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.