It’s Not Just About Race Day. Experience the Magic of Marathon Week in New York City
Nothing Quite Like Marathon Week
There is no other excitement in my city quite like TCS New York City Marathon week. I wait all year for the excitement to crescendo. And there is no better sight than marathon week—when it is all around you: street banners, bus and subway ads, and the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion at Tavern on the Green.
Then, it’s only a matter of time before the statue of Fred Lebow (co-founder of the race) is moved to the finish line so he can continue to watch all of the runners as we cross the finish line.
My favorite part of the week is volunteering at the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance, handing out bibs for the race. Talking to first-time and veteran runners, all here for the same thing, is a great way to get hyped for the race.
Although race day is the focus for many, there are lots of other events taking place throughout New York City on race week. For me, the two stand out events in the week are the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance. When you step foot into the expo, you really feel the buzz as runners arrive from all around the world.
The Parade of Nations at the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines is always a great experience. It is amazing to see each nation bursting with pride at the world’s greatest marathon.
Something for Everyone
Sunday may be race day, but in the days leading up to the race, the city transforms into a runner’s paradise. There are three notable locations for runners to immerse themselves in the race-week experience.
Located near the finish line, the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion is a hotspot for celebrity appearances, panel discussions, and various events.
The expo is where you’ll pick up your bib, learn course strategies, and shop for the coolest gear. This is my favorite part of the experience because it’s packed with runners and the vibe is electric.
Finally, the NYRR RUNCENTER is the run hub for runners looking to get some final prep before the big race. Runners can participate in pre-race yoga, shop for gear, and so much more.
The amazing party atmosphere of the TCS New York City Marathon is not only limited to the day of the race, as the week leading up to the race is full of excitement. As is the day after the marathon, #MedalMonday.
Every year, my favorite moment is the morning after the race, when I go to the Marathon Pavilion in Central Park, right next to the finish line, to get my medal engraved with my name and finish time. While I am there, I purchase the special issue of The New York Times and breathe that festive air once more. Lastly, I walk through the park one last time—albeit with tired legs—feeling proud, with my medal still around my neck.
One Week Away From a Memorable Finish
For me, marathon week starts the weekend before race day, with my final long run. I usually join one of the local running groups to run the last 10 miles of the TCS New York City Marathon course.
The highlight of these runs is that they end right at the marathon finish line, where all the grandstands and signage are being set up for race day. It’s a special moment knowing that in one week, you will be crossing that finish line after 26.2 miles.
See the Pros
Marathon Week in New York City is every holiday, every celebration, every great day of your life rolled into one week. It's the best energy I have ever felt, and it's absolutely palpable. And while two of my favorite events happen that week—the NYRR Night of Champions and the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K, where I ran a 5K PR in 2017—my favorite thing about race week isn't an actual event.
Here's my tip: Go for a run in Central Park, ideally on the Bridle Path, one morning before the marathon. Maybe Thursday or Friday morning around 9:00 a.m. You may see the celebrities of the running world: Meb [Keflezighi], Shalane [Flanagan], ‘Desi’ [Linden], Molly [Huddle], and Mary [Keitany].
The Bridle Path during New York City Marathon week is the equivalent of Cookshop during Fashion Week. And yes, if you smile and wave at the pros, they'll probably smile and wave back.
Our sport is the best. If you're a basketball player, you can't just waltz up to a court and shoot hoops alongside LeBron James. But the beauty of running is that you can, in fact, go stride for stride on the roads with Meb. If you can keep up, that is.
Magic of the Expo
When signing up for the TCS New York City Marathon, you will not only enjoy the race on Sunday, but also the whole week. My favorite part is definitely picking up my bib number and visiting the expo. For me, that’s the moment when it all becomes real. You have your bib, you are part of it, and soon you’ll become a TCS New York City Marathon finisher.
The expo is a great place to get all the official gear you’ll be showing off back home, as well as getting the latest runner things you can’t live without.
I don't live in New York City, but I'm lucky that my best friend does, because even when I'm not running the TCS New York City Marathon, I want to be in the city to be part of the electric atmosphere.
As a runner, New York develops a small-town feel. You see familiar race swag, running T-shirts, and marathon jackets dotted around shops, restaurants, and public transport.
There are knowing nods in line to buy bananas, nail bars full of people getting marathon color polish, and every fitness, running, and apparel store in the city hosting events. Runners are the most important people in the city of 8 million for that week, and it's amazing to be part of it.
Last year @milesfitter and I organized a brunch for runners from around the world to meet the day before the race. There were those that had run the TCS New York City Marathon every year, first timers, and those that were on their maiden trip to New York.
We chatted race strategy, cheer zones, elites, what to wear to the start—we'd only just met, but we had so much in common. We had more than 30 people attend last year and I can't wait to see how many we can meet in 2019. Enter the ballot and join us.
Meet Other Runners
One of my favorite parts of the marathon week is meeting and talking to different people across the events, from the Parade of Nations, to the expo, to the start line.
You learn about people’s running journeys and find out what unites us. Back in 2016, I got talking to Patrick Cutter on the bus to the start village. He is a fast runner and a really humble guy. I'm always keen to learn from better runners and he gave me some solid advice about improving my pace, fuel for running, and more.
A Special Week
Marathon week begins with my arrival to New York City and the expo. Everywhere you turn, you see motivated people, some you may already know from other races. Sometimes, it can feel like a class reunion.
Each time I run a marathon, I experience the same nerves leading up to race day. However, it is not just about race day in New York City. Going to the expo, walking around the city the day before and feeling the energy is amazing. It makes marathon week so special.
Experience it for yourself. Apply for a spot in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. The application is open from January 14 through February 14, 2019.