Overall Rating
Overall Rating (58 Reviews)
4.6
(58 Ratings)(58 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4.3
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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    One of the most amazing marathons. A 26.2 mile block party through one of the greatest cities in the world. When else will you have the chance to run through … MORE

    One of the most amazing marathons. A 26.2 mile block party through one of the greatest cities in the world. When else will you have the chance to run through all 5 boroughs of NYC?

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    ravyoly FIRST-TIMER '18

    Got in through the lottery FIRST TRY! What can I say but the lottery gods were smiling on me. I applied and was selected to represent my motherland, the Philippines … MORE

    Got in through the lottery FIRST TRY! What can I say but the lottery gods were smiling on me.
    I applied and was selected to represent my motherland, the Philippines and I was honored to be part of the NYCM Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations. Awesome expo. Very organized race. Spectators were cheering from start to finish. I think there were only a couple of quiet moments and they were pretty much on the bridges where spectators were not allowed. I should’ve trained more for this race but I didn’t. I was also told to just take it all in and enjoy the journey….so I did. What an amazing experience! Star #2…..here I come! Berlin or BUST!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    thestudadam FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was a truly amazing experience. I have run large races before but this race was on an entirely different scale. It is also a race that I will never … MORE

    This was a truly amazing experience. I have run large races before but this race was on an entirely different scale. It is also a race that I will never forget.

    I managed to get extremely lucky and get in via the lottery on my first attempt. This race also thankfully gives you a 9 month lead time to plan and prepare since you are notified of your acceptance pretty soon after you apply. This should be standard (WTF London Marathon). They do a good job of sending you lots of emails in the months leading up to the race, lots of them are ad type things but you can’t just ignore them all because important things like your registration confirmation email which you have to take to bib pick up is sent via email, the ferry/bus selection email and well as the email notifying you of your need to pick a post race poncho or check a bag are in there as well so it is not all spam.

    I flew cross country from Seattle on Thursday and then went to our hotel on the upper west side. I highly recommend staying in the upper west side if you can afford it for two reasons: First the exit for people who got post race ponchos dumps out there so you can find hotels that are only a few blocks from the finish, also the #1 red subway line has various stops in the area and drops off at the Staten Island ferry which is also how I recommend that you get to the start line. You can take the #1 red line without having to make any transfers.

    It is important to arrive a few days early to adjust to the time change, but unless you are from the area you will likely want to see some of the sights while also trying to stay off your feet. A few things I would recommend are taking in a Broadway or off Broadway show and then something I never would have though of on my own was the bus tour of the marathon route that my wife bought for me. This was nice for two reasons, it allowed me to see the city and familiarize myself with the course and hills. It also allowed me to have a much better picture of the course in my head in my memories, when I am racing I tend to get in a zone and don’t really notice the scenery around me, i tried to do a little more of this while I ran this race but there are many things I would not have seen without the bus tour.

    EXPO Quality:
    We took the subway across town to get to the EXPO which was a thing to behold. A massive building with banners and decorations everywhere. If you really only want to get in and out to get your bib then you would have an easy time because it was very well organized and not crowded. The rest of the expo was actually quite crowded even on Friday afternoon/evening when I was there. There was tons of merchandise (something I never buy at expos but for a marathon major i made exceptions) and tons of vendors selling everything under the sun. An expo tip for NYC would be that if you find something you like but they only have the item available in giant sizes that won’t fit you, you can find it all online in the weeks after the race for the same price or cheaper. Just take pictures of the tags and item numbers and get it shipped to you, very easy. Do yourself a favor and buy a shirt or two for the memories then at least spend some time walking around. They also have a booth where you can find all of the pacers (I was able to meet the guy I would be running with 3:15) and they also have pace bands you can put on your wrist which would give you all your split times for your goal pace.

