Overall Rating
Overall Rating (45 Reviews)
4.7
(45 Ratings)(45 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.1
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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Recent reviews

    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
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    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
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    5
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    5
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    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
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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
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    5
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    4
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    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
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    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
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    4
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    rbfrmrville FIRST-TIMER '18

    It is a great race. Just don't underestimate the bridges they are tough. This was my 3rd marathon in 28 days so I took this slower than the other two. … MORE

    It is a great race. Just don’t underestimate the bridges they are tough. This was my 3rd marathon in 28 days so I took this slower than the other two. I wanted to enjoy it and just take in the environment.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrandonD FIRST-TIMER '18

    Great race. Great scenery. Great crowds. Everything logistically flowed smoothly. Bridges and rolling hills are challenging. The bucket list race every runner should do. MORE

    Great race. Great scenery. Great crowds. Everything logistically flowed smoothly. Bridges and rolling hills are challenging. The bucket list race every runner should do.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    GoRunGolf REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This marathon is the race of all races. You will traverse all 5 boroughs of NYC, with 50,000+ of your new best runner friends. The wait at the start village … MORE

    This marathon is the race of all races. You will traverse all 5 boroughs of NYC, with 50,000+ of your new best runner friends.
    The wait at the start village is really a long wait. Bring clothing/bath towel/bath robe/blanket you can discard to the Goodwill bins at the start. With a late start time and losing an hour for the time change, you will get chilly at the end. Select the poncho for your race exit. It is weatherproof, warm and you walk about a mile less to exit the finish area (1/2 mile is cut out in each direction). Overall this is a very difficult marathon – train hills, hills and hills during your long run. You won’t be sorry that you did!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5
    My Media

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    richdrogpa FIRST-TIMER '18

    Definitely a bucket list item. You have to run it at least once. Enjoy the scenery and cheering crowds. Tough course as all the big hills come up in the … MORE

    Definitely a bucket list item. You have to run it at least once. Enjoy the scenery and cheering crowds. Tough course as all the big hills come up in the last 10 miles of the race. Still, a must do marathon, mainly for the AMAZING crowds;)

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    3

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    mluneau FIRST-TIMER '18

    Bucket list race for any marathoner. Efficiently executed by the staff and volunteers. Running through NYC with the crowd for support was amazing. I would definitely do this race again. MORE

    Bucket list race for any marathoner. Efficiently executed by the staff and volunteers. Running through NYC with the crowd for support was amazing. I would definitely do this race again.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    4

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    Abigail.athana FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was an incredible 1st marathon experience. The course was hilly with the bridges, and the gradual incline at miles 23-24 was ROUGH. But, it is such a dynamic course … MORE

    This was an incredible 1st marathon experience. The course was hilly with the bridges, and the gradual incline at miles 23-24 was ROUGH. But, it is such a dynamic course with so much energy from the spectators throughout that it is easy to stay distracted during the more difficult moments. Because of the size, transportation logistics can be tough (i.e. you have to allow a good four hours in the morning to get to the start village and corrals due to the sheer number of people trying to do the same….), and finding people in the crowds is also a challenge (I missed my family entirely!). The course support by volunteers was incredible – water and Gatorade throughout, as well as energy gels, Vaseline swabs, Biofreeze, rollers, etc. at various points. All-in-all is was an incredibly well-operated event considering the size (50,000 plus participants!) and scope and one that I think anyone would enjoy participating in at some point in their running career. The medals were on point as well – and the recovery bags and post-race ponchos provided just what I needed at the finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
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    4
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    4

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    VTKRAMER FIRST-TIMER '18

    It was a perfect day to run. High of 55 degrees, no wind, sun. It was an all day City-wide party. Music, cheering, high fives except for the bridges, there … MORE

    It was a perfect day to run. High of 55 degrees, no wind, sun. It was an all day City-wide party. Music, cheering, high fives except for the bridges, there were people everywhere. Long walk post race, but otherwise, a perfect day.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Bettejh1 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The New York Marathon is epic, no doubt. It is a huge race in size, notoriety, and mentally. You will read many helpful tips about how to get to the … MORE

