Why YOU should apply for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge

Last summer, I applied for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (FL5BC).  I didn’t think I would be selected so figured there was no harm in applying – I did it on a whim without even telling my husband or family members…A few weeks later, I found out that I made it through the first round of applications and had a phone interview with several members of NYRR and Foot Locker as part of round 2.  A week later I was sitting in Foot Locker’s headquarters in NYC for a face-to-face interview (final round of applications).  Then, sometime in early August, I got a phone call and was told I was selected to represent my home borough – Staten Island.

Participating in the FL5BC was the highlight of my running career – I’m not sure if anything is even going to come close to comparing to my whole experience.  If you are a resident of NYC and planning/training to run within the window of time (3:30 – 4:00), I would seriously recommend applying to participate this year –  you will NOT regret it.

The start of the 2011 NYC Marathon

The information below explains what my experience was like and what the challenge entails.

What is the FL5BC?    
Also known as “the Race Within a Race”, the FL5BC is comprised of 5 runners – one from each of the boroughs of NYC (Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx).  On the morning of the NYC Marathon, the 5 runners start and run the first 13.1 miles together – as a team.  Once they reach the halfway point (just before the infamous Queensboro Bridge), it becomes a race to the finish.  The winner is deemed the FL5BC Champion, receives a Tiffany & Co trophy, and (just added in 2011), $1,000 for the charity of their choice.

How do you apply?  
Since last year’s topic (How has running helped you overcome a challenge in your life?) was so popular, the same topic will be used again.  Further information will be posted on the NYC Marathon website (currently the page is showing last year’s information).

What are the requirements?
You must be a resident of one of the boroughs of NYC, be able to complete the marathon between 3:30 and 4 hours,  be already accepted into the NYC Marathon, and not have any issues or conflicts with running the first half of the marathon with the other four runners.

What is involved?  
There are some mandatory events that were required last year:
– 2 photo/film shoots (one was in Central Park with the other representatives from 10am-2pm; the other was a solo shoot/filming/interview at my home). Both of these shoots/interviews were held during the week, so you have to be flexible with work.
– Participate in NYC Marathon’s Media Day (held the week of the NYC Marathon) where news reporters are present to take photos and interview you.
– There were no group organized runs last year, however, from what I’ve been told by the reps from Foot Locker and NYRR, this year will include some group runs so the runners become familiar with running together.
– Involvement with social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogging) – while this wasn’t a requirement, we were asked to start blogs (this is how nycrunningmama came to be!) to document our experience.

What are some of the perks?
– Highlighted on the ING NYC Marathon page and Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge Facebook Page
– Features with numerous TV and newspaper outlets including:

– A TON of free gear including running shirts, shorts, 2 pairs of shoes, gym bag, and more!

Some of the awesome gear!!

– Invitation to participate in fun events hosted (as a VIP) by NYRR:

– VIP treatment at the start and finish of the NYC Marathon (heated VIP tent with seating, access to line-free port-o-potties, and food/drink)

Waving goodbye to my family before entering the VIP tent

– VIP treatment for my family at the start/finish line –  included access to Athlete’s Village, front row “seating” for the start of the FL5BC, Professional Women’s and Men’s Race and Wave 1, heated bus transportation from the start line to the finish area, bleacher seating with finish line views, and food/drink/bathroom access the whole time.

My family's view of the start of the FL5BC race

– Starting and running the ING NYC Marathon with only 4 other runners – the professional females started over 30 minutes after us!  Running over an empty Verrazano Bridge and through the streets of NYC was the most surreal feeling in the world!

Only 5 runners on the NYC Marathon course!

– We had bike escorts the entire race and I had a motorcycle and TV crew the last 4 miles (I now know what it feels like to be a professional marathoner!)

Approaching the finish line with my camera crew!

– The chance to break the tape at the NYC Marathon (without being a 2:20 marathoner)

Breaking the tape

– My husband, son, and mom were waiting for me at the finish line

NYC Marathon Finish

– You have to run the first half with 4 other runners (this was not easy for me since I typically run alone 99% of the time)
– It’s hard to PR since the first half of the race is out of your hands
– For the first 4 or 5 miles, the streets of Brooklyn were fairly empty – since we started well before the 1st Wave, most spectators were not along the course yet
– You have to wear the outfit provided to you by NYRR/Foot Locker (so if you are running for a charity, you cannot wear their shirt)
– You must participate in some mandatory events the week of the marathon (including media day)
Note: In my opinion the advantages and perks FAR outweigh the disadvantages, but I want to ensure I was honest about my whole experience! 


All of my previous posts on participating in the FL5BC:
Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge
Christmas came early for me!
Fun Run
Media Day
Race Day – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Best Part of FL5BC
2012 NYC Marathon Opening Day

Applications are being accepted NOW through June 18, 2012 for the 2012 Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge Team.  Please click here for more information or here to apply! This year’s topic is: What challenges have you had to overcome in your life? Has running played an integral role in helping you face those challenges?

Please note: I was not asked or compensated to do this post by NYRR, Foot Locker, or the ING NYC Marathon – all the opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. 

If you have any questions about the FL5BC, please feel free to contact me!! 

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    9 thoughts on “Why YOU should apply for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge

    1. Pingback: Runner’s World Weekend

    2. Seems like a really fun event, and the fact that you can help other people with he charity prices makes it more enticing!
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