Overall Rating
Overall Rating (10 Reviews)
3.4
(10 Ratings)  (10 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.1
SCENERY
3.1
PRODUCTION
3.4
SWAG
3.2
NYCRUNS saves the best for last with their classic winter half: the NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon, formerly known as the Frozen Bonsai Half. If you haven’t raced in Central Park in winter you’re in for an off-season treat. You’d never know that the clogged streets of 5th avenue and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is possibly my favorite weekend to visit NYC since the city is all decorated for christmas but it's not too crowded yet so I decided to use this half … MORE

    This is possibly my favorite weekend to visit NYC since the city is all decorated for christmas but it’s not too crowded yet so I decided to use this half marathon as an excuse to visit. Last year I did the 4 miler that NYCRUNS held to replace this race so I’m kind of in between a repeat runner and a first timer. Pre-race communication was pretty good. Things like bag check and porta-potty location were clearer this year. However there were a few details lacking. For instance they referred you to the race page for additional questions but I could not find my question of the race time limit on the race page and had to search around the general NYCRUNS FAQs (BTW – the time limit is 3:30 given my foot injury I was concerned about my finishing time and I wanted to make sure it didn’t have a 3 hour only time limit). This weekend I actually stayed in NJ since I had a race there Sunday and there was a concert I wanted to see in NJ Saturday night. This made parking Friday night easier. I took a cab from NJ to the race and then spent the day in the city and took a cab back. It was nice to not deal with parking in the city. Bibs were mailed which also made race morning pretty stress free. The race started on the upper west side. The finish line and bag check were in the middle of the park a few blocks up. I brought everything with me and didn’t check a bag. Luckily weather wasn’t too bad today. It was in the 40s and drizzly. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect. It was kind of perfect for this race. Last year when I did the 4 miler there was perfect 60 degree weather and all of NYC was in central park so it was a bit chaotic. The weather was just bad enough to deter non-runners from coming to the park but not bad enough to affect the race experience. There was a mass start and self-seeded corrals by pace. It was chipped time with a timing mat at the start and finish. The course is nothing special just 2 1/2 laps around Central Park. If you’ve never run in Central Park it is probably cool the first time. If you live in NYC, you probably get really bored of races here. As a former NYC resident who visits a few times a year I am somewhat in the middle. I don’t mind running in Central Park. It is hilly but I know what to expect. The course utilizes the northern part of the course which is hiller. It only does Harlem Hill twice. I know some runners complained about the hills. I honestly don’t find the hills in Central Park too bad. It’s not a fast course but to me it never seems as difficult as the elevation gain suggest. This felt much easier than the Jingle Bell half last week but my Garmin said they had the same elevation gain. Maybe it’s just I know what’s coming so no hills surprise me. Central Park is pretty. Today was kind of gloomy so it is less pretty than usual. If it snows it is gorgeous. There were plenty of water stops on the course. There were 3, two you passed 3 times and one you passed twice so 8 total and about 1.5 miles apart. I actually wish I didn’t bring a handheld water bottle as I didn’t need it and then was stuck carrying it around the city all day. All aid stations had water and gatorade. There was no on course nutrition so that is one area of improvement. There were also lots of porta potties on the course. Mile markers were accurate and there was a clock at each mile which was great. The race is open so there are occasional tourists and horse-drawn carriages to look out for. The loops are a little annoying since it results in a mix of people running different paces. There were a little over 1000 participants. Overall it wasn’t too bad. I’m guessing it is more annoying for the fast runners weaving around us slow-pokes on their later laps but not much can be done. I was actually feeling good and 5 days of rest allowed my foot to heal somewhat and was making a good pace. I started to feel my foot a bit around mile 8 which is when there were runners around me going to the finish line while I still had a lap to complete which is a bit disheartening. I had to walk a bit more the last lap because of my foot but overall I was very happy with my time for the circumstances and was under 2:45 and over 10 minutes faster than last week. At the finish line you get your medal. It is a nice, big apple themed medal. There were bagels and fruit for snacks along with gatorade. I heard there is normally hot cocoa but I think it was too hot. You can also pick up your shirt at the end. It is a nice long sleeve tech shirt but an ugly mustard yellow this year. Afterwards I walked to Ayurveda Cafe my favorite vegetarian restaurant on the UWS for my post race meal. Overall this is a fine race. It is just laps around central park so don’t expect anything too exciting but production was good and swag was decent. If you are a local or looking for an excuse to visit NYC, it’s a good race to do. However there are more exciting courses in New York state if you are a 50 stater. As I said, I really like visiting NYC this time of year so I will more likely than not do this race again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I always enjoy running this race. It's 2.5 loops of Central Park so it's definitely hilly, but it's well organized and the medal is always nice. This year's medal had … MORE

    I always enjoy running this race. It’s 2.5 loops of Central Park so it’s definitely hilly, but it’s well organized and the medal is always nice. This year’s medal had a unique design to look like a subway mosaic. They also gave out buffs at the finish line with the logo for their Brooklyn Marathon.

    They also offer fruit, bagels, and hot cocoa at the finish.