    The New York Marathon is epic, no doubt.
    It is a huge race in size, notoriety, and mentally. You will read many helpful tips about how to get to the start, which color is “best”, etc. I was glad to have all that info when I got to Staten Island, but once there, I just went with it.
    Trying to move to another “color” is more effort expended, and any amount of rest you can give your brain will benefit you. With so much going on and your mind trying to process it, you can use energy better saved for the race.
    Hearing that orange has more turns or green is on the bottom…let the organizers take care of getting you going and forget all that.
    Once you get going on the Verazzano bridge, all of that is behind you anyway! Behind you! Get it? I loved the start, that bridge was one of my favorite parts.
    The run through Brooklyn is fairly uneventful; it is pretty flat and the neighborhoods vary by architecture, cultures, etc, so you can look around as you run. If you can, read “A Race Like No Other” for interesting tidbits about the neighborhoods; it made the race come alive for me.
    There are rough areas of roads through the whole first 22 miles, so be aware of pot holes, lane dividers, etc. Keep a lookout at least 3-4 feet ahead of you.
    The Queensboro Bridge was the toughest spot for me. I train a lot on “slight inclines” of 1-3% grade and I find that tougher than hills because of the muscles you use but this seemed soooo long. The Queens Bridge was almost all “slight incline”, you can’t get a GPS signal (I saw and heard many runners around me getting frustrated with this) and that makes it tough to understand why it feels so hard! Coming off that bridge is pretty jarring: the crowd is deafening, but the down-slope feels so great!
    If you have run Boston, you know how great that crowd support can be, but some of the crowds at NY were so large and loud that it took some of the personal feel out of it. If you have earbuds, just leave them in but turn off the music; you can’t hear it anyway in some areas like the end of that bridge.
    I barely noticed any of the other bridges as far as elevation change.
    It is very cool to run down 5th Ave, to see sites as you cross the bridges, to know where you are from all the times you looked at the course map during all your training weeks…
    Once you are on your final stretch, heading south alongside Central Park it feels oddly sad to be almost over. Mile 23 to 24 was the second toughest section for me. I was pretty gassed and my watch stopped working (oddly enough, even though they have nothing to do with each other, my tracking stopped right then, too. My daughter and boyfriend both said they lost tracking of me at mile 23 and thought I must have dropped out). Anyway, I was getting close to my limit at mile 23 and it is an incline. I kept thinking about getting to CP South and Columbus Circle….once there, I made the big right turn back into the park. You are NOT done yet with distance or inclines! But the crowd there felt more personal, more real and warm….I saw a “400 meters to go” sign and boy was I excited!
    I wanted to enjoy this run, live the NYC experience and finish in under 4:30. I lived it, I’ll always remember it…and I finished at 4:29:33, although I didn’t know for several hours (no watch info).
    The logistics: NYC is not easy to get to. Flights, trains, subways are always crowded and can be confusing. Research your travel from after you get off the plane as much as anything.
    Get to the Expo on Friday if you can and spend that day/evening doing some light sightseeing. Save your legs on Saturday by dining local, people watching in the hotel lobby, taking a cab if you must go anywhere farther than a couple blocks.
    I took the bus from the library on race morning. I’d heard the ferry was awesome, but I wanted a nice warm ride to the start (more rest for my brain and legs). I stayed at a hotel between CP and Times Square. This made the walk to the bus short (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 mile) and back from the finish line not awful (about 1 mile).
    The finish line will go by fast. There are volunteers who will give you a Mylar sheet and push you on your way. If you opted for a poncho, you will walk, and walk and walk to get out of the park, but once you get that poncho, you are home free. It drizzled the ENTIRE race in 2017, so many of us were shivering during that long walk and the Mylar sheet didn’t help much, so the Poncho was heaven-sent. Not sure how/if I’ll ever actually use it again.
    Get out and away from the park quickly by getting across Columbus Avenue. If you are meeting family, have them meet you on the far side of Columbus and make your way to Alice’s Tea Cup if you can. It is a tiny oasis of calm and there are a few small tables to rest and have a cup of warm plus a pastry made from many good things.
    I can’t advise regarding the check bag option.
    You can go to the day-after Marathon Monday event at the Pavilion in CP. Go very early if you want to get your medal engraved or buy finisher stuff. The line gets long before it opens. I opted to order my stuff on line and not carry it home to CA. You can walk through the now-deserted finish line and get photos; the signs are all still there on Monday. I got a photo of the Fred Lebow statue, etc. It was worth the walk up there. I did go into the Pavilion to use their roller area on my legs: THAT was incredibly appreciated. You can buy the NY Times and see your name in print, too!!
    So happy and proud (I got in via qualifying time at CIM) to run NYC marathon and I recommend doing it. Although the cost, logistics and desire to always run something new will keep me from running it again, it was EPIC.

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    MARY REPEAT RUNNER '17

    First the logistics: It will take a few hours and waiting in lots of lines to get to the Runners' Village in Staten Island. I'm a New Yorker so I … MORE

    First the logistics: It will take a few hours and waiting in lots of lines to get to the Runners’ Village in Staten Island. I’m a New Yorker so I was going to take the subway to the ferry but the subway was delayed so two other runners – a Canadian and a Croatian – and I jumped in a cab together. Talk about the camaraderie on race day. We got to the ferry and were among the thousands of runners patiently waiting to get on the ferry. We managed to squeeze in and enjoyed the ride. Once embarking, we lined up for the buses. The lines were long but they moved pretty smoothly and we got on a bus that took us to the Village. Getting off the bus, we got our bags searched by security before finally entering the Village where we grabbed coffee, Gatorade and other freebies then we waited in line to use the porta potties. After all that, we were called to our corrals to get ready to run the race. Make sure that you wear layers that you can strip off once you get in your corrals.

