Highlights from the 2012 NYC Half Marathon

I had decided not to sign up for the NYC Half this year.  My goals for 2012  including PR’ing in both the marathon and the half marathon and I knew it would be tough to PR on this tough course (the first half is extremely hilly).  I have also run the NYC Half before and so couldn’t justify spending upwards of $150 for the registration fee since my husband and I are trying to limit our spending in preparation for our move next month.  Lastly, I wanted to focus primarily on the NJ Marathon in May and didn’t want to have to deal with tapering and recovering midway through the training cycle.  So no NYC Half for me!

I knew a lot of people running and have never had the opportunity to cheer during such a big race because I am either racing or have a family commitment that prevented me from running the race in the first place.  I decided to drive into the city this year and support my friends, fellow bloggers, and the rest of the runners.  It was such an amazing experience!

I found an awesome location along 7th Avenue – I figured the field would be more spread out by the 10k mark and that it would be easier to spot runners I knew.  (If you are not familiar with the course for the NYC Half, you can find it here.)

7th Ave empty and ready for the 15,000 runners

Peter Kirui of Kenya and Deriba Merga of Ethiopia started the race off with a blazing 4:27 Mile 1 – more than 30 seconds faster than the leaders last year and already threatening the course record set by  Haile Gebrselassie (59:24) in 2007.  By the mile and half marker, NYRR reported that no other males were in site.  Kirui and Merga would continue to hold their lead and finish 1st and 2nd, respectively, almost a minute before the 3rd place male finisher (Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia).  Kirui spent most of the race surging ahead of Merga, only to have him close the gap, repeatedly, until the last stretch when Kirui surged ahead to win in a time of 59:39, only 15 sec off the course record time.  Merg and Lilesa finished with times of 59:48 and 1:00:45, respectively.

Kirui and Merga alone in the lead just past the 10k mark

Amazing stride and air!

Look at those legs!

3rd Place Lilesa...with no other runners in sight!

Who says you can't have a muscular upper body and be a fast runner?

The pack vying for 4th place...Meb and Ritz are in the far back!

The top US finishers were Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished in 13th and 15th place, respectively (times of 1:01:41 and 1:01:52).

The women’s race looked very similar to the male’s race – Kim Smith of New Zealand and Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.  Dado spent most of the race right behind Smith – until she made a big move just out of the tunnel from Battery Park to the East Side.  Kim Smith couldn’t respond to the 30 meter lead of Dado. Not only did Dado win, but she set a new course record with a finishing time of 1:08:35 (17 seconds faster than the record held by Caroline Rotich who came in 8th this year).  Smith finished just 8 seconds behind, with a time of 1:08:43, while Kara Goucher, who took over 3rd place just before the 10k mark, finished in 3rd (and the top US female) with a time of 1:09:12.

Smith and Dado, with no other females in sight!

Love Smith's look of concentration and determination!

Kara, in 3rd place, leading the line of females out of Central Park

Love Kara's strong body

My running idol and favorite long distance runner

Other top US females: Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, former teammate and roommate of one of my friends, Tia, came in 5th (1:09:55), while Desiree Davila finished in 9th (1:10:44).



I managed to snap a couple of photos of some interesting outfits…

How do you possibly run with THAT on your head?

The flower princess!


Huge CONGRATS to everyone who raced this weekend!  Seems like this was a huge weekend to race and so many friends PR’d!!!! =)  Special shoutout to:

Pamela: PR’d at the NYC Half: 2:04:19

Leticia: PR’d at the RnR USA Half Marathon: 2:07:20

– Faith: PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:38:57

– Rob: PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:47:38

Jess  (from Pace of Me): PR’d AND BQ’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:34:46

Jocelyn (from Enthusiastic Runner): PR’d at the NYC Half: 1:54:23

Steve (from Runner on the Right): PR’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:39

Doug (from Doug Cassaro): PR’d at the RnR USA Marathon: 3:47:49


Did you race this weekend??  

Did you run the NYC Half?  How did you do?  What did you think of the newly designed course?

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    33 thoughts on “Highlights from the 2012 NYC Half Marathon

    1. When some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she wishes to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.
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    2. I am so sorry that I missed seeing you when I ran this – I was so slow due to my injury but you are right – it’s such an amazing race, best experience of my life. I am going to try and run it again next year, I feel like NYC owes me as I am stronger than my time from 2012.

