2016 United Airlines NYC Half (3.20.16)

2016 March

Course: Starts in Central park and exits out at Harlem, only to go back in and exit out of the south side of the park on Seventh Avenue, leading you straight into the middle of Times Square. After Times Square, you continue west towards the West Side Highway, pass by World One, go through the Holland Tunnel, and end up near Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry
Weather: 34 degrees, 35% humidity, wind 14 mph (but felt much colder)
Pace: 10:17/mile
  • There were three waves for the start, each with different start times and starting locations, which didn’t seem like a problem when the races were in Staten Island (NYC Marathon) or in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Half). However, managing three different waves within Central Park is a different animal as there is much less space
  • This is my second NYC half, having done the first one pre-Boston bombing. Pre-Boston, you could walk through the park to your corral within 10 minutes. Now there are many levels of security that you have to pass through to get to the start. First, you had to show your bib (exposing your midriff and losing precious body heat in the process!) to get through a very narrow opening into the park. Then, you had to stand in line to go through a metal detector and put all of your belongings into a little basket. The path then leads you directly to baggage check, the bathrooms, and the start
  • Got into the corrals as they were closing — huddling with other runners like little penguins made the cold bearable
  • A sign in Harlem: “Don’t trust the fart” — a bit cryptic, but nonetheless very popular with fellow runners
  • The Holland Tunnel prompted a lot of yelling and whooping — something about tunnels inevitably bring out people’s inner child
  • Subway construction and weekend schedules made going home a disaster — rode just about every train line just to get home — I felt bad for the tourists who were probably bewildered by all of the paper signs and red tape (because don’t most races end and start at the same place? Only NYC can get away with this without apology or a shuttle bus.)