#MovedMe: Bloggers Reveal Their Favorite Parts of the TCS NYC Marathon Course
In the build up to race day, our expert team of bloggers and social media influencers will be providing top tips and feedback on everything TCS New York City Marathon related. In this piece, these marathoners outline their favorite parts of the iconic 26.2 mile course that goes through New York’s five boroughs.
Butterflies in the Stomach
My favorite part of the course? No brainer: the start. The anticipation of getting into your corral and seeing all the other runners that have the same butterflies in their stomachs that you do.
Then, you finally start moving up to the start line, corralled in by buses, listening to the announcer introduce the professionals. Next, you hear Peter Ciaccia, president, events, and race director, TCS New York City Marathon, asking if there is clearance on the roadway. And then the boom of the cannon that you can feel in your chest, which signals the start of a 26.2-mile party through the greatest city on earth!
Those Magical Last Miles
I firmly believe that every step and every mile of the TCS New York City Marathon is magical. Yes, even the climb up the Queensboro Bridge and the tiny-but-butt-kicking incline on the east side of Central Park's 72nd Street Transverse.
And while the crowds in Brooklyn (you go, Brooklyn) and on First Avenue are great, my favorite spots on the course all come after mile 20. First, there's the Central Park Conservatory Garden on 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. It's where I got married, and when I ran the race in 2016, my husband and dog (above) surprised me by showing up there to cheer. Yes, I cried.
And I love the turn into Central Park on 90th Street and Fifth Avenue. Making that turn means you've made it to the final few miles. It also means you're about to get a nice flat stretch and then cruise down Cat Hill! Central Park is my favorite place on the planet—it's where I became a runner—and there's no greater place to finish a marathon.
Silence Before the Cheers
My favorite part of the TCS New York City Marathon course is the Queensboro Bridge. For almost the entire race, there are millions of spectators cheering you on, but for that stretch up and over the Queensboro, it is eerily silent as the only sound you hear is the breathing and footsteps of fellow runners.
I love that brief stretch as it’s calm and quiet, and in those moments I can I mentally prepare for the last 10 miles of the race. It’s a great point to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling before you chase down the finish line. And what better way to pull you out of the silence and send you on your way to the finish than the party waiting for you along First Avenue?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Toronto, Canada, 11 years ago. I ran the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, which runs through Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that I lived in during my early 20s.
For the first two miles of the race, the only sounds marathoners hear are the feet of their fellow runners hitting the roadway on Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and the helicopters above them. Then, at mile 2, everything changes. Exiting the bridge, runners are welcomed by the loudest, friendliest, most raucous, spectators you’ll find on any course in the world!
Brooklynites are proud of their borough and for the next 10 miles, they’ll welcome you as one of their own as you run through many of their multicultural neighborhoods! Just resist the urge to stop for a slice of pizza this early!
Welcome to Harlem—You’re Almost There
As both a runner and a spectator, my favorite part of the TCS NYC Marathon is, without a doubt, mile 22 in Harlem. As a spectator, you have a clear view of athletes coming directly toward you up Fifth Avenue before they make a right turn to continue onto that final stretch of the marathon into Central Park.
And as a runner, you are met by what is—in my opinion—the liveliest cheer station on the course, which is manned by Harlem Run. It’s directly in front of you as you gather the energy to power through the last 4.2 miles, miles you likely didn't get to in your training, but know you have in you!
That First Turn into the Park!
My favorite part of the TCS NYC Marathon course is when you turn in to Central Park for the first time. As an international runner, it's a place synonymous with New York and runners, so to be entering it for the first time is truly magical.
The paths are lined with cheering spectators, and you know the end is drawing near. When I ran my first NYC Marathon, it was only my second time running in Central Park, so it was even more of a buzz to be racing through the gorgeous green space toward my marathon medal—and huge PR at the time!
Wall of Sound
My favorite part of the course, apart from Queensboro Bridge, is the moment when you come off the bridge itself. You are met head on by the roars of the crowds in Manhattan. You really feel like everyone has come out to support you and basically feel like a celebrity. On the bridge, you get a moment to reflect and take a breath before encountering the incredible cheers.
As you race up First Avenue, you really are well into the double-digit miles, and your legs start to feel it, but the crowds really carry you up into the Bronx.
Party in King’s County
My favorite part of the TCS NYC Marathon course is the stretch through Brooklyn. Hearing the crowd roar in downtown Brooklyn, seeing the funny signs about beating the R train, and feeling the music booming in Bedford–Stuyvesant kept me so pumped.
Since I started my running group in Brooklyn, it has so many familiar faces and scenes I love. The view running over the Pulaski Bridge is also incredible. Brooklyn is the most beautiful borough and no more so than on marathon day.
Calm Before the Storm
The Queensboro Bridge portion of the race truly represents the marathon experience. You’ll have tough moments when the doubts creep in. But you’ll also have moments when your elated.
Here, there’s no crowd support and it’s a quiet part of the race. You can only hear the sound of footsteps as you cover a three-quarter mile incline around mile 15. When you cross the bridge over the East River, enter Manhattan, and take a left, the noise from the crowd is electric. It’s like walking into a surprise birthday party. Additionally, seeing my wife here really lifted my spirts when I ran it in 2016.
That Finish Line Feeling
Excitement. Pride. Victory. The feeling of physical and mental accomplishment. The ultimate runner’s high. But also sadness that it’s almost over. All the feels during the last three miles of the TCS NYC Marathon are my favorite. In 2017, I remember I couldn’t stop smiling and crying—all at the same time. It was life-changing.
The roar of the crowd is deafening and those final rolling hills you have to climb don’t feel as intense anymore. Running the NYC Marathon is a remarkable experience—and finishing in Central Park with thousands of spectators around you will make you feel like a superhero. If this is your first marathon, this is also the final stretch. At the end, you will officially become a marathoner. I will never forget those last three miles and they will always be my favorite part of the race.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Share it, using the hashtag #MovedMe, on social media. And for a look at the TCS New York City Marathon course, click here!