      The elites make it look so easy, right?! I can only dream of ever being that strong!
      Helen recently posted..Valemount to JasperMy Profile

    3. Just wrote a blog post about running this race. It was AMAZING, it was almost hard to find the words to talk about it. What a great experience and an awesome finish line at the seaport. I love how challenging this race is, especially at the beginning… keeps you focused! Definitely a must run for anyone looking for the ultimate experience.
      Megan recently posted..Running My City: 2012 NYC Half MarathonMy Profile

    4. Pingback: Race Recap: 2012 NYC Half Marathon | Will Run for Food

    5. I raced the NYC Half this past weekend and PR’ed at 1:50:23! My last half was 1:56:49 so I was stoked with the improvement and how well I did since this was my first race post physical therapy and a hip injury from my first marathon last fall at RNR Savannah.

      Thanks for sharing your pictures – I was bummed I missed the elite athletes but am glad so many bloggers were there to fill me in on what I missed! Kara is my favorite, too. :)
      Beth recently posted..Travel DayMy Profile

    6. I LOVE this post! What a great spectating race recap! You got some really great pictures too. Love the shout out to my friend Janet too!! I can’t believe I ran with her in college. She has improved so much these last few years and is right up there with the rest of the famous elites now! This recap is getting me so exciting about running in the ING NYC Marathon this November. It will be my first time and I can’t wait!

      I did race this weekend and {sort of} PR’d. It wasn’t my fastest 5K but I ran my fastest 5K…. since I’ve had kids! :-)
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..St. Patrick’s Day 5K- Race ReportMy Profile

    7. Wow. You got some great photos of the elites. It’s amazing to see them frozen in stride.

      I’ve danced with one of those feather headdresses; we called them penachos when I did Aztec dancing. That type of dancing is really bouncy, so the headdress is probably pretty fitted and there’s no weight with the feathers. I wouldn’t run with one, but it doesn’t seem to really be slowing him down.

      I ran the LA Marathon and managed my first sub-4 and a 25-minute PR.
      cindylu recently posted..Hometown glory: LA Marathon race reportMy Profile

      • OMG. I’m so glad you talked about the headpiece! I saw him running and couldn’t understand how he was able to run – and at a good pace – with that huge thing on his head!!

        CONGRATS on a fantastic run – sub-4 is FANTASTIC and a 25 min PR is unreal!! Hope you are recovering well =)

    8. Thanks so much for the shout out!! I wish I could have seen you out there! I heard you might be running More/Fitness Half….hopefully we can meet soon!
      Jocelyn recently posted..NYC Half RecapMy Profile

      • Of course! I was so bummed I didn’t see you….it was tough to look through the crowds…I was surprised at how packed it still was by the 10k mark. I should’ve checked with you beforehand to see what you were wearing! oh well! I may be running MORE…if not, I’m def running the mini 10k and the brooklyn half (if it ever opens up!) Hope you are enjoying your vacation!

    9. This race was my very first race ever. Loved running the streets of NYC. So fantastic. Had some knee issues buts still finished with a 2:09 time that I am quite proud of. Loved your recap and esp your pics. The form of the runners in your pics were amazing and Kara’s body is nothing short of insane. Thanks for posting this and hope to run a race with you sometime.

    10. Thank you for taking us all “up close and personal” with the runners — excellent photos — love to learn more about Kara — such a strong body and runner.

    11. Great photos! I love watching races almost as much as I love running them.

      I set a different kind of PR this weekend – slowest half marathon of my career. 2:32 at the RnR USA Half Marathon. At 23 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t be happier!

      • Veronika!!! That is a FANTASTIC PR! You ran a half marathon 23 weeks pregnant! That is something to be proud of!! I don’t remember if I knew you were running this weekend! How did you feel? 2:32 is fantastic – pregnant or not!! I’m so glad you are still running and going strong =)

    12. Great photos! I may have missed your earlier reference, but which races (half- and full marathon) are you focusing on for your PRs?

    13. Great pics! Certainly a different perspective at the front of the pack. They all look so faaast! :)

      I ran the NYC Half yesterday and PR’ed in 1.33.07. I loved the course and the conditions were pretty good too.

      • I would definitely recommend this race as a MUST! It is not cheap, but most certainly one of those races that you should try to run once in your lifetime. Running through Times Square is the most amazing feeling in the world – I have some pretty amazing pictures with the billboards behind me! A keepsake, for sure! I didn’t even notice the loin clothes b/c I was so drawn to the headpiece…there really wasn’t much to the bottom gear! LOL =)

    14. I have watched the Boston Marathon and love cheering even if I don’t know many runners. The smart runners wear their names on their shirts so spectator can yell out to them by name =)
      Looks like ton of fun!
      AmyC recently posted..Half of QuincyMy Profile

      • YES! There weren’t as many people with names on their bibs…I think we all think about doing it more for a full marathon than half! I was so surprised at how empty the streets were – there was no one around me until just before the elites ran by!