Getting into the NYC Marathon has gotten harder. Once upon a time, it was if you didn’t get in by the lottery three times you had a guaranteed entry. Well, starting this year that’s gone. The time qualifying standards got a little tighter but let’s be realistic that was totally meaningless to me anyway. So how did I get into the 2014 NYC Marathon?
There’s another option for people who live near New York (or who have friends and family there) called the 9+1 option. You run 9 of the qualifying races (because not all races are qualifiers; the cheaper “no frills” races they introduced this year aren’t marathon qualifiers, for example) and then you volunteer at one (or you pay them $1,000 but let’s be honest you have to be pretty fucking stupid to pay $1,000 to get out of being a course marshal or handing out t-shirts).
- Sign up to volunteer early. The best option, I found, was packet pick up and those go fast. Not only do you not have to get there at 6am on a weekend, but it was so dead when I did it they let us all leave early (Saturday afternoon right after the Scotland 10k). And we got to hear the guy who worked there tell us how much he hated runners.
- It’s crowded. If you hate crowds, well, those Central Park races are not for you. They’re typically pretty crowded. Not to the point that you couldn’t PR, but if you found Disney congested… well… It can get pretty bad. I found the Scotland 10k to be the worst and the Brooklyn half to be the least crowded.
- You’ll get sick of Central Park. The City is a big, wonderful place. You will never see most of it because most races they offer are in Central Park.
- Two words: Fucking. Hills. It’s hilly. Cat Hill is nothing, I hated the Harlem Hills, and fyi if you’re doing a Central Park 1/2 you get to do them twice.
- You don’t have to run them. This probably sounds terrible, but if you have a friend who lives in NYC, they can run as you and qualify you.
- My favorite race: Run for the Parks. It had nothing to do with the course, I just PR’d it big time relative to my other 4 milers.
- Back-to-Back race weekends. If you’re in from out of town, let’s say DC, and you want the most bang for your travel, some weekends offer races on Saturday AND Sunday. This helped me make the most of my weekends. And it left me exhausted.
- PR early. Once you’re a member and set up an account, NYRR will actually keep a record of your fastest average mile time and you won’t be able to change it; that’s what they’ll use to put you in a corral going forward.
Best expo: Fitness 1/2. Excluding the NYC Marathon and NYC Half Marathon expos, the Fitness 1/2 had the best expo for people who want to get free shit. The shirt was from Athleta and (I thought) was super tacky and weird. BUT I GOT A FREE STRING CHEESE CASE.
- Best race shirt: Brooklyn 1/2. I got a New Balance women’s cut tech shirt from this one that I love, despite it being white so it shows sweat stains really quickly. Typically, the race shirts are just regular, bulky cotton shirts. I get the super large ones and my mom uses them for pajamas in the summer.
For more information on individual races, here are some links to race reports: