Overall Rating
Overall Rating (12 Reviews)
3.7
(12 Ratings)  (12 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
3.4
PRODUCTION
4.1
SWAG
3.4
This race honors the late NYRR president and New York City Marathon co-founder, Fred Lebow (1932-1994). The course calls for multiple loops of Central Park, which can be a challenge in January! Join the mid-winter fun and camaraderie—and perhaps kick off your training for a spring marathon. You’ll have lots … MORE
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H (° F ) 51 30 45 39 30
L (° F ) 31 13 35 25 13
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Recent reviews

    TWO LAPS AROUND CENTRAL PARK - PAVED AND NOT TOO CROWDED. GOOD NUMBER OF ENERGETIC VOLUNTEERS AND WATER STOPS PLUS ONE GEL STOP. HELPFUL VIRTUAL PRERACE WEBINAR EARLIER IN THE … MORE

    TWO LAPS AROUND CENTRAL PARK – PAVED AND NOT TOO CROWDED. GOOD NUMBER OF ENERGETIC VOLUNTEERS AND WATER STOPS PLUS ONE GEL STOP. HELPFUL VIRTUAL PRERACE WEBINAR EARLIER IN THE WEEK. A LOT OF HYPE ABOUT THE HILLS THAT REALLY WEREN’T SO TOUGH IF YOU LIVE IN A HILLY AREA! SWAG WAS A POMPOM BEANIE AT BIB PICKUP (THERE WAS RACE DAY PICKUP AND MULTIPLE DAYS FOR PICKUP THE WEEK BEFOREHAND). WE WERE GIVEN THE NYC MARATHON PONCHOS AT THE FINISH WHICH WAS A NICE SURPRISE.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This is a race produced by NYRR that takes place in Central Park in January. I decided to do this race because it was a cheap race on a cheap … MORE

    This is a race produced by NYRR that takes place in Central Park in January. I decided to do this race because it was a cheap race on a cheap weekend to visit NYC and there are limited options in the Northeast for winter Half Marathons. This race is super cheap especially for NYC and NYRR. As a NYRR member I only paid $35. I think it is $45 for non-members. This also isn’t tourist season so my hotel was only around $150 per night. It is not the greatest race in the world but if you want to do a half in NYC on a budget this is the one to do. A caveat is the weather could potentially be awful. Luckily this weekend the weather was great maybe actually too great. This race offers packet pick-up either any day the week or so before at the NYRR store in Manhattan or race morning. I got it Saturday at the store and it was easy. Packet also included a nice winter hat. There is no shirt but given the price of the race, a hat is adequate swag for it. Race morning I took the subway and arrived about an hour early. I had to do bag check and it was easy that early but there were longer lines closer to the race. Like all NYRR race, production is really good. The only issue at the start line is there was not nearly enough porta potties for 5000 participants. I stood in line 25 minutes before the start and ended up lining up just as the race was starting. Since I was in the last corral it was not a big deal but especially if you are in an early corral account for the long lines. I noticed there did not appear to be as many back of the packers as the other NYRR races I have done. The race starts on the upper east side of central park and ends on the west side. The race starts at 8am and the corrals move quite fast. I was at the end of the corral and started around 8:15. The course is 2 six-mile loops through central park plus an extra mile. The course is quite cruel as the extra mile includes Harlem Hill the worst hill in Central Park so you do it 3 times. Course is well produced but again the cheap price tag means the course is not closed which with this perfect weather was very annoying. I was unfortunately having stomach issues and had to use the porta potty at mile 2. Since there weren’t enough porta potties at the start there were long lines and I lost about 10 to 15 minutes waiting for the bathroom. By the time I finished using it the fast half marathoners caught up and were on their second loop so most of the first loop was just fast runners running past me as there were much more fast runners than slow runners in this race. There were I think 3 aid stations with water and gatorade and the first had gels the second lap only. There were also mile markers. After the first couple miles the porta potties had less lines but ran out of toilet paper and some were very gross. Central Park is hilly but I know the layout and what is coming so it is never too bad. As I said the first lap was a little disheartening constantly being passed by fast runners so I was looking forward to a more relaxing, quieter second lap. But the second lap was awful because of of non-race participants. The race really thinned out and there were non race participants all over the course. NYRR did put up cones and signs that requested runners stay to one side and non race participants go to the other but the signs were not clear enough and no one was following them. The second lap I was constantly dodging non-race participants. Some of whom were quite rude and expected me to stop for them so they could cross the street or expected me move out of their way. I ended up with 13.5 miles on my GPS due to having to constantly weave around people. This is what I meant by the weather being too good. When I did a NYCRUNs race in Central Park there was worse weather and this was less of an issue. I also think this is probably why there aren’t as many back of the packers for this race as it wasn’t the best experience. None of this was really NYRRs fault and there were no issues from them being in the back. All aid stations were open and well stocked the whole race. There were lots of volunteers and course marshals the entire time. I wish they had more signs or could enforce the runners only section more but I’m not sure how the permits worked and it may not have been allowed to enforce. I was having a slow race mostly due to stomach issues and multiple bathroom breaks. When you subtract that time my finishing time would be about the same as Winter Warrior. I was very happy to get to the top of Harlem Hill the third time for a downhill finish. I did really like the finish line. Race volunteers cheered us on at the back and gave medals. The medal is shaped like a baseball hat and is only okay. One of my smaller half medals but fine for the price of the race. If you want a great medal you need to spend more than $35 on a half. There were also bagels, apples and pretzels. Bag check was very quick at getting my bag back this late in the race. Overall this was not my favorite race experience mostly due to things outside the race’s control. Loops in Central Park aren’t necessarily my favorite especially when it is really crowded but this is a very well produced race for the price. While it wasn’t my favorite race I will likely due it again due to limited race options in January and cheap price. Hopefully if I do it again my stomach will cooperate and I will be back to my normal speed as I think the race would be a better experience not being as far back in the pack.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I always ask myself why I'm running this race again since you go up Harlem Hill a total of 3 times instead of the 2 that just about every other … MORE

