The 2009 champion has some pointers for the thousands of runners who will line up on Staten Island this weekend.
If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about navigating his way through New York City’s famed five-borough marathon course, it’s 2009 champion Meb Keflezighi. On Sunday, the 39-year-old will be running his ninth New York City Marathon, where he’s finished in the top 10 six times over the course of his storied career.
Here are Keflezighi’s top three tips for making the most of the 26.2-mile trek from the start on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the finish line in Central Park.
Use The First Few Miles To Warm Up
“There’s an advantage to starting on the bridge. Instead of being a 26.2-mile race, it becomes a little over one mile up, then a little over one mile down and people are not going crazy. It’s a 23-mile race, really, because lactic acid isn’t building up yet and your body gets a chance to warm up a little bit more before you get in your groove.”
Be Patient Through 20 Miles
“The trickiest part of the New York course is staying within yourself up to 20 miles. It’s easy to get excited on First Avenue and make a move. That’s when the mind games start. The questions become, “Do I try to make a move or do I wait till 5K to go?” Life is about patience. Marathons are about patience. In hilly races like Boston or New York, patience is huge.”
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Save Something For Central Park
“It’s very important to have something in reserve when you get to Central Park. The hills don’t look too bad when you’re just jogging through it, but when you have 22 or 24 miles in your legs they’re pretty bad. You don’t have to reserve too much, but you need to save a little something for that last 5K so that you’re passing people instead of getting passed.”