Watching the New York City Marathon in Greenpoint

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-49-24-pmThe New York City Marathon—one of the most famous events in the world of sports—will pass through Greenpoint on Sunday, November 6th and you can witness all the action and drama for free just by stepping out onto our local streets.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-31-21-pmThe 50,000 runners run through each of the five boroughs. They begin their 26-mile 385-yard trek with an iconic start in Staten Island, running over the Verrazano Bridge, but there are so many runners that they have to start at different times so that they can all fit through the crowded Streets of Brooklyn. The route takes the runners down Fourth Avenue to Lafayette Avenue where they head through Downtown Brooklyn and eventually onto Bedford Avenue and through Williamsburg. The runners proceed down Manhattan Avenue and then turn onto Greenpoint Avenue just before the halfway point in the race, which is located on the Pulaski Bride as the runners leave Greenpoint and cross into Queens. The runners then cross the Koch Bridge into Manhattan and head up 2nd Avenue to the Bronx and re-enter Manhattan in Harlem. Finally, the race finishes in Central Park.

The start is staggered. The elite wheelchair racers start at eight-thirty and should be in Greenpoint a little more than an hour later. Elite women start at nine twenty and should be in Greenpoint by about nine-thirty or so. Professional men start at about nine-fifty and should be in Greenpoint in a little more than an hour afterward. If you have never watched elite marathoners run, the pace they run at is mind boggling. Elite men run sub-five minute miles for twenty-six miles. It will shock you how fast they are able to run the course in Greenpoint.

However, the greatness of the race is the thousands of normal runners from all over the world who take part. The average time for a runner is about four and a half hours. I ran the marathon twice, in 2000 and 2004, and it’s an amazing feeling for local runners to run through the area and be greeted by friends and neighbors. Local spectators help fuel the enthusiasm that is at the core of what makes the New York Marathon one of the world’s greatest marathons. Come out and support the runners and enjoy the great energy of this unique day.

One tip, if you live on the West Side of Greenpoint and you watch from the East side of the street you may get trapped by the tens of thousands of runners who will make it down Manhattan Avenue, so watch from the West side of the street.

About Geoff Cobb

Geoffrey Cobb is a Brooklyn high school history teacher and writer of the blog historicgreenpoint.wordpress.com. He has lived in Greenpoint for over 20years and is the author of a book on the history of the area, "Greenpoint Brooklyn's Forgotten Past."

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