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Christine Guenther

TCS New York City Marathon   (2011)

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I know people get on NYRR for the 2012 debacle with Hurricane Sandy, but leave that aside. I ran NYC in 2011 and it was an incredible experience. Yes, it starts in Statin Island, but it's painless to get there via Ferry and Shuttle Buses. You also have the first 2-3 miles to get your groove on running over into Brooklyn and you're welcomed with crowds that never thin out. It's a whole lot of party from there!! The fans are out there and it's a whole bunch of culture to boot. Plenty of aid stations along the way. Expect to have some hills in NYC (which you don't realize when you're casually walking around) and you hit all 5 boroughs. Central Park is rough at the end on the legs, so be warned

Expo: good size, lots of vendors and a huge amount of people to visit

Erin Mink Garvey

TCS New York City Marathon   (2013)

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The NYC Marathon is the largest in the world--over 50,000 finishers in 2013 alone--and it's a well-oiled machine. All of the pre-race communications are thorough and meticulous, and the race itself is just out of this world. Never have I run a marathon before, even the other majors I've run (Chicago, Boston), where I was constantly surrounded by other runners in somewhat close proximity to me the entire race. The marathon was an absolute blast, thanks in no small part to the absolutely incredible support from all the residents in all 5 boroughs that you run through, and while there is a TON of fanfare that goes into NYC--like the high registration costs, the lottery, the shuttles/ferries out to Staten Island, and all of the stuff in Central Park once you actually finish the race--it's worth it. The course is challenging for sure, with the constant ascents and descents, but do your due diligence, pace intelligently, and train on hills, with some good ascents and descents, and you'll rock it. Run NYC at least once because seriously, it's worth it.

Tim Kowols

TCS New York City Marathon   (2011)

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This is a bucket list marathon for anybody interested in running marathons in this country. It's just as big as everyone has probably told you and/or looks like on TV. Everything is super-sized, so if you like crowds you might want to look elsewhere in New York state if you're looking to scratch NY off your map. The expo was huge, but plenty of room to move around still and our swag bags were full of actually useful things, including our very cool looking longsleeve tech shirt. Race day is a little cumbersome because of logistics, but it was nice to start our day on a boat going towards Staten Island. The organizers have it down to a science, so they only thing that makes it slow are the 50k people around. The course did a good job of taking you through the boroughs and while you hit some highlights, runners should look to borough specific races if they want to see Yankee Stadium, Times Square, etc. The finish line area was a bit of a bummer because I would loved to hang around Central Park more, but they give you a huge bag full of food to keep you moving. It was advertised and if it wasn't for the price, I would be sure to go back.

John Schweighardt

NYC Half   (2014)

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You get to run thru Times Square. That by itself is reason enough to run this race. The course takes you from Central Park, through Midtown and ending up in Lower Manhattan. If you can get up and down the hills of Central Park you have a flat 7 mile course down Manhattan the rest of the way. Unfortunately I am not a good cold weather runner and it the temperatures were below freezing so I did not do as well as I hoped to. The expo was OK but I had to make an extra trip into the city as you can not pick up your bib on raceday. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to run through the streets of NYC and do not want to train for a full marathon :)!

Jane Rosales

Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K   (2014)

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I'll speak for lots of New Yorkers and say that not a lot of people come up to the heights. I've been only once to visit a friend but it's just so far up north of Manhattan on the A and 1 trains. I've heard so many great things about the race and finally signed up when registration opened months ago.

The race is exactly how it sounds the full race name is the Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks - you have jazz bands, salsa, green bagels! Everything you want in one whole race. It's a great family race - lots of kids. Even though this race was freezing, the armory right next to the start was open for bib pick up the morning of. I stayed in there until it was start time. It was so nice in warm in there. I was even able to use the bathrooms on the 2nd floor!

As I was warned, the race was hilly and painful. It was an out and back course but it was gorgeous. Great views of the Hudson River during the middle part of the race. Despite the extreme hilliness, I ran my fastest 5k...since college...on this course.

The crowd support is amazing. Even though the race takes place early March at 9am on a Sunday morning, there are a ton of people outside cheering you on.

Cons: the race is expensive, one of the more expensive races. Longer distances are actually cheaper than this. Do sign up early!

Pros: crowd support, views, GREEN BAGELS!

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