New York > New York City Half Marathon
New York, NY • Sunday, March 17, 2013 • Course Map • Race Photos
One of the city's most popular distance running events each year, the New York City Half celebrated its sixth annual running in 2012, welcoming more than 10,000 runners for the event that begins on Central Park's East Drive and starts off the 13.1-mile course with a clockwise loop around the park.
From there, the race takes the field along Seventh Avenue toward Times Square, and then along 42nd Street and the West Side Highway toward the Hudson River waterfront and onto lower Manhattan, and finishes just past Chambers Street near Battery Park.
At the 2010 race, I was in the back of the pack in the 10,000-11,000 race number group, and everyone was in good spirits at the start of the race, waiting for the start. From my perspective, it seemed completely well-organized and smooth (there were plenty of porta-potties with no long lines that I could see at the start, and stations of them at several points along the course), and got off without a hitch.
If you're planning on running the race, you need to know there are some pretty hilly stretches. The first 6 1/2 miles take you all through Central Park, from the starting line at Central Park's West Drive and 64th Street all the way around the park in a counter-clockwise loop that brings you back past the start out to the exit onto 7th.
Since it's the spring, the scenery is a lot less green and lush than it would be in the summer -- the leaves aren't yet on the trees, but that lets you see more of the buildings, museums and high rises along the route through the park. And it's winding and hilly through the park, with some switchback-style turns near the north end of the park.
But after the hills in the park, the real payoff comes after you pass about the mile 7 marker and then head out into the city, down 7th Avenue and into Times Square. This stretch is all downhill, a nice reprieve that lets you take in everything. I can't stress enough how cool it is, after the trees and rocks and hills of Central Park, then to run down into the gleaming towers and lights of Times Square.
After that, runners turn right on 42nd Street and head onto the West Side Highway, which is completely flat for the last few miles of the race. For 2012, the course was redesigned so that the finish line moves from its former Chambers Street location near Battery Park to the South Street Seaport at Maiden Lane and Water Street -- this means that runners will run a brief stretch through the Battery Park Underpass to FDR Drive, and then back out into the sunlight for the finish at the seaport.
There's several small bands out there playing, plus what must have been a race volunteer (or just an enthusiastic onlooker!) who was out at several points in the race cheering everyone on, telling the women runners "hey ladies, look -- you've just stopped traffic!" He must have been speeding by bike from location to location, b/c we no doubt saw him at like 4 points along the route.
This race is definitely for serious competitors as well as more leisurely runners, and is seen as an excellent warm-up for the full 26.2-mile ING New York City Marathon each November. Participants are treated to many of the city's world-famous sights, including Broadway, Times Square, and Battery Park, just to name a few.
Race Weather & Climate
Set for its annual early springtime running just a few days before the first day of spring, the New York City Half Marathon is likely to have cool and perhaps even quite cold weather conditions, based on past weather averages for this time of year.
On the day of the race (March 17), the average high temperature for New York City is 48°F and the average low is 32°F. Precipitation amounts for the city for the month of March average just over 4.3 inches for the month.
View the race route map for the New York City Half Marathon
See race website
To reserve your spot in the spring 2013 running of the New York Road Runners' New York City Half Marathon, visit the event website.
Official Race Website
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