Spectating the NYC Marathon

First, I just want to give a HUGE congrats to everyone who raced Sunday at the NYC Marathon. Conditions were not ideal (15 mph headwind for 20 miles makes me legs hurt just thinking about it) but there were so many amazing PRs, first time finishers and perseverance in spite of the poor conditions. Special shout-out to two girls I coach (Jen and Leticia) and some friends: Veronika, Theodora, Sarah, Monica, Jess, Maggie, Beth, Pamela…and probably a ton more that I am forgetting.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but this is the first time that I have actually spectated at the NYC Marathon. When I really began to get into running, I was in the military living in Texas so spectating was not really an option. The last few years have been tough with the boys and family plans that always seem to fall on the same weekend. This year I told my husband well over a month in advance about my intentions to head into the city (alone!) and cheer.

It was one of the most magical, memorable days. There’s nothing quite as exciting as running the NYC Marathon, but I’d argue that it is pretty darn exciting to be on the other end and to be able to cheer tens of thousands of runners on. And you have no idea what this does for my excitement for my own upcoming marathon. AGH!

I got into the city just before 7am (parked by my sister’s apt building) and met up with Ashley for a beautiful, relaxing 7 mile run around Central Park.


We got to run the last few miles of the course which pulled on my heart strings a bit.  It brought back a ton of wonderful memories of the last NYC Marathon I did (although when I saw how windy it was on 1st Avenue, I was glad I was NOT running!). It was eerily quiet in Central Park – still too early for spectators to start arriving and very few runners.

mile 26

After our run, I went back to my sister’s for about 90 minutes for some breakfast and company. We watched the elite females start the race and then a bit later, the elite males and the first wave. Also managed to get a picture of JENN at the start during her clip on CBS. I know a celebrity. NBD =)


I then ran over to East 110th and 3rd Avenue where I was meeting up with a big group of NYC runners!  The only person I had met before was Ashley – everyone else were friends I’ve been following/interacting with for months/years and have not had the privilege of meeting yet.

30k Cheer Group

30k Cheer Group: Michelle, Nicole, Ashley, Sara, Greg, Laura and me!


Me and Michelle!


Me and Laura 

The whole day was incredible. It’s really hard to put into words. I think Mile 18.5 is a amazing spot to cheer. It’s a tough point in a marathon. You have almost 8 miles to go – which seems like a lifetime when you’ve run 18. I’d like to think that we lifted some spirits by being out there. We got some huge grins and high fives from a ton of runners which made the whole day worth it.

First we saw some of the elite females flying by us:

elite females

Followed by a huge pack of lead males:

elite males

And then so many of our friends. We tried to find everyone but it was way harder than I was expecting. The later in the day it got, the more crowded the street became which made it tougher and tougher. We developed an ad hoc system – we’d find out who the next person was going to be (sometimes it was as many as 3 at a time) based on the 30+ people we were tracking stalking. Next we’d check to see what they were wearing (based on their IG or twitter) and then we’d begin scouring the runners looking for them. I think we found most of our friends (but we definitely missed a handful though :/).

Ali crushing it enroute to a 11 minute PR!

Ali crushing it enroute to a 11 minute PR!

Hollie - running her 1st marathon!

Hollie – running her 1st marathon!

It was really nice to be on the other side for a change. I know that I love the crowds and cheering when I race. And it felt really good to be able to pay it back to friends and strangers who were going after their dreams on Sunday.

And then if that weren’t enough excitement for one day, I got to meet and spend an evening/morning with two of my favorite people – Lindsay and James Cotter. Lindsay and I have been following one another via twitter and blogs for as long as I can remember and I got to chat a bit with James over the last year when I was training for IMLP. As a pro triathlete, he was able to guide me in the right direction with several fueling and training questions I had.

Scheduling worked out and they were able to spend the evening / night here with us and then head to the airport early Monday morning.  They are two of the sweetest, most real people I have had the pleasure of knowing. And my boys could not be more smitten with both of them. Both boys cuddled up with Lindsay Sunday night after they were in their pjs – my oldest was reading a book with Lindsay while my youngest was content to just rub her leg and drink his bottle.


It was just one of the nights where you drink a little too much, stay up a little too late (although we were all ready for bed by 7pm) and laugh a bit too much. Despite having just met them in person for the first time, it felt like they were old friends visiting.


Have you ever spectated a marathon? 

What mile do you feel like you need the loudest cheers?

PS. Don’t forget to enter the Thera-Gesic Giveaway (includes $100 visa gift card!)

I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

    Related posts:

    29 thoughts on “Spectating the NYC Marathon

    1. Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.
      I appreciate you taking the time and effort too put this
      information together. I once again find myself spending a lot of tiime both reading and commenting.
      But so what, it was still worth it!
      Carrol recently posted..CarrolMy Profile

    2. Thank you for cheering. Cheering is so much fun though this year I made the last minute decision to run. I had an achy foot that totally sidelined me since August but on Friday night I had a priceless bib at the Expo. Heck against all advice that I have heard and given, I went for it. It was the most amazing marathon I have ever run. With no concerns over time, I focused on the crowds, the music and all the great hoods the route took us through. Loved it!!!

