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1. New York is Back, Baby!
No doubt, about it: Everything is finally getting back to normal New York City.
Although the New York Yankees failed to make the World Series after spending the summer as the best team in baseball, there are plenty of positive signs that the city is in the process of picking itself up by its bootstraps and on the path to rejuvenation after a three-year COVID-induced lull. Most notably, the New York City Marathon will return on Sunday, November 6 in full force with a field of 50,000 runners and an over-the-top vibe only possible in the Big Apple.
After being canceled in 2020, the race returned last year with a reduced field of 33,000 runners and a lot fewer pre-race events and fanfare. If you’re active on social media, it’s pretty clear that the buzz that’s been building is almost palpable as the New York City Marathon resumes its position as the greatest running race in the world.
Some runners will be running fast while chasing a piece of the $534,000 in prize money. Others will be running for their fitness, as a fundraiser, merely for fun or just to finish, but, whatever the end goal, it will be a life-affirming experience for everyone who reaches the finish line in Central Park.
“New York is an incredible collective of personalities and culture, and to see that come to life first-hand and experience it on the biggest day of the year in a way only the marathon can provide makes for a very special experience,” says Dan Cruz, a San Diego runner who is running the marathon for the second time while raising money to support projects at a local YMCA. “It’s a spectacle unlike any other, and combining that bucket list experience in New York with my passion of giving back and helping transform lives and communities will make the pain on the bottom of my feet all that much more meaningful.”
New York City Marathon weekend officially kicks off at 9 a.m. ET on November 2, when the New York Road Runners host a ceremonial painting of the blue line that traces the 26.2-mile course of the marathon through all five boroughs from Staten Island to Central Park.
2. New Shoes Dropping
Several new running shoes are dropping this week, some at the New York City Marathon expo and others at special events around the city. Among the new models are ASICS new maximally cushioned SuperBlast training shoe (Our review will be published on November 3.), Altra’s max-cushioned Via Olympus shoe, Tracksmith’s Eliot Runner light and lean everyday trainer and a New York City Marathon-themed special makeup New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3.
3. A Non-Stop Pre-Race Hype Train
The New York City Marathon has always been a place where running shoe, apparel and fitness brands open temporary pop-up shops, organize shakeout runs and host informational panels and there’s a full schedule of events from Thursday to Saturday. Tracksmith will be officially showing off its new Eliot Runner shoe all weekend at its temporary pop-up store in Brooklyn and announcing plans for its permanent New York store that will open later this fall at another location.
On Thursday at Life Time Fitness, Speedland-sponsored ultrarunner Don Reichelt will attempt to set new world records for running 100 miles, the most miles in 12 hours and the most miles in 24 hours on an Assault Fitness manual treadmill as part of Ten Thousand’s “Feats of Strength” fundraising series. ASICS athletes Ben True, Lindsay Flanagan and Emma Bates will be on a discussion panel at 6 p.m. Thursday at Fleet Feet/New York Running Company store with RUNGRL Ambassador Dominique Burton serving as the moderator. Apparel brand Bandit Running will be hosting numerous events, including a pizza party Thursday night at 7 p.m. from Fini Pizza in Brooklyn, a shakeout run and party to celebrate its pop-up store opening from 8:30-11 a.m. Friday and a live podcast with LapCount founder Kyler Merber and happy hour from 7-10 p.m. Friday at the pop-up store.
Craft athlete Tommy Rivers Puzey will be at a meet and greet session tied to a new book launch from Craft at 2 p.m. Friday at Fleet Feet, while Saucony pro Molly Huddle will talk about her recent book launch at a Friday evening event at Fleet Feet. Hoka is hosting a “How to Run Your Best Marathon” panel at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Brooklyn Running Company with elite NAZ Elite athletes Kellyn Taylor and Matt Baxter and coaches Alan Culpepper and Ben Rosario
Hoka will be celebrating the 2,000th consecutive day of Instagram personality Hellah Sidibe’s running streak with a shakeout run at 9 a.m Saturday from its Upper West Side pop-up shop. There’s a New Balance-sponsored shakeout run with Mario Fraioli (“The Morning Shakeout” podcast), Kofuzi (YouTuber), Lindsey Hein (“I’ll Have Another” podcast) and others on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday from Fleet Feet. Also of note, Fraioli will be doing a live podcast with reigning world 1500m champion Jake Wightman of Great Britain at 2 p.m. Saturday at 1 Hotel Central Park. On race day, Bandit Running will host a watch party at Mile 11 of the race course at Fini Pizza in Brooklyn. There’s no official post-race party, but there will be an Official Unofficial NYC Marathon Afterparty at the Standard Biergarten from 6 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.