    GETTING TO THE START:
    I was scheduled to take the 6:15 Staten Island ferry since I was in Wave 1 (9:50 start time). I took the red #1 line from the upper west side and got to the terminal around 6 am. The terminal was packed and it quickly became apparent that I would not make the 6:15 ferry. My family and I were able to make the 6:30 ferry, barely. The ferry is nice because it allows you to sit down during the transit and it also allows you to go to the bathroom if needed which you can’t do if you take the bus. The ferry also goes close to the statue of liberty which means you can get some nice pictures. Once you get off the ferry things get much more crowded. My family took the free ferry back to Manhattan before heading to the course while I got in a giant line of people waiting for the bus. This probably took close to an hour slowly shuffling forward in a giant crowd of people before we made it to the bus. Then it was a 15 minute drive to the unloading area and another bit of a walk to the start area, security was very tight between the bus and the start area.

    THE START AREA:
    I found this area to be remarkably easy to navigate and really not overly crowded. I was able to find a place to sit down, I was able to walk around and get some free breakfast and the bathroom lines were very short. This all must be taken under the lens of me being there from 8:30-9:00am, i was leaving in wave 1 so not many people from later waves were there, I’m sure things got a little more crowded as the day went on and people who missed their start mixed with people who made it on time. I had warm throw away clothes from good will and was not checking a bag (they still give you a bag for the start area so you can carry a few things), which is what I highly recommend you do. When I entered my corral they had a little walled off area with bins for throw away clothes and plenty of bathrooms although finding a place to really stretch out was a little tight. We were in this area for a long time (probably 30 minutes) but it was completely fine. You then trudge to the start area in a big crowd and hear the national anthem and cannons.

    COURSE/ELEVATION/AID STATIONS:
    The first two miles of the course are the bridge, it is both oddly quiet as there are no spectators but also exciting because you are so amped up to start the race. Do yourself a favor and make sure to take in the view while you are on the bridge. If you are on the lower deck stay near the center as people are famous for peeing off the upper deck and showering those below them. I really don’t understand why because I found bathrooms to be plentiful in the start village.

    When you come off the bridge the spectators are there in full force, make sure to move to the side from time to time to get some high fives. Also if you can write your name on your shirt do it because people will cheer for you directly. Brooklyn is most peoples favorite part of the course due to both the fan support and I suspect that fact that you always feel your best during the early part of the race. You are on slow rolling hills that you need to be careful on to keep your pace. People were on their stoops cheering, church choirs were out front cheering, it was amazing. Queens had fewer fans and was pretty short before you head to Manhattan via the queens-borough bridge.

    That bridge SUCKS, it feels like a 1.5 mile uphill that just wont ever end. The downhill into the wall of sound in Manhattan is great and gives you a lift but that bridge really takes something out of you. The early miles in Manhattan were well attended and fun and it where you finally really have room to spread out across the full breadth of the road. The long straight to the Bronx can really feel long since there is not much to break up the monotony. The Bronx was also quick but well attended and had good cheering sections but it is also at the 20 mile mark so you will probably start to feel it at this stage.

    Coming back into Manhattan there is a very long slow uphill which really started to hurt my pace until you finally reach Central Park. It was a minor boost to make it there and know only 3 miles remained but I was getting tired so it felt super hilly and hard and I wasn’t able to enjoy the beauty because I just was ready to be done. You leave the park for a quick half mile then enter back in on the southern end of the park to “sprint” to the finish. I crossed the line with a 3:18:15 PR. My GPS watch showed I ran an extra half mile which of course is partly due to satellites but also due to not being able to cut tangents due to how crowded it was and due to the amount of weaving around people I was doing. The course doesn’t have steep hills other than the bridges but it is almost never flat, lots of slow uphills and downhills, I would call the elevation deceptively hard. Aid stations throughout the course were plentiful and well stocked, due to the number of racing amateurs you will likely encounter aid stations can be a bit frustrating with people who get a cup and just stop dead in their tracks nearly causing collisions, but that is not the fault of the race just inexperience.

