A Love Letter to the NYC Marathon (+ Chances to Win Guaranteed Entry!)

This post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of New York Road Runners.

I’ve run four marathons: Chicago, Marine Corps and the New York City Marathon twice. 

Whenever someone tells me they’re sort of thinking of a marathon, and sort of thinking of NYC, I tell them that they absolutely have to run it.

nyc marathon

I’ve run more than 50 races in the past few years, and I’ve never smiled and teared up more in one race than at the New York City Marathon.

Marathon Day and the weeks leading up to it excite me the way Christmas did as a kid does.

There’s the usual excitement of finishing a long training season and getting closer to your chance to get out there and make your goals happen, but there’s also the way the city gets into it.

The way those flags line Central Park in the weeks leading up to the race. The way Columbus Circle, the buses and the subway all get in on the act.

You guys know I’m full-on obsessed with that Alec Baldwin marathon video, but it’s so, so true.

We New Yorkers are good people deep down, but in that rush to get where we’re going, we jostle each other. We don’t have patience for those slow tourists that stop in the middle of the street or don’t understand to move in on the subway.

But on Marathon Day, all of that gets brushed aside as 45,000+ New Yorkers and people who have flown in from around the world line up at that same starting line in Staten Island. Millions of our family and friends come out to cheer us on, and cheer on those whom they’ve never met, but who wear their names proudly on their shirts.

It’s a 26.2 mile party through the greatest city in the world. While Manhattan gets most of the glory when people think of NYC, the marathon celebrates all boroughs. (Although Queens and Staten Island get a little bit less love, with most people cursing the Queensborough Bridge.)

The last few (tough, humbling) miles take you down Fifth Ave, into Central Park—where, no matter how much pain you’re in, you can’t help but smile at least a bit at the crowds that line the park—out across Central Park South, where the roar of the crowd is intoxicating, back into the park, to that beautiful orange finish line, wet with happy tears of finishers and sticky with Gatorade.

…but I’m not the only one who feels this way about this glorious race. The NYC Marathon is notoriously difficult to get into. Statistically, I think it’s easier to get into Harvard or win the actual lottery. For years, we’ve all heard rumors about the different solutions NYRR has contemplated to accommodate the demand for this storied race. While they haven’t yet done anything crazy like have it on two days or hold two separate NYC Marathons, they are offering some more chances to win a spot this year.

NYRR will be running a weekly sweepstakes, starting today, 2/3, for the next six weeks. They’ll be pulling 1 winner from each borough and 5 national/international winners every Monday, for a total of 60 winners. Each winner will receive guaranteed, non-complimentary entry to the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. You can apply at tcsnycmarathon.org until March 18, at which point you’ll be put back in the general pool.

NYRR is also hosting a Twitter chat with the hasthag #tcsnycmarathonapply on February 6 at 9pm with Coach Jon Honerkamp, who’s been coaching runners for the past 15 years. His own personal marathon PR is 2:44, and he’s coached Apolo Ohno and my new bestie Summer Sanders to big PRs in the past few years, so he knows a thing or two about running.

Although I think I don’t really want to run a marathon this year, I still couldn’t help but throw my name in the lottery (I haven’t spectated it since 2010, and I can imagine some SERIOUS FOMO watching it, and not running it this year.

Have you ever run the NYC Marathon?/Are you running it this year? What’s your bucket-list marathon? I will tell you that this marathon really spoils you. I have a few other marathons I want to run some day (including Big Sur), but nothing lives up to the magic of this one. And having that homefield advantage ain’t bad, either.

10 comments on “A Love Letter to the NYC Marathon (+ Chances to Win Guaranteed Entry!)

  1. Lily @ Lily Runs the World

    I recently registered for my very first full marathon! It’s in June, and I’m pretty nervous/scared/excited. It’s in Ireland, but I really really want to run the NYC Marathon one day. I was born in Manhattan, so I feel like it would be pretty special.

  2. Francesca

    I still haven’t taken the plunge and done a marathon…although I would love to do the NYC marathon! I’ll need to use this post as motivation to get started with training 🙂

  3. Kayla

    I put my name in the lottery on the first day it was open!!! If I’m chosen it would be my first marathon, so if I get it I’ll take it as a sign from the running gods that it’s my time to run a marathon…

  4. Meghan

    I ran the NYC Marathon this past year, and I am sad to say I totally didn’t love it! I think I have been spoiled by Boston crowds, but I just didn’t feel a connection the way I wish I did. Maybe I will have to give it another try. . .

  5. Zinnia

    I promised myself that I will be running my first marathon this year. So, I am training as early as now. For a starter, I should start with the shortest distance, right? 🙂

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