4. A Deep Women’s Elite Field
Despite American Sara Hall and Kenyan Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir dropping out, the women’s field will still be deep and competitive. If there’s a year when the women’s longstanding course record (2:22:31, set by Kenya’s Margaret Okayo in 2003) could be vulnerable, this is it. Among the fastest women in the field are former American record-holder Keira D’Amato (2:19:12), Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase, who won the marathon at this past summer’s world championships (2:18:11) in Eugene, Oregon, Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (2:17:45), who took bronze in Eugene, Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat, a two-time world champion who won the 2010 New York City Marathon, and marathon rookie Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who is a two-time world champion on the track and has run a 1:04:22 half marathon.
You can watch the race live on ESPN 2 or livesream from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST and track runners on TCS New York City Marathon app.
5. Stephanie Bruce’s Grand Finale
American Stephanie Bruce, a founding member of the HOKA NAZ Elite team, is another key runner in the women’s field. The 38-year-old mother of two is using the race as the last competitive effort of her long career. She’s had quite a final season so far, including a 12th place finish at the Boston Marathon (2:28:02) in April, a fourth-place effort at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia (2:32;22) in July, a win in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAC Championships (33:12) in the Bahamas in August and a win at the USATF 10KM Road Championship (31:53) in September.
“She’s going out on top, that’s for sure,” says longtime coach Ben Rosario. “Most runners don’t get the chance to have a final competitive race. Father time catches up with most runners, but she wanted to go out on her terms. The biggest thing I can say about her is that she’s a total professional who takes care of her body and does all of the little things necessary. That’s the No. one reason she’s been able to stay in the game this long.”
Hoka is hosting a shake-out run in Bruce’s honor from its pop-up shop on Friday at 4 p.m.
“It’s a strange feeling because I’ve kind of been able to script it, but you can never really script what happens in your career,” Bruce said. “I think all you can do is that you’re going all-in on whatever your hopes and dreams are and you do the best you can in training and be proud of whatever you can do on race day. You can only control how good you are.”
6. Nell Rojas’ New Sponsorship Deal
Nell Rojas, another top U.S. contender in the women’s field, has arguably been one of top five American marathoners since 2018 based on her results at the 2018 California International Marathon (7th, 2:31:22), 2019 Grandma’s Marathon (1st, 2:28:09), 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon (9th, 2:30:20), 2021 Boston Marathon (6th, 2:27:12) and 2022 Boston Marathon (10th, 2:25:57), especially considering she was the top American runner in Boston each time.
After years of trying to get a shoe sponsorship deal and not getting much interest, she finally signed with Adidas last year. But then she voluntarily broke that arrangement days before this year’s Boston Marathon in April because she felt most comfortable and fastest running in Vaporfly Next% 2 shoes from Nike, a brand she always hoped to represent.
Last week, her dream came true. In an October 28 Instagram post, she shared her gratitude for a new Nike deal and how excited she is to race the New York City Marathon in Nike gear.
“Through running I continue to learn and grow. To live for something bigger than myself, to work on shedding the ego and becoming open to all possibilities and opportunities, and most of all to connect with others and serve others,” she said. “Runners, you know what it takes to get to the starting line. How the fear brings you inwards and forces you to do some deep self reflection to line up with confidence. What you work on mentally so that when you want to give up during the race you know how to keep going. That’s everything. Keep going.”
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7. A Fast Men’s Elite Field
Only six men have won the New York City Marathon back to back in the past 45 years and none since Geoffrey Mutai pulled off the feat in 2011 and 2013. (The race was canceled in 2012 because of Hurricane Sandy.) That will be the tall order Kenya’s Albert Korir is faced with as he returns after an impressive 2:08:22 victory last year.
