This past weekend, more than 20,000 runners ran the streets of New York to finish the United Airlines New York City Half Marathon. I’ve watched this race evolve, like many races these days, from something small and intimate (if there is such a thing in New York City) to big and commercial, with all the bells and whistles, attracting runners from around the country and around the world.
Whereas the NYC Marathon is run in the five boroughs of New York City, and therefore does not go directly by many of the main attractions of Manhattan, the NYC Half Marathon takes you right there, and I mean RIGHT THERE. The course is perfect! I would divide the Half into three portions: (1) Central Park, (2) Times Square, and (3) West Side Highway, including Ground Zero. Each portion is different, but equally great, though I must admit – there is nothing like running through Times Square and 42nd Street.
I repeat: there is nothing like the thrill of running through Times Square and 42nd Street!!
I attended the expo. As I said, it was quite commercial. There were items for sale and some big banners and hoopla. United Airlines had some contest or another, where you had to sign up on an iPad to win, and for that, I received a United Airlines NYC Half Marathon neckwarmer/buff. I have 2 of these to give away! (post to follow).
I’ve run this race many times. This year, having just run a marathon the week before, I came out to cheer for the runners. It was so exciting though that I joined in at the back of the pack and ran most of the course. It was a crisp day, the ambiance was exhilarating and I met some nice people along the way.
The runners first got to spend a few miles on the roads of Central Park.
The race exited Central Park at Seventh Avenue and the course proceeded down Seventh Avenue towards Times Square. Whether at the front or the back of the course – it is still simply awesome!
At Times Square-42nd Street, runners turn onto 42nd Street (past lots of theatres and restaurants) and run west a few streets until they reach the West Side Highway.
The West Side Highway literally is a highway. On the right, is the Hudson River and New Jersey. As you run downtown, you see the World Trade Center as it gets closer and closer. Then there’s a tunnel, and then, like magic, there’s the finish line.
Exiting the tunnel, with the Brooklyn Bridge above, and then, soon after that, arriving at the finish …..
Reporting from the back of the pack, I am proud to say that the race was well organized – with a lot of support and security. Everyone I met was very upbeat. The volunteers were plentiful and the NYPD was everywhere, and the friendliest I’ve ever seen them. New York Road Runners did a good job.
The race finished downtown, near the Staten Island Ferry, Bowling Green, Battery Park, Ground Zero and Wall Street — I would assume this was a perfect opportunity for tourists to stick around and perhaps explore downtown Manhattan.
I jumped on a nearby subway and headed back uptown to find Won’t Run still fast asleep. Just another Sunday in my life.