    The Race:
    It was exhilarating from the start. The Verrazzano Bridge has an incline but you don’t notice it because of all the adrenaline and excitement of running your first mile. Once you get off the bridge, the screaming starts from the crowds and it never stops (aside from the Dead Quietness of the dreaded Queensboro Bridge). You run through the five boroughs and even though I live in NYC, it was a special feeling to run in your hometown. All the boroughs have their own unique quality. The first half flew by — most of it in a raucous Brooklyn and Queens. It was fantastic with people lined up handing out oranges and cheering you on. I was in great spirits until I realized I was heading towards the bridge. I have bad memories of this bridge from the marathon I ran 18 years earlier. This time I was determined that it wouldn’t set me back. It’s a tough bridge because it’s the longest gap without anybody cheering you on. It’s also an incline that starts to slow you down. This is when you start having to use your mental strength to get through that damn bridge. Once off it, you hear the crowds on First Avenue cheering the runners on. This was my favorite part, mostly because I live in the area and I saw my family. It was a great boost. I loved running in Manhattan. The Bronx slowed me down with another damn bridge, and I started struggling a bit. The bridges are no joke! But I felt another surge of adrenaline as we turned the corner to get back on another bridge to head back to Manhattan. Now we were in the home stretch but that damn 5th Avenue mile with its gradual incline, which wouldn’t have been noticeable on any other day really hurt after 23 miles of running but once I headed into Central Park, it was a great feeling to know I was almost done. Though this was the part that felt so crowded, especially for a 4-hour runner like myself. I felt squashed in and bumped into several people as we headed towards the finish line. That last half mile was amazing with music blaring, people screaming and the time clock so visible. Crossing the finish line was one of the enjoyable moments of my life.

    Post Race: A volunteer put a medal around my neck and gave me a mylar blanket. I grabbed a recovery bag with water/Gatorade, pretzels and fruit and got in the line to get my poncho. I recommend everyone, if they can, to not check a bag and get the freebie poncho as a souvenir. It was warm and comfortable. I hobbled to the the family area, met my friends and rode the subway back home. It was amazing and I loved every second of it… even the damn bridges! Everyone must run NYC once. For me, I plan to run it every year until my legs give out.

    On a side note, the expo and swag are great. Huge Expo at the Jacob Javits Center and nice shirt. So many amazing volunteers and living in NYC, I’m still in awe that every November the streets close for the marathon. If you only run one marathon, make it this one!

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 23, 2018 at 10:08pm

    Wow, you describe this race so beautifully, Mary. Your mention of the crowds on First Avenue reminded me what someone from the NYRR told us at the pre-race expo — that the crowd energy coming off the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan causes runners, on average, to speed up by 5% in that mile. So you really have to be careful to temper your adrenaline. And YES, I'd absolutely agree about the post-race poncho, smart point. Thanks for another awesome review, and good luck this November — and congrats on having such an epic hometown race!

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    isuredbird07 FIRST-TIMER '16

    The NYC Marathon is unlike any other. It feels like a global event from the expo to the finish line. The crowds cheer the whole way, the aid stations are … MORE

    The NYC Marathon is unlike any other. It feels like a global event from the expo to the finish line. The crowds cheer the whole way, the aid stations are long and well staffed, the course separation to ease congestion at the start is awesome. All around, it’s the best race I’ve ever ran and I plan to run it every year I can; despite living more than 5 states away.

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    M_Sohaskey Jul 14, 2018 at 12:57am

    Thanks for your thoughtful review Bill, and awesome Staging Area profile you have! Like you I'm on both a 50 States and World Marathon Majors quest, so I'm glad you found the site and I look forward to following your journey. And so jealous that you'll be running in Antarctica next year — don't know whether you've checked out the reviews and read up on what awaits you, but we went back in 2013 and it's an otherworldly experience like no other. And I'm happy to answer any questions you might have before your trip, feel free to message me through the site!

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    pagovich REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This is one of those races where a good strategy makes a big difference. Be patient the first two miles on the Verrazano Bridge. Most of Brooklyn is flat so … MORE

    This is one of those races where a good strategy makes a big difference. Be patient the first two miles on the Verrazano Bridge. Most of Brooklyn is flat so don’t get ahead of yourself go too fast. The second half has some inclines that can suck some energy out of you. The crowds can get you through all that.

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    dmkimball FIRST-TIMER '17

    I entered my name into the lottery not expecting to get in, but I was ecstatic that it was. The expo was great, the start line and finish line were … MORE

    I entered my name into the lottery not expecting to get in, but I was ecstatic that it was. The expo was great, the start line and finish line were setup nicely, and everything in between was amazing. The amount of spectators was humbling and made the race fun. I would run this again in a heartbeat!

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    rrusso6 FIRST-TIMER '17

    One of the best full marathons that I've done. So smoothly run and great swag. The bridges suck (!!) but overall I enjoyed it. The crowds were great and I … MORE

    One of the best full marathons that I’ve done. So smoothly run and great swag. The bridges suck (!!) but overall I enjoyed it. The crowds were great and I didn’t even need my headphones. I hope to run it again!

    DIFFICULTY
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