    I always ask myself why I’m running this race again since you go up Harlem Hill a total of 3 times instead of the 2 that just about every other Central Park race has, especially since the weather can be so wildly unpredictable. It’s probably because it’s a great value for the cost (especially if you’re a NYRR member), I can take the train/subway, and it’s my birthday weekend.

    This year’s race had ideal weather as it was unseasonably warm and the rain held off until Sunday evening. It was perfect running weather; mostly cloudy and mid/upper 30s to low 40s. The sun even made an appearance.

    The swag was the usual knit pom pom hat and the medal got a makeover from the stopwatch design of the past few years to a baseball style hat which was cute.

    This race has more course spectator turnout than others in the Park, but that was likely because of the weather. For us back of the pack runners, we also had to deal with more people on the race course in the later miles, but there’s not much to be done about that since Central Park is a public space. NYRR did their best – racers had part of the path coned off with signs every so often pointing racers to the left and everyone else to the right, but there’s really no way to police that once the herd thins out.

    The coolest part of the race this year was that I wore a shirt that said “birthday race” so I had just about everyone on the sidelines (and even the announcers) wishing me a happy birthday. I guess only someone who’s truly half crazy celebrates their birthday with a half marathon haha.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 24, 2023 at 9:01pm

    Makes "full" sense to me 😁... happy belated birthday Katy, and glad you got some celebratory shout-outs on the course!

    Makes "full" sense to me 😁... happy belated birthday Katy, and glad you got some celebratory shout-outs on the course!

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    kvazzana FIRST-TIMER '20

    This course was a 2 1/2 loop trip through Central Park. Overall a beautiful scene and run very well by New York Road runner. The course does take you through … MORE

    This course was a 2 1/2 loop trip through Central Park. Overall a beautiful scene and run very well by New York Road runner. The course does take you through three trips over Harlem Hill, which is quite challenging. The last time overs on your way to the finish, which was a little grueling. Pre-race swag was a nice knit hat. Post race there was water, bagels and apples

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Same great race, hard new course. Due to construction on the 72nd street transverse, the course was changed to two full loops of the course and the starting line moved … MORE

    Same great race, hard new course. Due to construction on the 72nd street transverse, the course was changed to two full loops of the course and the starting line moved to the east side near the 102nd street transverse. This meant we had to run up Harlem Hill a total of three times.

    This year’s hat is adorable and fleece lined and the medal was once again a stop watch, only this year the timing hand spins.

    Same easy race day packet pickup and bag check, NYRR now offering a thicker plastic bag deemed reusable…however it can’t handle being packed too full or it starts to break. Not a problem for me, but some folks were having issues. Same decent post race spread with bagels, apples, and pretzels and an easy trip via subway on either side and coming in from Westchester on Metro North.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    BrandonThompson FIRST-TIMER '20

    Cold start but great support by Central Park staff and NYRR staff to clear the roads for the race. The Fred Lebow Half Marathon course is two laps around Central … MORE

    Cold start but great support by Central Park staff and NYRR staff to clear the roads for the race. The Fred Lebow Half Marathon course is two laps around Central Park on roads. Race day packet pickup was convenient. The race was busy but not too crowded. Race medal is shaped like a stopwatch and has a spinning second hand. After race snacks were minimal (bagel, pretzels and an apple) but plenty of water and gatorade stations during the run. Overall, great race in a awesome venue…just hope for warm weather!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    richdrogpa REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Honors Fred Lebow, the father of the NYC marathon. Great half-marathon to jumpstart the season and always solid organization by the NYRR. Fun to do when weather's alright. This year … MORE

    Honors Fred Lebow, the father of the NYC marathon. Great half-marathon to jumpstart the season and always solid organization by the NYRR. Fun to do when weather’s alright. This year was windy, rainy and cold, a true suffer-fest but hey it can’t be easy all the time;)

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was the first year I ran the race. For this race, NYRR has the option to pick up your packet ahead of time or on race morning. They always … MORE

    This was the first year I ran the race. For this race, NYRR has the option to pick up your packet ahead of time or on race morning. They always give out a knit hat instead of a t-shirt and this year’s was very cute.

