2023 New York City 1/2 Marathon Race Report – by David Dazé

Event Date :
March 19, 2023

Event Location :
New York City

This is a very large race, with nearly 25,000 runners. You get to run across the Manhattan Bridge, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, through Times Square (closed only twice a year, this race and New Year’s Eve) and finish in historic Central Park.

Overall Venue Rating: :
4 – Great

Please rate the course:
4 – Great

Venue & course
This is a tough course, with lots of climbing. You get uphills very early on, in the park in Brooklyn, towards and on the Manhattan Bridge, on 42nd St., 7th Ave., and of course the rolling hills of Central Park to finish it off.

Please rate the aid stations:
5 – Amazing

What was provided at the aid stations?:
Lots of aid stations with plenty of Gatorade and water at each. No shortage of either on the course. Lots of helpful volunteers.

How was the weather? :
Coolish temps for late March in NYC. Was -1C when the race started, and it didn’t warm up much after that. The wind was a factor at times too. I ran in shorts and a long sleeve but there weren’t a lot of other runners in shorts, according to my wife who was at the 18km mark.

My Race Experience:
As is typical with NYRR races, you need to be onsite very early as 25,000 runners can’t be easy to corral. I was at my designated bus pick up spot at 5:30am, arrived at the athletes village just before 7:00 am, for an 8:20 start. So keeping warm was a challenge as the wind was howling. I knew to bring lots of throw away gear, to keep myself warm.

I was in the 3rd wave, 2nd corral. So nearly exactly in the middle of the 25,000 runners. The elite winners started an hour before me, meaning they were practically done just as I was starting. Everything was well organized though, and the gun went off at the exact time that was advertised.

The first 3-4 kms were very congested and it was hard to move around. This actually was probably a good thing as it kept me from going out too quickly. Rolling hills in Prospect park in Brooklyn but nothing to daunting. By km 5 things started to open up a bit and it was easier to pick up speed.

Things got real on the lead up to the Manhattan Bridge. There was a long, steady uphill towards the bridge, then the bridge itself was a steep climb too. In total, one of the longest consecutive uphill stretches I’ve ever raced. The view going into Manhattan, however, is spectacular. Great way to see the skyline.

Coming off the Bridge you get a very nice downhill to the 10km mark. I felt pretty good, going thru the first 10km in 58:47.

You then have a long (several kms) stretch along the FDR parkway. A few ups and downs, but nothing too bad, but you’re along the water and the wind was gusting here. Coming off the Parkway, on to 42nd St., of course I completely missed seeing the UN building. Too focused on running haha 🤦🏻‍♂️

The crowds were starting to build along 42nd
Ave., which was nice, and you ran past some iconic sites, like the NY Public Library and Grand Central Terminal, but it was also a very tough long uphill climb. Quite steep in some places.

The turn on to 7th Ave was amazing. You’re running right through Times Square which has been shut down just for you (and the other runners haha). Lots of crowd support here, music, lights …just a fabulous atmosphere. But again, 7th Ave is one long uphill climb…..and at the 18km I ran right by my hotel! Good thing the street barricades preventing me from turning in haha. I did however see my wife, Paula, cheering on the front step of the hotel.

When you finally get to the top of 7th Ave, you’ve reached Central Park. Homestretch time. I went through the 2nd 10kms in 58:33. Pretty even pacing the entire way.

The crowds are really thick now. Lots of cheering, yelling, signs, noise, music…everything that makes for a good last mile. Central Park is all rolling hills so we were up and down right to the finish (slight downhill thankfully). Lots and lots of volunteers at the finish line to distribute medals, foil blankets, water etc. The key was to keep moving cuz’ there were 10,000+ coming up behind me!

Final stats from NYRR:
2:03:56 chip time
11,904 out of 24,717 finishers
144 out of 425 age group (M60-64)
221 out of 380 Canadians 🇨🇦
Age-graded time: 1:39:01 (my fave stat 😂)

Would you do this event again? Why? :
NYC is unlike any other place. You run past so many iconic sites. Finishing in Central Park is amazing. Definitely glad I ran this race! Not sure I could afford it again though as everything is so expensive. Haha.

Would you recommend this event? Why? :
If you like big events, then this is for you. Also, if you like challenging courses (and who doesn’t 😉) then put NYC on your list. Really well organized.

Closing thoughts. Any hints for others planning to do this race? Where to stay? Things to bring? What to wear? :
Bring throwaway gear for sure. You’re outside for an extended period prior to your run. Manhattan is expensive but really, it’s the place to stay. I walked to the race kit pickup, to the bus pick up spot before the race, and back to my hotel after the finish in Central Park. All within like 10-15 minutes walking. Also a close walk to Broadway if you want to see a show. We did and it was Wicked! 😉😂🧙

Published by judyapiel

Runner, triathlete and coach. Owner of RunK2J, Community Events at Bushtukah. Always looking for a new travel adventure.

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