One week from today, on Sunday, August 16, 2009, runners will be lining up in Central Park for a 7 a.m. start of an event that has rapidly risen in popularity on the New York running scene over the past few years – the NYC Half Marathon.  The 13.1 mile distance of the half marathon is becoming increasingly trendier in recent years, attracting runners from both ends of the spectrum – the traditional 5k and 10k road runners and the long distance marathon runners.

Race material pick up

All registered runners should expect to receive a confirmation email from NYRR within the next few days.  It is important to have a copy of this email with your name and entry number when you pick up your race materials.  All participants are required to go in person to the NYRR office located at 9 East 89th Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue to pick up their bibs, t-shirts, and other race materials.  Absolutely no race number pick up will be allowed the morning of the race.

• Wednesday, August 12 – 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
• Thursday, August 13 – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• Friday, August 14 – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• Saturday, August 15- 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please note that you must present a photo ID; unlike other NYRR sponsored races, runners are not allowed to have another person pick up their race packet.  All numbers and entry spaces are non-transferrable to another person or year to year.  Runners planning to check any personal items the morning of the race must use the clear bag that will be provided with your bib; these bags will be transported from the starting line at 5th Avenue to the downtown finish area.

What to expect from the course

Runners typically enjoy the course that has been designed for this particular race, for its level of difficulty, where the hills fall in the course, the amount of spectators and entertainment, and variety of scenery.

The course is divided into roughly three different sections.  The race begins with just over one full clockwise loop of Central Park.  Several hills, including Great Hill at the north end of the park, which will fall around mile 3 of this race, makes the first portion of the course very challenging for runners, especially those coming from out of town who are not as familiar with the park from their training.

As long as runners have paced themselves well through the first 7 miles that fall within the park, the rest of the course is comparatively easier.  The middle section of the course runs downhill on 7th Avenue through Times Square and west on 42nd Street.

The final leg of the race along the Westside Highway is flat, allowing runners to pick up their paces a little in the final miles as they head toward the finish line near Battery Park.

Spectators and live music throughout the NYC Half Marathon make this an exciting and energetic race for athletes of all levels.

You can read the schedule here