    The finish chute is long, very long. You get your medal and lots of pictures taken then have to walk a good .5-.7 miles even if you did the poncho option which is much shorter than the walk to the gear check line. You get a finishers bag with some food and then you get the wonderful fleece lined poncho. We had some drizzling rain through most of my race so this poncho felt fantastic. I can’t recommend the poncho option over the gear check option enough.

    TSHIRTS/SWAG:
    The free shirt is long sleeve and pretty nice. The design and things were not amazing but because of the race it represents I still really like it. The medal is all one color and if it were a normal race you would call it pretty bland but the medal has been similar for so long that I would call it more classic and understated and again is one I cherish.

    RACE MANAGEMENT:
    First class all the way. It is crowded and you are on your feet for a long time before the race, but when you consider the logistics of organizing the largest marathon in the world and making it go as smoothly as it does it really is amazing. The app they have for the race is great because they have timers at every single mile so your family will have an easy time tracking where you are within less than 5 minutes. Make sure to set up places on the course where you know your family will be, the crowds can be 5-10 people deep in places so you need to know exactly where they will be and again where they will be after the finish so you can find them.

    If you like to run, do this race, enter every year for years if you have to, but if you get the chance to run it you will never regret it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    glenberger FIRST-TIMER '18

    The race was TOUGH!! The bridges will get you if you don't prepare. The support was AMAZING!!! I loved it. I would recommend. The park goes on for FOREVER at … MORE

    The race was TOUGH!! The bridges will get you if you don’t prepare. The support was AMAZING!!! I loved it. I would recommend. The park goes on for FOREVER at the end.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    lauriev2782 FIRST-TIMER '18

    What an experience. People everywhere and they're all so supportive. Scenery is amazing. Security is top notch. Getting around was about as easy as possible in a city as large … MORE

    What an experience. People everywhere and they’re all so supportive. Scenery is amazing. Security is top notch. Getting around was about as easy as possible in a city as large as NYC and so many runners participating.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    cabrack REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is my 2nd time running this race and it was my 10th marathon. I ran this with a friend and kept with her pace. Everything about this race is … MORE

    This is my 2nd time running this race and it was my 10th marathon. I ran this with a friend and kept with her pace. Everything about this race is complicated. Getting to the expo and around the expo is difficult. Getting to the start line is the worst experience ever. The wait for the bathrooms was unbelievable. The bus ride took forever and then the walk to the first toilet was forever. You spend so much time on your feet waiting in lines before the race even starts that you are tired before u start running. The race was so over crowded. There are a ton of spectators but they crowd the course and stand in the street. The finish is horrible. You walk forever to get the cloak and then u walk forever to get out of the park. I don’t understand why people like this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Bettejh1 Jun 10, 2019 at 11:11am

    Like RunnerGirlKT, I also think it is overrated. The NYRR site and other runners go on about all the on-course support, but I found the crowds to be so loud… MORE

    Like RunnerGirlKT, I also think it is overrated. The NYRR site and other runners go on about all the on-course support, but I found the crowds to be so loud and so large that it felt very impersonal. I guess I expected the logistics to be tough...so I wasn't too bothered by that, it was mainly the course and that long, almost rudely managed march out of the CP. I get that they need to keep people moving, but you have tight legs, it was cold and rainy, and there was no idea how much farther you had to go....until you were out. I walked with my arms around the shoulders of a girl who's lips were turning blue from cold...I was really concerned about her until we got to the ponchos and just kept her chatting. Spending all day Saturday resting my legs was an expensive way to be in NY and not see anything. I'm glad I did it but have no desire to repeat it. LESS

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    RunnerGirlKT May 28, 2019 at 5:53pm

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who found the NYC Marathon to be completely overrated! Getting to the start is horrid! Not to mention the entry fee!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who found the NYC Marathon to be completely overrated! Getting to the start is horrid! Not to mention the entry fee!