    This year’s weather was gorgeous. Chilly while waiting for the race to start, but perfect once we got going. Sunny and in the 30s.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    kmusheno FIRST-TIMER '19

    Course: Great course doing 2 1/2 laps around Central Park. Some long declines with one substantial uphill stretch on the two full laps (not present on the 1/2 lap). I … MORE

    Course: Great course doing 2 1/2 laps around Central Park. Some long declines with one substantial uphill stretch on the two full laps (not present on the 1/2 lap). I feel like we got lucky with the weather… cold at the start only to warm up during the race but then cold again once heart rate fell post-race.

    Support: Plenty of aid stations but they needed more volunteers. Post-race refreshments were good however.

    Management: Pre-race was a bit of a mess. Bag check/bib pickup was ~ 8 city blocks away from the start line which made things confusing/chaotic. Long lines for race day packet pickup. Also, poor form to allow a politician to give a pre-race political rant disguised as a pep up speech.

    Swag: Finisher medal and long sleeve cotton tee

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I've run this race at least 4 times now. It's not the most exciting race--you do almost 3 laps of the upper portion of Central Park. But it is convenient, … MORE

    I’ve run this race at least 4 times now. It’s not the most exciting race–you do almost 3 laps of the upper portion of Central Park. But it is convenient, well run, and a good way to get a training run in that ends with getting a medal!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    brbender262 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Good race in NYC Central Park if you're trying to knock NY State off of your list. It's a looping course that gives you good views of the park. MORE

    Good race in NYC Central Park if you’re trying to knock NY State off of your list. It’s a looping course that gives you good views of the park.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is my third time running this particular race. It's a decent race to finish out the year. Central Park is hilly (this route has you going up Cat Hill … MORE

    This is my third time running this particular race. It’s a decent race to finish out the year. Central Park is hilly (this route has you going up Cat Hill 3x and Harlem Hill 2x). NYCRuns races are smaller in scale than NYRR. The race production has definitely improved over the years (it was not uncommon for NYCRuns races to start late and to be a bit chaotic). Long sleeve white technical shirt and decent medal are the swag. Packet pick-up is only 6 hours long on Friday in a store near Union Square. Other options are to pick up on race day and/or have the bib mailed to you (for a fee. The t-shirt would need to be picked up on race day). There is plenty of water and Gatorade and a decent number of port-o-potties.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This was my first time running this race since the name change and the course change. It is now about 2.5 loops of Central Park. This means that you run … MORE

    This was my first time running this race since the name change and the course change. It is now about 2.5 loops of Central Park. This means that you run up Harlem Hill twice and Cat Hill 3 times. The course used to start and end basically in the same place, but now the finish area is in the same place, but the start is about a quarter mile down on 96th street, which is a super easy walk.

    When registering, there was an option to have your bib mailed to you (you’d still have to get the shirt at the race), there was pre race packet pickup, or you could pick up your packet before the race (which I did and was super easy and not crowded). Bag check is super easy (and again uncrowded). It’s well organized and you can basically check any type of bag you want.

    The course itself was hilly, but Central Park is always pretty and you got a thorough tour of it with the exception of the southern tip of the park. There were about 3 water stops, which when you figure the course is 2.5 loops, works out to a water stop roughly every 1.5 miles or so that had both water and gatorade.

    The shirts this year were white (boo), but long sleeve tech shirts with this year’s logo which was an apple on its side with a bite out of the top having the skyline in it with a worm coming out of the apple. The medal is good quality and a good size with a printed ribbon. Post race, ever runner also got a heat sheet and the food/drink options were water/gatorade, apples, bananas, bagels (assorted types with cream cheese/butter if you wanted), and hot chocolate!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Mother Nature added to the scenery for this year's race. Snowfall the day before the race added some beauty and holiday magic to the day. It was cold. And Central … MORE

    Mother Nature added to the scenery for this year’s race. Snowfall the day before the race added some beauty and holiday magic to the day. It was cold. And Central Park is hilly. But it was a good day.

    NYCRuns has been getting more organized–which is nice to see. They almost started EARLY this year (I feel like the often start late). The medal matched the name–it was a big apple.

    The shirt was a long sleeve technical shirt in blue–which I like.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a nice local race that is well run. They give a long sleeve tech shirt and the medal this year was really nice and had a printed ribbon … MORE

    This is a nice local race that is well run. They give a long sleeve tech shirt and the medal this year was really nice and had a printed ribbon and was unique from past years. After the race, they have hot cocoa with unlimited refills and bagels with cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Bag check is super easy and volunteers are always watching your stuff.
    The course was new this year and more challenging. It was two 4 mile loops of the “middle” section of the park and then a 5 mile loop including the Harlem Hills. The Harlem Hills were on the last loop and going up Cat Hill 3 times was something I’m not sure I need to repeat, but breaking up the route like that helped break up the distance. The course has a 3 hour time limit.
    The race is easy to get to on public transit. The 102st entrance to the park is a short walk from the 103rd St. stop on the 6 subway line which you can pick up at Harlem 125th St. if you’re coming from outside of the city.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '16

    The course: 3 loops of Central Park (2 4-mile inner loops 1 5-mile loop). This includes 3 climbs of Cat Hill and 1 climb of Harlem Hill. Long sleeve shirt MORE

    The course: 3 loops of Central Park (2 4-mile inner loops 1 5-mile loop). This includes 3 climbs of Cat Hill and 1 climb of Harlem Hill.

    Long sleeve shirt and nice medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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