Why Is The New York City Marathon So Great?

I am not overreacting when I say I spent the majority of Sunday obsessing over the NYC Marathon. I watched the elite race and cried, switching from app to app, looking for updates on my friends participating in the NYC Marathon and reading posts from people I don’t even know. ALL. DAY. LONG. Since I couldn’t be there in person the next best thing was immersing myself into it virtually. #FOMO4LIFE

verrazano bridge nyc marathon start

NYCM starting line circa 2011. Bridge looks preeeeetty much the same. Also I took this photo with a BlackBerry. RIP.

Two notable things (besides the winners of course – here are recaps of the women’s race and men’s race, if you missed them):

  • Hello Molly Huddle! What an inspiring marathon debut. Based on MY six + hour marathon debut (which I’ve since taken 1.5 hours off of, #humblebrag), she could have run almost 2 more marathons in the time in took me to finish my first, (which was San Diego. And brutal).
  • Meb announced the 2017 New York City Marathon would be his last race. (And there will be one more in between, I wonder which?!) It’s sad to think we won’t see him racing but I’m guessing he’ll still be involved in the sport of running.

About the time I realized I have a dent on my inner pinky from my phone being attached to my hand all day, I started pondering what it is about the NYC Marathon that makes it so electric and consuming.

It’s just another day to a lot of people. They don’t know the marathon is happening, or they scroll through Instagram and see a post from ESPN about “running for 4 hours” and laugh about how crazy that sounds, a footnote in their day.

Running for 4 hours? Sounds ruff. [Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

A photo posted by espn (@espn) on

I, on the other hand, am thinking about how many people run and walk for much longer than 4 hours, out there long after the sun began its descent, crossing the finish line with the support of a small but mighty cheer squad, eager to drape medals over the heads of their loved ones.

I’m thinking about that feeling when the sweat starts to dry during the march through Central Park West. When your heart rate slows and that post-run chill starts to set in, that freezing cold you feel on the exposed pieces of skin on your arms and legs, sticking out from your marathon poncho. Sore knees. Burning quads. The looming promise of a beer or your favorite sandwich or your friends meeting you on the corner. When a hot shower and a pair of sweatpants feel like the world’s greatest luxury.

ragnar adirondacks

BECAUSE THEY ARE. Remember Ragnar Relay? Cozying up under a blanket never felt so great.

Accomplishment. Pride. Pure happiness that no thoughts of work, problems, or struggles in life can greedily steal. You’re happy about the pain you’re feeling because it means you did it. Whether you had a disappointing race or the biggest PR of your life or dropped out at mile 17, you put in the work and you made it to that day.

harry potter gif

I’ve run the New York City Marathon twice and from day 1 of training, it feels special. And then to be there on race day, the emotions and feeling of closure after months of training and wondering and hoping. To have people cheering for you.

verrazano bridge nyc marathon starting line


It’s something I want to experience (and want everyone else to experience) over and over and over again.

Every single one of the 50,000+ people walking or running is an example of success, each with their own story and their own journey to get to Staten Island, their inspiration written on their hand or their t-shirt or on the poster their best friend is holding up while waiting excitedly on 5th Avenue. Or it’s a quiet thought in their brain that only they know.

And if you’re not running? You get to watch thousands of people push through the struggle and ultimately “win”. People who make you think “what if” and “maybe I could“, the endings to the sentences different but the motivation so strong it feels tangible.

And for everyone there, you get to witness people loving and supporting each other. To see what it means to persevere.

I think every marathon offers this, but not every marathon feels like this. Maybe because the city requires you to take notice, with banners and road closures and water cooler talk. Maybe because 50,000 people are running down the middle of the street in every single borough, something that only happens once a year. Maybe because you see, in the flesh, all different types of people accomplishing something that could have easily been dismissed by a billion valid reasons…but they do it anyway. New York City is just special.

I feel honored to be surrounded by friends who challenge me. Friends who do things that are hard. Friends who make me want to be better. Friends who are supportive and cheerful and celebrate the accomplishments of those around them. I HAVE SO MANY BADASS FRIENDS!

Congratulations, runners and walkers. Thank you for inspiring me. I hope you’re soaking up all the love.

mean girls africa you did the damn thing gif


Did you run? What was the best part?! Pretty please tell me how it went (or send me a link to your recap!)


I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!