If you haven’t been to the New York City Marathon and this is the first time that you’ll be there to spectate, there are a few tips that you should follow as you look to cheer on those brave enough to run.

New York City Marathon Tips

6. Avoid the Crowds

If you’re not a fan of crowds like me, a lot of place to watch the race can be a little over bearing. If you don’t want to be crammed next to a bunch of strangers for hours on Sunday, go to the Bronx. This may be some of the best advice that someone gives you on race weekend. There are many added benefits. For one, it’s much more sparsely populated, so your friends may actually be able to see you as they run by. Two: you won’t have an up close smell of what you’re fellow bystander had for lunch that day. Three: you’ll be toward the end of the race when runners need the most encouragement.

5. Finish Line Madness

For those bold enough to try and watch runners cross the finish line, make sure you arrive by 7 or 8AM, otherwise it’s difficult to see. Once you’re there, you have to be committed. Once you leave, you won’t be able to make it back. Also make sure to be prepared for the rain. The forecast calls for some showers, and the last thing that you want to do is have to abandon your post to escape from the elements.

4. Watch Out for Pickpockets

Out of towners may not be accustomed to this, but those from NYC have seen it all.

3. Be Prepared for the GPS Tracking to Crash

The GPS widget in each racer’s bib can provide an easy way for friends, family, and spectators to find who they need, but it’s also been known to crash when you need it the most. Let the person who you’ve come to watch know where you’re going to be. This will give them some chance to see you if all else fails.

2. Pack the Essentials

If you plan to watch the race, you’ve committed to being on your feet for hours in an area that wasn’t designed to handle the number of people that will be there on Sunday. Bring your phone, portable charger, subway map, plenty of water, snacks, extra cash (enough to cover expenses but not enough that you’ll regret falling culprit to tip #4), rain jacket, sunscreen, a hat, etc…

1. If You Can’t Be There…

Don’t worry. The race will be televised locally on ABC and nationally on ESPN. You can also stream the race on the watch ESPN app. If you can’t make either of those work, I’m sure you can find a sketchy link on Reddit that will lead to a less than high definition broadcast that will get the job done.


Photo Credit: Steve Pisano