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New York City Marathon: Everything Spectators Should Know

Posted by Lawrence Blessinger on Oct 24, 2019 9:00:00 AM

New York City Marathon

Every year, on the first Sunday of November, spectators and runners flock to our area for the New York City Marathon. However, in addition to over 50,000 runners, the city will also see its fair share of spectators, cheering on friends, family and the like. So, if you find yourself heading in to cheer on some runners or just take in the atmosphere, here’s everything that you need to know.

A Brief Preview of the 2019 New York City Marathon

The Race History

The very first New York City Marathon was put on by the New York Road Runners on September 13, 1970. With only 127 competitors running loops around Park Drive in Central Park, it drew 100 spectators. In fact, only 55 people made it to the finish line.

Fast forward to 1976, city officials wanted to do something special for the U.S. bicentennial. So, they decided to extend the course to all five boroughs. It was a huge success and what was supposed to be a one-time celebration became the official race course.

These days, it’s the largest marathon in the world, drawing millions of viewers in person and on television each year.

A pack of runners

When and Where?

This year, the New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 3. If you’re going to be one of the million fans lining the course, you have options. Since viewing isn’t allowed at the start, here are some of the best spots to catch the action, according to race officials themselves:

  • Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn (Miles 2-4)
  • Brooklyn Stage, Fourth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue (Mile 8)
  • Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Miles 10-13)
  • Pulaski Bridge (Mile 13.1)
  • New Balance Mile 16 Block Party (First Avenue at 62nd Street)
  • First Avenue, Manhattan (Miles 16-18)
  • East Harlem (Miles 18-20)
  • Charity Cheer Zone, First Avenue at East 120th Street
  • Fifth Avenue, East 90th Street to East 105th Street (Miles 23-24)

Keep in mind that the marathon ends at 67th Street and West Drive in Central Park.

The finish line from overhead

Race Entertainment

Along the entire route, several fun and exciting race partners have created designated entertainment and cheering zones where you’ll find sign-making supplies, noisemakers, giveaways and so much more. Not to mention, nearly every mile of the race will be filled with over 130 bands and musical acts in total.

Michelob Ultra has also partnered with the New York City Marathon to create Michelob Ultra Cheer Zones at bars along the route. In fact, you can find the entire list here.

Marathon runners in stride

Although you may not need to train as much for the New York City Marathon as the runners, there’s still a great deal of preparation needed for spectators, so hopefully this list helps!


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Topics: NYC, Events, New York sports

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