4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

NYC Marathon Course – mess with it?

with one comment

I love how the Wall Street Journal is taking more of a dip into the local NYC world, also covering sports, and really doing a great job of covering the marathon in the last week around our big race.  Last week, there was an article, quoting one of my Twitter friends(!), asking if NYC should have a 2nd marathon race, and today there was another article questioning whether the course should be changed, as the current course is over capacity, creating less than perfect conditions for runners, and hampering growth.  Wanted to provide my thoughts:

Add another – YES!  I am in favor of this.  It will never have the cachet of the main event on the first Sunday of November, but NYC needs other options.  There are other race organizers in NYC besides NYRR, and enough room for them in the city.  In fact, I’m so happy the 13.1 Marathon organization staged a half marathon race in Queens in the spring, which I ran, and it will continue next year, and I’m already registered for that race!  The biggest problem is clearly getting the cooperation of the city agencies necessary to close down the various streets, plus sanitation etc, to make it work, but I bet it can be done in such a way to minimize disruption, although that likely means staying out of Manhattan.  There are lovely places to run in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and upper Manhattan to create a fun and different event.  I personally might not run as I’m focusing on marathons in other states now, but I know many people in NYC that would jump at the chance to run an alternate race.  It really is a travesty that we only have one marathon distance race to choose from in the boroughs.

Change the course? – NO!  Don’t do it.  I think this would be a huge mistake.  The race must cover all five boroughs, and must continue to go through the same amazing neighborhoods currently covered.  The only change I would make is to finish the race on Central Park South, or Central Park West, to ease the congestion that occurs at the end.  I didn’t run this year, so I don’t know if the 10 minute additional separation between waves made any difference, but each of the last 3 years when I ran, the wait and walk to retrieve baggage was completely and utterly horrible.  That is the one thing that should be changed.  Leave everything else as is!  The wave starts creates enough separation at the start of the race, and by and large, the marathon course can easily handle the participants.  It is the start at the bridge, and the area past the finish in Central Park, where more capacity is needed.  Chicago had 37,000 runners, all from one wave, and their finish system, including baggage retrieval, worked great after the race.  I think they simply had a wider space to work with. 

On another side note, a new friend I met at a conference yesterday pointed me to this other article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, profiling a 70 year old guy who races ironman triathlons.  Very inspiring stuff!


Written by SCL

November 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

One Response

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  1. No way should they change the course. It takes a tough runner to win in NYC. Keep the 5 borough course it what makes the race so unique.

    Good suggestion about an alternate race.


    November 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

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