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    sandtar79 FIRST-TIMER '13

    This race is pricey, but worth every penny, in my opinion! I love the crowd support and getting a taste of each borough. My favorite is running through Brooklyn and … MORE

    This race is pricey, but worth every penny, in my opinion! I love the crowd support and getting a taste of each borough. My favorite is running through Brooklyn and the incredible neighborhood parties they have cheering the runners on. To me, this is just a classic taste of what NYC has to offer and I would love to come back time after time.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '10

    I ran this race as a long run. I even accidentally checked my watch at bag check. I got my entry through being rejected three straight times. I was just … MORE

    I ran this race as a long run. I even accidentally checked my watch at bag check. I got my entry through being rejected three straight times. I was just thrilled to finally run New York – what a race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '15

    It's the New York City Marathon! You'll want to run it. It is an amazing experience. It was a little warm that day. I hoped to BQ, but it wasn't … MORE

    It’s the New York City Marathon! You’ll want to run it. It is an amazing experience. It was a little warm that day. I hoped to BQ, but it wasn’t to be.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '18

    What can I say? Perfect weather and a great training cycle equal a stellar result. I was on pace to break 3 until coming back into Central Park. It's a … MORE

    What can I say? Perfect weather and a great training cycle equal a stellar result. I was on pace to break 3 until coming back into Central Park. It’s a lot harder than you think, but I am very pleased with my effort.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sarastew FIRST-TIMER '18

    It really doesn't get any better than NYC Marathon. I could go on and on for days about how much I loved every aspect of this race. Please add this … MORE

    It really doesn’t get any better than NYC Marathon. I could go on and on for days about how much I loved every aspect of this race. Please add this to your bucket list and DO IT.

    Here is my one and only gripe… The expo. Specifically the new balance portion. Now I realize there were SOOOO many people there, but it was obnoxiously crowded and I felt like I needed a cattle prod to move around.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    mcallaway FIRST-TIMER '16

    It's New York. It's the biggest marathon in the world. In retrospect, probably not the best for my first marathon, but I can't wait to try it again one day. … MORE

    It’s New York. It’s the biggest marathon in the world. In retrospect, probably not the best for my first marathon, but I can’t wait to try it again one day.
    Getting to the starting line was half the battle. Walk to subway. Subway to ferry. Ferry to bus. Stand in line for an hour at ferry terminal waiting for a bus. Bus to starting village. Find the right corral. By the time I got to the starting line at 10:15am, I had been up and moving for 5+ hours…not a very relaxing pre-race experience. I’d pay for an elite pre-race experience next time.
    The race itself is pretty magical. The adrenaline from a million people along every ince of the 26.2 mile course is amazing. Despite the size, the course is well supported with aid stations, etc…as one would expect from the NYRR and a world class event. The SWAG is great. You’ll spend a lot of $ at the expo or the tent in Central Park on additional SWAG. The medal and overcoat are great. The 27th mile walk out of Central Park after the finish is killer.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    mflores711 FIRST-TIMER '18

    As my first large marathon I ever participated in, I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of this race. The expo was well designed, the pre-race corrals were well organized, … MORE

    As my first large marathon I ever participated in, I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of this race. The expo was well designed, the pre-race corrals were well organized, and the post-race goodies were pretty good. What surprised me the most was the amazing crowd support, which made it feel like the runners were all part of a parade with all of the crowd cheering us on. While not an overly difficult course, the size of the marathon is a double-edged sword – there were too many runners to run at my full capacity during the race. I expected it to thin out as the race went on, but I never really got enough room around me to run the way I wanted to. Additionally, several of the runners would stop right in front of me unexpectedly during the race or at water stations, which added to my frustration throughout. I would recommend this race for the experience, but not for anyone looking for a PB.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    libertypenguin FIRST-TIMER '18

    When I found out that non-elite athletes could run NYC, I had to do it; and was able to get a charity spot. During the race: I loved all of … MORE

    When I found out that non-elite athletes could run NYC, I had to do it; and was able to get a charity spot.
    During the race: I loved all of the signs, getting high-5s from hundreds of people; the volunteers, the lady giving out hugs, the Twizzler at m22, coming into Central Park, the crowds, the Finish Line, that heat sheet, the medical staff (cramping & nearing dehydration), the poncho, and being among the crowd at #ProjectFinish!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    slease1 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I ran the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon as a St. Jude Hero and raised money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. As such I had access to the Charity Village at … MORE

