NYC Half Marathon Race Recap 2022
A familiar voice boomed over the tannoys… ‘I love you’. Unmistakably Ali Feller (host of the Ali on the Run Show – one of my fave running podcasts).
I decided to utilise the portaloos in the event village after running 5 miles to the start line over Brooklyn Bridge and into Prospect Park. Nothing like getting a few miles in before you start a half marathon in the name of marathon training, hey?
As I ran through Brooklyn, I managed to catch the female leaders speeding along the course before cheering for the wave 1 runners. It is a bit of a trek into Prospect Park, which I’d forgotten despite having similar issues in 2018 (read my race recap here).
New Balance kindly gifted me this race bib back in 2020. And hooked me up with VIP pre and post race (basically free coffee, water and loos with shorter queues) however I still managed to miss wave 3 after doing two or three pre-race wees. It did mean I had plenty of time to chat with Ali at the start line.
Ash’s plan on my coach was ’16 – 18 miles, however you want to get them done’. I had full permission to run, run/walk and anything in between. I try and get my extra miles in before the race – that way I can cross the finish line and be done! Plus I’m less likely to get caught up in the race mentality and go out too fast, only to find the extra miles a slog at the end, or skip them altogether.
My pre race 5 miles were around a 9.30 average which I ran without walking parts mostly because I was running late.
Once the gun went off I just started running and settled into a comfortable pace. Or as comfortable as you can when you hit a hill within the first mile before leaving Prospect Park.
There’s an out and back in Brooklyn before you start heading towards Manhattan Bridge. It was clear how warm it was out there and so I started walking through every water station from the get go.
Manhattan Bridge is iconic. For me it’s the part of the race that is a little like the Verrazano Bridge in the NYC Marathon. The skyline of Manhattan never fails to bring a huge smile to my face or a feeling of complete wonder. It also helps when the sky is blue and the sun is shining! The weather could not have been more different than the last time I ran the NYC Half and the water froze in the cups.
At some point I realised that I was feeling good. And I could potentially run a sub 2 hour half within my long run. I’ve struggled to let go of the ‘where I was vs where I am now’ feeling. And keep looking back at my previous paces. But during the race, I managed to focus on where I am now, and the fitness and endurance I’ve built back recently. I was excited to know I could hold sub 9 min pace on a hilly course and feel great, even with pre race miles and long haul travel in my legs.
I was hyped running down towards Times Square, high-fiving Kelly Roberts as I ran past her and looking out for Cortney under the light up billboards.
It is my second favourite part of the race, running through the usually packed streets of Times Square – it’s synonymous with New York for us tourists and for me, sightseeing is part of the fun of running the big city races.
Somehow I ran an 8 min mile running from Times Square to Central Park which was definitely not planned. And not the smartest because we still had the rolling hills in the park to come.
Although the energy in my legs was fading, the atmosphere and the crowds pushed me forward for those final few miles. And I managed to hit my arbitrary goal of Sub 2 with a 1.59.08 and perfect negative 5K splits for the race. Right after I felt a bit rough and was grateful to sit down on the subway on the way back to the hotel. We stayed near Grand Central which was ideal for easily getting to the race start and finish on the subway. Next time I’d stay the Westin nearby which is on the race course itself!
This race is the perfect NYC Race-cation in my opinion. No stress about resting the legs before a marathon, eat all the carbs and run through some of the most city’s most epic hotspots.
How do you get into the NYC Half Marathon?
The New York City Half is a popular race held by New York Road Runners. And part of their 4 out of 6 program, guaranteeing entry to members that run four qualifying events. These are; Brooklyn Half, Manhattan 10K, Queens 10K, Bronx 10 Mile, and the Staten Island Half, as well the Virtual NYC Half. For those that don’t want to commit to those events, you can simply enter the ballot and cross your fingers.
You can also sign up via a charity or tour operator as part of a travel package.
The race route changed back in 2018 with the start line moving to Brooklyn in Prospect Park. And the finish line in iconic Central Park. You run over Manhattan Bridge, along FDR Drive and through Times Square before hitting the hills of Central Park (in fact the whole route is rather hilly!)
There are water and Gatorade stops roughly every 1.5 miles along the course, as well as Gels at mile 7. I utilised the water stations, walking through most of them to ensure I stayed hydrated. Plus I find it hard to run and drink from a cup! I took a combination of Huma gels and Clif Bloks Energy Chews – fueling every 3 miles with water. Remember, gels should be taken with water to aid digestion and absorption!
Have you ever run the NYC Half? Is it on your race bucket-list? Any tips for adding in pre race miles?