2015 New York City Half-Marathon

2015 NYC Halfvia Flickr http://flic.kr/p/sdRPn8Let’s get this out of the way up front, if you look at the course, yes you can run most of this course any day of the week yourself.  With the first 6 miles inside Central Park and the last 5 miles running along the West Side Highway, this is a route that many runners do on their own.  The big reason to run this race is for miles 6-8, coming out of Central Park you run down 7th Ave (yes in the middle of 7th Ave) to Times Square and then along 42nd St to the West Side Highway.  This is your only opportunity to run thru Times Square and it’s a great experience to run thru that area with the streets closed and the crowds along that section.
I ran this at 8:10 pace and finished around ~1:49 but i over-ran the race by about 400M so closer to ~1:46 ignoring the extra distance.

Organization is typical NYRR (which is to say great), this race is pretty large around 20K runners and based on lottery so sign up for NYRR to receive the notice and put your name into the drawing in January.   It is a 3 wave start, I was in the 1st wave and it wasn’t too crowded, i could see it being a little more crowded in the back later groups.

Overall i think is is a great race to run, the experience of running through Times Square is unique enough that i feel it’s worth it despite the fact that you can run most of the course on your own.

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2015 MCM 17.75K

2015 MCM 17.75Kvia Flickr http://flic.kr/p/rUzPBT

This is an odd race, the course is actually quite fun, running through Prince William Park down in Woodbridge (a number of races use this park over the year), but the primary reason that people run this race is that finishers get a guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  The MCM is now lottery based for entries (though it’s much easier to get into then NYC), so if you miss out on the MCM lottery this is one of the few ways to get in.  Unfortunately they limit the field to around 2000, registration is less then 2 weeks before the race and this year it sold out in about 5 minutes.

With that said, the range of racers is very wide, from folks who have not yet started their training at all, to folks that are well experienced, so it requires a lot of attention during the race due to the range of racers.   The course itself is reasonably challenging, nearly all in the woods and most of it on crushed gravel trails.  There are a few tricky sections where the rocks are quite large (golf-ball size), so watch your footing-especially if the trail is wet.  There are a handful of hills on the course, including a set in the last mile so keep a little in reserve.

The race length, 17.75K (just over 11 miles) is for the founding year of the Marines, 1775.  Overall it’s a pleasant race, but because of the different motivations it’s not a great experience race.  The organization is great (though the long wait at the start due to the need for shuttle buses stinks), but the atmosphere is not as fun as other races.