    The course is in Central Park and is basically the same course as every half marathon in Central Park, so in that regard it’s nothing special; if you’ve run one half marathon in Central Park you’ve run the course for every half marathon in Central Park.

    The weather for this one is always iffy. It’s been run in snow, cancelled, etc. but always sells out so you have to register and cross your fingers. This year we actually lucked out in that the storm that brought northern regions snow and ice brought the city and adjacent suburbs a little snow and then just rain. It was actually in the 40’s for most of the race with a light rain that was actually on and off. By the time the race ended, however, the temperature had dropped to the mid 30’s (which was still not bad).

    The medal is not huge, but it’s good quality, and this year’s was designed to look like a stop watch so it was very cute.

    I can see why this race is popular. Maybe one year the weather will be sunny and unseasonably warm.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 20, 2019 at 6:59pm

    Glad you avoided the worst of the weather and got a nice Sunday run in to boot! And yes, NYC has definitely earned an unseasonably warm January... one of these… MORE

    Glad you avoided the worst of the weather and got a nice Sunday run in to boot! And yes, NYC has definitely earned an unseasonably warm January... one of these years... :) Congrats on getting your 2019 off to a fast start Katy, and thanks for another great review! LESS

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    dungoggallery FIRST-TIMER '18

    nyrr do it well and while this isn’t a five star production it still gets two thumbs up from me. instead of full laps of CP you do three smaller … MORE

    nyrr do it well and while this isn’t a five star production it still gets two thumbs up from me. instead of full laps of CP you do three smaller loops and faster runners lapping slower runners does cause some significant problems. people spreading across the course and water stations are the biggest issues, but that said it is Central Park and it is a race, so you just do your best and get it done. I love the hills and the challenge of running well here. this was a pr for me so yes you can run fast. my tip, dress well before arriving, use the bag check and have something to throw away while you are waiting in the corral…

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '18

    If you live and run in NYC, you are quite used to races in Central Park--rolling hills, multiple loops, some scenery and some spectators. NYRR knows how to put on … MORE

    If you live and run in NYC, you are quite used to races in Central Park–rolling hills, multiple loops, some scenery and some spectators. NYRR knows how to put on a race, so it is quite organized. Because the course involves two 5 mile loops and one ~3 mile loop, there is some bunching up of runners (faster runners looping the slower runners). That can be frustrating for all, but it didn’t seem as bad this year as it was last year.

    Rather than a race shirt, we got a winter hat this year. Similar medal as last year.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    cjstephens REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The weather for this race is usually a little dicey (they've had to cancel and/or make it a "fun run" in previous years). All the same, if you don't like … MORE

    The weather for this race is usually a little dicey (they’ve had to cancel and/or make it a “fun run” in previous years). All the same, if you don’t like heat and want to run two loops of Central Park, this is the race for you.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The weather for this race can be brutal. It was cancelled last year due to a snow storm, it's been freezing cold (one year I wore the exact same clothes … MORE

    The weather for this race can be brutal. It was cancelled last year due to a snow storm, it’s been freezing cold (one year I wore the exact same clothes that I wore to run a marathon on Antartica). This year, though, was mid 40s with high humidity.

    The course was changed this year and I don’t think it was for the better. NYRR races are quite crowded and with this year’s change (3 inner loops instead of 2 full loops of the park) there was more bunching up than normal. This was frustrating for both the fast runners and the back of the packers (me).

    NYRR does know how to run a race, though. Everything is very efficient. Rather than a shirt, they gave a winter hat. The medal was Fred Lebow’s face.

    The course (Central Park) is lots of rolling hills.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 24, 2017 at 12:07pm

    Good choice for the medal! Boy do I remember Antarctica, coldest day either man or planet could tolerate... must have been –40 degrees out there, and that was without the… MORE

    Good choice for the medal! Boy do I remember Antarctica, coldest day either man or planet could tolerate... must have been –40 degrees out there, and that was without the freezing headwind blasting me in the face with every step. I must have worn everything in my closet, including the fur of the polar bear I fought to the death with my bare frigid hands at mile 16! (Help me out here Drew, I've told everyone we barely survived running in Antarctica... sure I may have added a flourish here & there, but it's too late to back off my story now ?) And thanks for another helpful review! LESS

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