Last year’s runner-up, Morocco’s Mohamed El Aaraby (2:06:55), are in the field, along with 2018 runner-up and 2020 London Marathon champion Shura Kitata (2:04:49) of Ethiopia, and 2022 Boston Marathon champion Evans Chebet of Kenya (2:03:00). American Galen Rupp (2:06:07), the bronze medalist in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics, will be there, too, making his New York City debut.
8. “Tommy Rivs” Returns Again
A few years ago, Tommy Rivers Puzey, aka, Tommy Rivs, would have been in the men’s elite field and trying to improve upon his 2:18:20 personal best. He’ll be on the starting line in Staten Island again this year, but under much different circumstances. Since recovering from a devastating battle with a rare lung disease two years ago, the Craft-sponsored athlete has continued to train like a fiend. Not as the elite athlete he once was—his lung capacity and aerobic capabilities are likely permanently damaged—but as a way to remain as strong as possible in the event that the cancer returns and he has to battle it again.
Last year, he quietly showed up at the starting line of the marathon and hoped to jog the 26.2-mile route, but he was relegated to walking the entire course for more than 9 hours. Then he used a combination of alternating between jogging and walking to finish the Boston Marathon in 6:31 in April. He’s regained his muscular strength and has continued to make progress with his aerobic development, but he’s still not sure how fast he can run and isn’t really worried about what his finishing time will be.
Puzey will be doing a meet and greet at the Fleet Feet/New York Running Company store at 2 p.m. on Friday.
“My perspective has changed so much,” Puzey says. “Now I want to embrace every moment, every day that I have to be here and the times that I have with my family. The odd thing is that, at the same time, the priority to train to be strong enough makes the emphasis that I put on training to just be fast in my previous life seem to pale in comparison to that.”
9. Women and Girls Are Getting More Support
As part of promotional campaign organized by the U.S. milk industry, every woman running in this year’s New York City Marathon is encouraged to join Team Milk to receive curated running gear, expert running advice in partnership with Olivia Amato and Selena Samuela, as well as physical, mental and nutritional advice from Elyse Kopecky, Dr. Chrissy Holm and New York City’s Stretch*d fitness center.
Through the 26.2 campaign, every Team Milk runner’s marathon registration fee will be matched (up to $600,000) in a pledge to Girls on the Run, a foundation dedicated to empowering young girls through running and community, to help support the next generation of runners. The goal of the campaign is to help change the narrative and provide girls and women runners with funding, confidence, support and enthusiasm.
Unrelated to that campaign, the New York City Marathon has expanded its support for breastfeeding athletes in this year’s race. In partnership with the &Mother non-profit, the New York Road Runners will have several lactation stations at different locations throughout race weekend. Private lactation spaces will now be available at the expo, at the start, along the course, and near the finish line. Organizers will also transport nursing pumps from the start to the finish for runners, as they have for many years.
10. Stars Are Running
The New York City Marathon has attracted numerous celebrity participants throughout the years, including several who have broken the 3:30 plateau. Among the fastest celebs who have run the marathon include TV personality Oz Pearlman (2:31:04, 2015), former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong (2:46:43, 2007), writer Benjamin Cheever (2:58:35, 1981), actor Johnny Lee Miller (3:01:40, 2013), Mt. Everest mountain climber Ed Viesturs (3:15:18, 2006), reality TV personality Andy Baldwin )3:17:31, 2011), reality TV personality Ryan Sutter (3:17:56, 2011), actor Bryan Cranston ( 3:20:45, 1985), Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno (3:25:12, 2011) and professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki (3:26:23, 2014)
Ashton Kutcher is the most notable celebrity running the NYC Marathon this year. The 44-year-old actor make his marathon debut and run in support of his charity, Thorn, a nonprofit dedicated to defending children from online sexual abuse. Other celebrities include Ellie Kemper, who is known for her roles in The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, who will also be running her first New York City Marathon while raising money for The Brotherhood Sister Sol. Longtime New York restaurateur Yasuhiro Makoshi (owner of Nippon restaurant) will be running the marathon for the 36th time. The Boston Children’s Hospital will be supported by The Vampire Diaries’ and The Originals’ actress Claire Holt. Other celebrities entered in this year’s race including actress Lauren Ridloff, TV hosts Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, TV personality Nev Schulman and reality TV stars Matt James and Zac Clark. Alysia Montaño, a former U.S. Olympic middle-distance runner and co-founder of &Mother, will also be running.