    I ran the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon as a St. Jude Hero and raised money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. As such I had access to the Charity Village at the start. St. Jude provided a heated tent, food, coffee, and chairs for all of their runners which was a nice touch. Getting out to Staten Island and Fort Wadsworth was a relatively painless process. I chose to utilize the St. Jude provided bus and it was a slow go from Central Park South out to the start. Having access to the Charity Village made the long wait not so bad. The logistics of getting 50,000+ runners out to the start must be a nightmare, however New York Road Runners pulled it off seamlessly! This event was very well organized and every bit as exciting as advertised. The crowd support was like I’ve never experienced and there were only a few areas along the course where the crowds were sparse (except for the bridges-no spectators allowed on any of them). I started in wave 4 and am a slower runner so I was very impressed with the remaining crowds later in the race. The race volunteers were wonderful and the ones at the finish were especially nice (thanks to ALL of you!). This was my first marathon and I am so happy that I chose NYC! From the expo to the finish the TCS NYC Marathon runs like a well-oiled machine.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    OCSCFan FIRST-TIMER '18

    You will not experience anything like this anywhere else. The crowd support was tremendous. The cheering and encouragement all through the course was uplifting. And kudos to all the volunteers. … MORE

    You will not experience anything like this anywhere else. The crowd support was tremendous. The cheering and encouragement all through the course was uplifting. And kudos to all the volunteers. They were kind, caring and friendly. The planning and organization was world class, flawlessly getting to 52,000 runners to Staten Island and through one of the busiest cities in the world to Central Park.

    As for the race, everything you hear is true. Save your energy until you reach 1st Ave (mile 16). Run very conservatively up to that point. The race is crowded and never really thins out until you reach Manhattan and it’s wide boulevards when you have a little more room to maneuver.

    You would think you’d be waiting a lot at the starting village but you don’t really. Everything takes time, like clearing security into the village or waiting in queue to board the bus. Make sure you have a game plan of things you need to do. The start comes quicker than you expect.

    Overall just enjoy the experience. You might never have another chance.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    basserker FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race was one of the best races I've ever run - time wise and overall experience wise. The production of the race was fantastic. The course itself was challenging, … MORE

    This race was one of the best races I’ve ever run – time wise and overall experience wise. The production of the race was fantastic. The course itself was challenging, but a fantastic tour of New York for someone who had never visited New York prior. The crowds were electric the whole way on the whole course. I highly recommend this race to any marathon lover. Can’t beat a World Major!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    MarkEdwards FIRST-TIMER '00

    Huge is the best description for this race. Runners swag, expo, crowd support, all reflect the big time production of New York. Only thing small was the medal. Tied with … MORE

    Huge is the best description for this race. Runners swag, expo, crowd support, all reflect the big time production of New York. Only thing small was the medal. Tied with my favorite – Chicago.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    ShaneAngove FIRST-TIMER '18

    This young gentlewoman had a father,--O, that 'had'! how sad a passage 'tis!--whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature … MORE

    This young gentlewoman had a father,–O, that
    ‘had’! how sad a passage ’tis!–whose skill was
    almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so
    far, would have made nature immortal, and death
    should have play for lack of work. Would, for the
    king’s sake, he were living! I think it would be
    the death of the king’s disease.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    todd17406 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Largest Marathon in the world. Largest and best expo in the world. 120 countries participate giving an Olympics feel of international unity. 2.5 million screaming spectators. 300 bands. I know … MORE

    Largest Marathon in the world. Largest and best expo in the world. 120 countries participate giving an Olympics feel of international unity. 2.5 million screaming spectators. 300 bands. I know it’s not for everybody, but it is truly an amazing event to participate in. So cool to run through all 5 boroughs and finish in Central Park. Water stops every mile lead to lots of congestion with 52000 runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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  2. New York City Marathon