I’m back in NYC, and I need to jump right into races, to qualify for the 2020 NYC Marathon!
qualifying for the NYC Marathon
The NYC Marathon is an insanely popular marathon, with over 50,000 runners every year. You can qualify in a few ways:
Being super fast
Entering and winning the ballot, which is hard to do
Completing the 9+1 program
New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organization that puts on the NYC Marathon, figured out an ingenious way to earn extra $. The 9+1 program states that any runner who completes (aka registers, pays for, and runs) 9 NYRR races, volunteers at 1 NYRR event, and is a member in good standing (paid the $40 membership fee) on December 31, 2019 will qualify for a non-complimentary entrance into the 2020 NYC Marathon. This program requires you to spend a lot of money on races…but since I was going to do that anyway, it doesn’t really matter to me. I completed the 9+1 program in 2016 to qualify for the 2017 NYC Marathon. I highly recommend this program to anybody who lives close enough to NYC and has the cash to spare.
Anyway, the Newport 5K is race #1 for my 9+1!
I ran a lot the week before, and a decent amount this week. I didn’t have a goal time in mind, I just wanted to finish the race without taking any walking breaks.
Price: $30. The cheapest NYRR races are $18 (if you’re a member), but since this is a new, fancy race, they raised the price. It’s not the end of the world. Value for money: B
Website: NYRR redid their website, and I’m not a fan. Everything feels bigger/more spread out, and just not as user friendly. They had race instructions in English and Spanish (since it’s a Cinco de Mayo race), which they should do more often! Website: B, because I’m a hater and want them to go back to the old site
Publicity: I follow NYRR on Facebook and Instagram, so I saw info for this race everywhere. Publicity: A
Transportation to race: I took the PATH train from NYC to Hoboken, then walked to the race start. There were volunteers by the PATH train, pointing runners in the right direction, so nobody got lost. It was perfect.
What wasn’t perfect was the NYC subway. I’m currently subletting a room in an apartment in Williamsburg, off the L train. The L train is fucked up and has limited service on nights and weekends. When I left my apartment I only took a credit card. Once I got into Manhattan I tried to add money to my metrocard, to pay for the PATH train…except because I changed my bank info to an international ZIP code, I couldn’t use my credit card…long story short, I took a Lyft home, grabbed my debit card, and took a Lyft back to the PATH train. I then caught a train and had enough time. But still… Transportation: A for PATH, F– for L train, also F– for the Bank of America employees who couldn’t help me to use my credit card.
The best views of NYC are from NJ!
My view on the way to the race, after exiting the PATH train
Weather: The first time I left my apartment, it was chilly and overcast…by the time I got to the race, it was sunny and humid. The cloud coverage came back…but the race was sticky. Probably high 50s/low 60s, but I was dripping in sweat by the end. At least it was a short race!
Start time: 5:00pm. This was amazing! It’s not always doable in the summer, given NYC’s gross humidity, but still, more evening races, please! Start time: A+
Start/finish area: There was a pre/post party, with food trucks. After the race, anybody with ID to prove they were 21+ could get a free beer. (Beer is gross, so I passed). In general, this area was fun, but after the race there was a lot of congestion, getting in and out of the area. This was the only downside of the event. I hope NYRR offers this race in the future, and expands the start/finish area. Start/finish: B+
Race shirt: This isn’t one of NYRR’s premium races, so the shirt was eh. It’s a black t-shirt, which I don’t like since it will be unpleasant to wear in the summer. In addition, it’s quite snug in the arms. Had I tried on the shirt before taking it, I would have sized up. I’ll continue wearing this shirt only when I’ve exhausted my options. Since I knew I would be running a lot of races and therefore getting a lot of race shirts, I didn’t bring too many with me…so until I get some shirts that fit better, I’m stuck with this. Shirt: C
I’ve had better race shirts, and probably won’t bring this back to Israel with me…
What I wore: Whippets singlet, leggings, sunglasses I got from a booth in the start/finish village. I should have raced in shorts, but since I was cold after the race (and ended up going out with friends in the evening and getting home only at 1am), this worked out well.
Bag drop: All NYRR races have complimentary bag drop, which I used. Honestly, before making Aliyah and running races in Israel, bag drops were something I took for granted. Never again! Bag drop: A+
Course: The course was extremely flat, with several turns. I didn’t mind the turns, but at the end of the race my watch recorded that I ran 3.19 miles, when some of my teammates ran 3.13 or 3.14…so I didn’t do a great job of running the tangents (running efficiently, in as straight a line as possible, so that one runs the course in the shortest distance–and therefore time–as possible).
My arbitrary goal that I picked once I started the race was to run a sub-27 minute 5K, meaning that my pace was going to be sub-9:00min/mile. Was I sure I could do this? Not really! But since I was lining up in a corral faster than my current fitness (because NYRR kindly continues to put me in Corral D, which I achieved when I ran a 23:11 5K in 2017), I figured that the energy and speed of the runners around me would carry me for a bit, before I crashed and burned. Smart planning, I know! Now for my splits:
The first mile, I was pleasantly surprised by my time, and assumed I’d immediately slow down, and positive split like a boss. Mile 2 proved this to be true. With one mile to go, I stopped looking at my pace and just tried to haul ass, counting down the distance, and periodically checking my watch to see how much time was left. I kept telling myself that if it got to be too painful, I could slow down…but I kept finding ways to convince myself to continue. In the end, I ran the race in 26:01, or 8:23min/mile. Had I known how close I was, I would have gone just a bit faster, to run a sub-26 minute 5K…oh well! I’m incredibly pleased with my time, and that I was able to kick it into high gear for the last 1.1 miles! Course: A, definitely PR course, as long as it’s not too congested.
Water stations: There were two on the course, but since I was racing and didn’t feel like I needed water, I didn’t make any stops.
Bathrooms: THERE WERE PORT O POTTIES ON THE COURSE! I love NYRR. Bathroons: A+++
Medal: NYRR offers medals for the marathon, half marathon, and a few of the sponsored races. This isn’t one of them. I knew it going in, and have no complaints.
After the race, I got to see my teammates! It was so much fun to catch up with everyone, and it reminded me of why I fell in love with running…and that running with such great people helped me to get fast!
Yay, Dashing Whippets!
After the race, we went to a beer hall to get food.
I loved this race! NYRR puts on the best organized races I’ve experienced, and this was no exception. The congestion in the pre/post race area was the only thing that can be improved. I’m not sure they knew how many people would attend (prior to the race they said there were 7000 runners…there were over 5000 people listed in the results, but there was also a children’s race, so maybe they combined the numbers?), and I sincerely hope that they have a larger space for next year! Sadly, I doubt I’ll be in NYC to run this race in 2020, but for now, I have some very happy memories.