    3. It looks like soo much fun. I watched it on tv and got all emotional and teared up. I can only imagine how you felt being right there!

    4. Hi!!! Amazing day! Although my spectating experience was much different from yours this weekend, it was also amazing! :) Looks like so much fun cheering with everyone & I would have LOVED to have joined you & Ashley on that 7 mile run. Congrats everyone- would have been so fun to have such an enthusiastic group to cheer with! I cheered alone here- I did kind of like it so I could do my thing, but at a big race like NYC think the big group of runners cheering together would be much more fun!!
      Lindsey Hein recently posted..Monumental Marathon: 2 Minute PRMy Profile

    5. I’m so glad that you had a chance to get out for such a fun, full day of running and spectating and friends. I was so sad to miss the marathon this year but can’t wait to cheer next year! So awesome that you got to spend some good time with Lindsay and James.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..2 Years OldMy Profile

    6. I spectated at mile 19! We caught the elite men and women, and then some of the mid-range pack during the afternoon. I am super impressed that you managed to find *anyone* in the crowds, because it was packed during certain stretches! I had to convince my mister that yelling strange names off of shirts wasn’t creepy, but could actually give some one a little boost when they are hurting. I think it still creeps him though!
      Sam @ the Seven Mile Itch recently posted..Dash to the Finish!My Profile

    7. Awesome post! I went up for NYC last weekend too to volunteer/cheer at mile 22. It was incredible – first time I’ve seen NYCM in person. It was really cool to be on the other side of things for a change. Getting to see the elites up close and then cheer like crazy for everyone else knowing how much cheers from random strangers late in marathons have helped me was great!
      Colleen L recently posted..NYC Marathon Fun – Volunteering at Mile 22My Profile

    8. I have had the pleasure (true pleasure) of cheering on my husband when he ran the London marathon. Such an amazing crowd of people (running & spectating).

      I need cheers at 38K & 40K! Those last 2kms are just so hard for me. When I ran a marathon this spring, there was a woman at 40k who yelled at me (in a nice way) “Dig deep. This is what you trained for. You can do it. Shoulder’s back. Breath deep. You’re amazing.” Brings tears to my eyes just writing it. I love this woman. I PR’d and BQ’d that marathon!

    9. What a rich experience! I was so fired up after watching it all on ESPN…I can’t imagine how awesome it was to be there. You know, it’s funny how we are so used to being in the marathons we are at and not as many times as spectators…but the marathons I have been there to cheer at have been some of my most memorable and inspirational memories. I went down to cheer a group of running blogger friends at Eugene Marathon last year and then I have been on the sides at the Portland Marathon. Oh, and my favorite was the marathon my husband ran last year when he tried to BQ. So awesome for me to be there cheering for him after all the many years of support he has given me. Loved reading this (and seeing all the pics). Putting NYCM on my bucket list. Maybe one of these years I’ll have to try for a Boston and NY in one year kind of thing…but that might be a little too much running for me.
      Amanda@Runninghood recently posted..Running Happy, Training with Joy, and Counting Personal Bests Other Than the Time on a ClockMy Profile

    10. shall we come back next year and do it again? hehe. I love that you were able to spectate and cheer! what a blessing for those runners to have you there. They need that support. and they did awesome! thank you again for letting us stay with you all. SO SO FUN! miss you guys and miss your lil guys.
      lindsay recently posted..Yoga for Running- 3 Poses to Practice Now!My Profile

    11. This was my first time watching the marathon and I love how you did it! Running in the park then watching it on TV/live. Absolutely so much fun, especially when I got to see my friend pass by!

    12. Spectating at NYC was amazing this weekend! I’m so jealous of everyone you got to meet up with! I did have a great time there though, and was psyched to see so many amazing runners.

      I think the hardest miles of the marathon for me are 14-19…they just drag in the middle I feel like!
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..A week of CIM training & NYCMy Profile

    13. Looks like so much fun! Spectators make such a difference in a race – sometimes it’s fun to be on that side of things!

    14. Thank you for being out there!!! The spectators at NYCM were seriously amazing!!!

      I would say I needed it the most after Mile 20. Coming up 5th was brutal for me. It seemed never ending and I was pretty spent at that point. But having constant cheering really kept me moving. I had my name on my shirt and every time I wanted to stop someone would yell and I would think “damn it, I can’t stop now they are cheering!”
      Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted..NYCM – Nothing ComparesMy Profile

    15. I haven’t spectated at a marathon – but I was a station leader for a water station in the Ottawa Marathon which was an experience in itself! I did know a few people running and I managed to see all of them, even though water station duties was very intense.

      I qualify for the NYC marathon next year (it will be my first marathon too!) – so reading this post and watching the marathon on TV has made me even more excited
      Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. recently posted..Marathon 2014 + Fall Fitness PlanMy Profile

    16. Thank you for spectating!! I ran and it was truly such an amazing day. I can’t stop thinking about it! I’d say I needed the most cheering around mile 21-22. You think you’re so close…but it’s still 4-5 miles and I was starting to hurt at that point! I can’t wait to go be a spectator next year =)
      Patty(reach-yourpeak.com) recently posted..We did it!!!My Profile