Visiting New York City on the Weekend of the Marathon

I think it can go without saying that a trip to New York City is a frenetic whirlwind of food, culture and people. Every trip to this city leaves me in awe of the smorgasbord of choices and adventures. I had visited the city a number of times, but this November, I went on the first weekend of the month over the New York City Marathon.

I decided that this trip would be dedicated solely to soaking up the city from the unique perspective of the marathon weekend and would not chase landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty down. I stayed in the Sheraton in Times Square which was right by the finish line and near all of the running weekend activations.

This is not the weekend to visit the city if you do not like to be surrounded by people. There are 52,000 runners from around the world who touch down in the city and fill the streets with a nervous anticipation as the days build towards race day. If you enjoy an electrifying energy, then start booking your ticket for next year!

The New York City Marathon, as one of the Abott World Marathon Major races, has one of the most incredible race expos that I had ever seen. I had an incredible time picking up my race bib, buying the official New Balance race jacket and surveying every new running gadget, nutrition innovation and recovery technique I could think of.

Because this wasn’t a trip to try out the richest food in the city or experience the sights, I kept my eating simple. I visited the Whole Foods in Times Square frequently to buy bread, bananas, pasta and coffee, or my basic food groups before a marathon.
In the days leading up to the marathon, I went on a run in Central Park with a local running group out of the Jack Rabbit store in Time Warner Centre and visited a number of speaker panels of professional runners who were in for the race.

The day of the marathon, the entire city swarmed the streets. The race begins in Staten Island and travels through all 5 boroughs of the city before ending in Central Park in Manhattan. From the warm welcomes from the volunteers and police force in Staten Island to the hugs and warm congratulations from volunteers at the finish line, the people of New York embrace the marathon and give an incredible experience to visitors. Throughout the course, spectators are 10+ people deep and it is a joyful cacophony of music, clapping, cheers and cowbells. The signs range from inspirational to hilarious and as a participant in the race, you cannot help but smile deeply with each footstep.

As you cross the finish line, it is a spectacular moment, knowing you just raced one of the top five marathons in the world.

I chose to have my post race celebrations at Faces and Names which provided the perfect mixture of indulgent and nourishing after such a long day. Perhaps my favourite moment though, was walking the streets immediately after the marathon, wearing my medal and mylar wrap, and having the people of New York City stop me to congratulate me on my run.

Visiting NYC on the weekend of the marathon is not for everyone, but if you want to see the city light up and come together for one cause, have strangers cheering for strangers and welcoming visitors with open arms, this is the weekend to book your trip.

By Jessica Kuepfer @lacesandlattes