Many of the guests on our NYC running tours want to know about running races. The truth is that NYC running races are almost a daily event. There are races of every length, style, theme, competitiveness, and premium type. The major race organizers are New York Road Runners, NYCRUNS, Trimara and others. On occasion, Rock N Roll will organize a New York race and Tough Mudder is based in Brooklyn.
Main NYC Running Races
TCS NYC Marathon
Date: November 3rd, 2019
Start Time: 8.30 AM E.T
The mother of all NYC running races is, of course, the TCS New York City Marathon. This “major” takes place on the first Sunday of November every year. It begins in Staten Island on the Verrazano Bridge, hits all five boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx) before ending in iconic Central Park. In 2018 there were almost 53k finishers and the average finish time was four hours and forty minutes. It can be difficult to get entry to run the race, as there is no open registration. A limited number of runners can qualify with either Full or Half Marathon times. Runners can also run with a charity, or enter a lottery. Many locals complete something called “9+1” or “9+$1k”, which means in the previous calendar year they run nine qualifying races and either volunteer for an event or make a $1000 donation.
Even if you don’t run the marathon, the expo is definitely worth going to to find great deals on run products and other race entries, as well as hear some great speakers from the running world and racing strategies and techniques. Also, pick a place along the route and do some cheering – First Avenue in Manhattan is notorious for being the loudest stretch of the race (which is great because it’s about miles 16-18). Even better, stick around the south east corner of Central Park in the later hours and cheer for the slower runners who are most determined to finish.
Five Borough Series
Date: March 17th – October 13th, 2019
Start Time: TBA
New York Road Runners also does a Five Borough Series of races, with one race in each borough. These are some of my favorite NYC running races, of which I make an effort to run several of each year. They are the NYC Half (also challenging to enter, with similar options to the Marathon), the Brooklyn Half (finishes on the Boardwalk at Coney Island), the Queens 10K, the Bronx 10 Miler, and the Staten Island Half. All of these are challenging in their own ways, but any thought that NYC was a flat city will be put away after one of these! And the medals and premiums are usually fantastic!
Empire State Building Run-Up
Date: May 14th, 2019
Start Time: TBD
NYCRUNS also has NYC running races all year long from 5k to Full Marathon. They are all over the city, from Roosevelt Island to Governors Island to Riverside Park. Notably, NYCRUNS also presents the Empire State Building Run-Up where runners and climbers compete by running up the famed 86 stories from ground level to top. (That’s 1,576 stair steps, if you were wondering.)
Smaller and Club Races
Aside from the standard NYC running races, New York has some pretty spectacular novelty races;
Start Time: TBA
Date: May 11th, 2019
Start Time: 9:30 AM
The Runyon 5k is your opportunity to run in and around Yankee Stadium. This run benefits cancer research and puts you in just about every part of the stadium (including two laps around the warning track!) Notably, this race is really a run/walk and is appropriate for everyone.
Spartan Stadion Citi Field
Date: April 13, 2019
Start Time: 7:00 AM
If you’re looking for an obstacle race, check out Spartan Stadion Citi Field. It takes place at the home of the Mets in Flushing Meadows Queens and they recommend not bringing a “negative attitude.” With a few keystrokes you can also find NYC running races which include; pizza runs, beer runs, and hot dog runs, if that’s more your style.
Date: January 26, 2019
Start Time: TBA
If you really want to check out a ridiculous racing event, don’t miss the Idiotarod. Originally based on the Iditarod in Alaska, this crazy race involves costumes, shopping carts, obstacles, and bribes. It’s really much more about the spectacle and creativity than about speed. “Participants will be awarded for originality, imagination and artistry as well as meaningful hijinks, thought provoking antics and unabashed bribery.” What’s not to love?
There is a huge selection of NYC running races, so hopefully there is something that suits your taste. Otherwise you could check out our New York City running tours, where we can tailor to your individual needs.