.

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