NYC Marathon Guide 2023: Start Times, Route, and More

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By Ketrin Agustine

NYC Marathon Guide 2023: Start Times, Route, and More

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s five-borough race.

Early Sunday morning, the Staten Island Ferry will be packed with runners headed to the starting line of the annual New York City Marathon.

Thousands of spectators will line the route, which stretches through all five boroughs, to cheer for friends, relatives and strangers — elite athletes and amateurs alike. Marathon day typically feels like a giant 26.2-mile block party, complete with signs, bands, cheering and cowbells, as New Yorkers celebrate one of the year’s biggest events.

Whether you’re a runner, a spectator or even somebody with no interest in the marathon who is trying to get around the city, here’s what you need to know about this year’s race.

Between the unseasonable warmth of last year’s marathon day and the rain that has washed out most weekends this fall, weather conditions may be high on runners’ list of concerns.

The good news: The forecast for Sunday is shaping up to be a good one for running, with temperatures ranging from the high 40s to the mid-60s.

Wheelchair racers are the first group of marathoners to start.Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

After the elite men’s race begins, the remaining runners are divided into five waves based on their expected finish times. This prevents runners from getting too jammed up in the race’s early stages.

8 a.m. Professional wheelchair division

8:22 a.m. Handcycle category and select athletes with disabilities

8:40 a.m. Professional women

9:05 a.m. Professional men

9:10 a.m. Wave 1 of the remaining runners

9:45 a.m. Wave 2

10:20 a.m. Wave 3

10:55 a.m. Wave 4

11:30 a.m. Wave 5

The race begins on Staten Island, and then turns north through Brooklyn and Queens. Runners then head west across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, north into the Bronx and back to Manhattan. The finish line is in Central Park near the West 60s.

Here’s our tour of the course and more information from New York Road Runners, which organizes the race.

Boogie Down Bronx and other run clubs often have cheer groups along the course to support the marathoners.Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Most of the course, except for some bridges, is open to spectators. Here’s our full guide on where to watch the race, borough by borough.

If you’re looking for somewhere to watch that’s easy to reach from other parts of the city, you could go to Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, near the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stop, which is served by the B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains.

If you’re looking for a place where your cheers could make a big difference, go to the Bronx. The race’s 20-mile mark, around 135th Street and Alexander Avenue, is a notoriously challenging part of the course where some runners may hit the proverbial wall.

And if you like to do your cheering in a crowd, the stretch of First Avenue from 59th Street to 96th Street in Manhattan, which is lined with bars and restaurants, is always jammed with spectators.

9:30 a.m. Professional men’s wheelchair athletes

9:40 a.m. Professional women’s wheelchair athletes

11:05 a.m. Professional women

11:15 a.m. Professional men

11:55 a.m. on Remaining runners start crossing the finish line

8:30 p.m. on Final runners start crossing the finish line

In Fort Greene and other neighborhoods along the course, there is always a party atmosphere for spectators and runners.Calla Kessler for The New York Times

The heat’s effect on runners last year prompted organizers to make sure there would be more cups of water and Gatorade at fluid stations throughout the course, Ted Metellus, the race director, said.

Metellus said he was pleased to see that interest in the race had rebounded since the height of the pandemic. More than 125,000 people entered the drawing to run this year, up from 89,000 last year.

He also noted that the number of running crews and participants in organized running clubs had increased across the city, and that they would be visible in the race and on the sidelines.

“Many of the crews come together and meet up at various points along the route to make themselves bigger,” Metellus said.

The annual marathon expo, at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s Far West Side, will feature Road Runners coaches presenting course previews, as usual. A new addition this year is a second stage that will feature panels and sessions about the running community and industry.

The Road Runners also added youth races in Central Park to kick off marathon week, and more than 1,000 children participated.

The upper level of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island and Brooklyn, will close at 11 p.m. Saturday; the lower level will close at 7 a.m. Sunday. Both levels will reopen at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Other roads along the route will close starting from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Roads will reopen after most runners have passed through, starting at 1:15 p.m. in the early miles through 6:45 p.m. for Central Park South.

There will still be runners out along the route even after roads reopen, but they are supposed to move to the sidewalks.

If you’re watching from home, the race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and in Spanish on ESPN3 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern time.

In New York, it will be shown locally on WABC-TV, Channel 7, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The race starts on the Staten Island side of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The TCS New York City Marathon app added livestreaming in 2022. You can watch all four professional races (men’s and women’s, wheelchair and open divisions) in full, and get a look at runners passing through five locations along the course.

A new feature on the app stream this year will be commentary on the pro races from the marathoners Des Linden, Galen Rupp and Amanda McGrory.

The app also allows you to track runners in real time.

There are always celebrities in the field, and this year’s version will feature a mix of returning marathoners and those running the race for the first time.

Patina Miller, a Grammy and Tony Award winner, will sing the national anthem at the starting line on Staten Island before running. Like many marathoners, she is raising money for a cause: Komera, which provides resources to young women in Rwanda.

Luke Mcfarlane, an actor, is running with family members to raise money for a diabetes research and advocacy charity.

Sheinelle Jones, a correspondent for NBC’s “Today” show, will be making her marathon debut on Sunday.

Nev Schulman, the producer and host of MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show,” has run the race six times before, but for the first time he will be a guide runner for a visually impaired athlete running with Achilles International, which pairs guides with runners with disabilities.

Robin Roberts, David Muir and 10 others from ABC News will run the marathon as a relay to raise money for Team For Kids, the Road Runners charity that supports its free youth and community events.

The marathon always attracts athletes from other sports, and this year, Zdeno Chara, a retired Stanley Cup champion should be easy to spot on the course given his 6-foot-9 frame. The Olympian Steve Mesler has a gold medal in bobsled racing, and will be looking to add a marathon finisher’s medal to that.

Matt James and Zac Clark of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have run the race before and will be back this year. The YouTube filmmaker Casey Neistat is another regular who will be returning to the marathon.

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