Last year, I had an idea. I knew that I sometimes found it hard to have a friend/family member/husband with me to marathons, either because of cost or holiday days (or the fact that some people don’t like watching a marathon…weird huh?!). And I thought that other people must be in the same position as me.
So I organised a group to run the New York City Marathon…together. A group of solo runners, with a group apartment, activities and most importantly, people to cheer you on with your massive achievement, to celebrate your finish with you.
And I think it was a success! There were six runners, five from the UK and one from Canada as part of our group and I couldn’t have picked a better group for the first trip.
I love the NYC expo, I walked around it with Steph and scoped out a number of stalls. I was very restrained with my purchases, only buying a pair of gloves for winter running and some gels! Even if you’re not running, it’s a great way to stock up on running gear that you need.
Run and Brunch
I love to do a shake out run when I travel for a race, it’s a great way of seeing part of the city before the big day. We ran from our apartment through Central Park (maybe a little bit of a long way round!) and bumped into the 5K runners finishing their race. We had considered taking part in the race, but for $50 – and NO MEDAL – we decided to opt out! We ran from Upper East Side (ok, Harlem), through the park. around the Reservoir, down to Lincoln Square for brunch.
If you saw my instagram, you will have seen that a couple of years ago Zoe and I organised a brunch before the NYC marathon. One person came (I wrote a blog post about it here!) We somewhat hesitantly organised another one this year…and 30 people came. It was a great start to marathon weekend!
We met so many lovely people, some running, some spectating, some volunteering.
After brunch, a group of us did a spot of shopping (Lululemon had NYC specific gear!) before heading to the NYRR Run Centre to listen to a live podcast with Lindsey Hein and Paula Radcliffe – you can listen to the live recording here. It was so fun meeting Lindsey in real life after being on her podcast this summer, and to see my old coach Mary, Michele and to meet Ashley from RunningBun.
We just chilled in the apartment that night, carb loading on takeaway Mexican and Italian. All of the runners had run marathons before, however I don’t think the night before nerves ever go away. The girls lay out their clothes, prepped their breakfasts and got an early night before the big day…
We all had an early start on race morning, Anna and I wished the girls good luck, helped them with last minute kit and sent them in an Uber to the ferry. I think they appreciated having a group to go with, avoiding those solo pre-race jitters.
Whilst they waited for the race to start, Anna and I went for a run to scope out our marathon spectating spot in Central Park and had brunch (you need to carb load for race cheering too don’t you know!) We found a great location just as runners turned back into Central Park, before mile 24. It was incredible watching the elites running past – I think the people around me thought I was obsessed as I knew who all the female athletes were running past and screamed my head off for them all.
After watching the elites, we settled back down and waited for the girls. Unfortunately, when we sat on the side of the road to wait, a number of people crowded in front of us on the race course. We had to push forward too, losing our perfect spot!
I had made a big sign to cheer them all on and to make sure that all our runners saw us. The spirit of the marathon is just does not compare to anything else, and it made me feel so incredible to be part of the running community, but also a little jealous that I wasn’t out there completing the race too!
Pictured below is the sign I had made supporting Allie Kieffer – she is on the other side of the road – I promise!
Post race, we celebrated as each runner made it back to the apartment, hearing all about their individual races. It was so much fun to debrief before heading out for all the guacamole and Mexican food to refuel! Everyone had a great race and finished with a huge smile!
And so after the success of last year, we’re opening it up again this year for NEW YORK AND CHICAGO MARATHON!!
Before signing up, you can read Anna’s blog post about the trip here.
We’ll have a pre-marathon pizza party, go out for brunch, run around the city, take photos with our bibs/medals to share on social, take a yoga class, eat donuts/brownies/bagels and whatever else you’re craving. Plus extra surprises and goodies. Please do let me know what you’d like to add or do while you’re there!
For both NYC and Chicago, you will need to organise your own flights and entry. You can gain entry to the races either through the ballot, a charity or through a tour company from your country. Find out your country’s tour operators here.
In the UK – I’d highly recommend 2.09 events for their NYC flight and entry only option, lots of the girls from last year opted for this! You can buy a flight & entry package together for £1199. I’ve run the NYCM with them and my step-dad has done Chicago with their packages.
The cost is tbc – after I work out the final details and costings from this years trip!! (that’s what test runs are for anyway, right?!) but if you’re interested…email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line NYCM or Chicago!
If you’re waiting for ballot entry, you can still secure your spot on the trip by emailing me for more info – however I’m afraid I can’t offer refunds if you don’t get your ballot place!
Currently, there’s a limit of 8 people on each trip, so it could fill up quickly!!
Can’t wait, this is going to be awesome!! xx