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The Best Way to Watch the NYC Marathon

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So, you’d like to watch the biggest marathon in the world?  Well, we don’t blame you, as the New York City Marathon is arguably the biggest long-distance event in the world, and it is a guaranteed amazing time for anyone who wants to absorb the atmosphere, observe the runners, and give them a bit of encouragement.

Here at Your VIP Pass, we love all-things-NYC and we want to shout about our incredible city from the rooftops of our tallest skyscrapers. With this guide, we’d like to tell you more about the NYC Marathon, whether or not you intend to take advantage of our incredible NYC Marathon Brunch. So, keep reading if you’d like to learn more about the NYC Marathon and what you can expect. If you have any specific questions for the YVP team, please feel free to get in touch.

When Does the NYC Marathon Take Place?

At the time of writing, we’re looking ahead to the 2022 NYC Marathon, which takes place on Sunday the 6th of November. From year to year, the New York City marathon traditionally takes place on the first Sunday of November. This means that the 2023 NYC Marathon will take place on November 5th, 2023, and the next one after that will be on Sunday, November 3rd,2034. And so on…

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How Many People Run the NYC Marathon?

While COVID-19 makes it tricky to talk about the ‘normal’ number of marathon runners in a year, the rough average is around 55,000 runners from around the world. Some of the runners are locals, but many travel from all over to New York City just to take part in the greatest long-distance race in the world! 

Where in New York City Does the Marathon Pass Through?

Perhaps the best thing about the NYC Marathon is that it manages to pass through each of the city’s five boroughs: Manhattan, Staten Island, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. The route through all of the five boroughs of New York City means that runners and the crowd alike can really appreciate the range of architecture and beauty NYC has to offer. If you’d like to know the best place to watch the marathon in NYC, keep reading as we’ve addressed this in its own section.

Where is the Best Place to Observe the NYC Marathon?

This is a hotly debated topic, and we think this is simply because it’s highly subjective and because there are numerous great spots in which to take in the incredible spectacle of the NYC Marathon. That said, we won’t give the completely unsatisfying politician-inspired answer. We’ll choose a side and offer our two favorite spots…

Firstly, we recommend viewing the marathon from under the Queensboro Bridge (aka The 59th Street Bridge) at 59th Street and First Avenue. This bridge is positioned just after one of the most challenging parts of the marathon as the climb up to the Queensboro Bridge is especially grueling. Not only does positioning yourself here allow you to get right into the action, it also allows you to support the runners at one of the most critical points.

Our second spot is at Central Park South, along the final one-mile stretch of the NYC Marathon where the energy and excitement are highest. See the fastest runners in the world as they close the gap to the finish line first. You will also get to cheer on runners as they approach the finish line — the atmosphere at this part of the run is electrifying!

Both of these spots are our favorites, and they are why we include both in our special NYC Marathon Brunch…

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Why Choose Your VIP Pass’s Special NYC Marathon Brunch Event?

So, you’ve already decided you’re going to head out into the streets of New York City to observe the marathon. It’s free to attend and, for many, this will be the right option. However, people will want to make the event extra special — perhaps because they are cheering on one or two runners who are very special to them. If you’re looking for the best time possible at this year’s marathon, we highly recommend our unique New York City Marathon Brunch Event.

Some reasons to choose the YVP special NYC Marathon Brunch:

  • Mile 16: Guests will enjoy a spectacular view of the 59th Street bridge, catching runners as they enter into Manhattan from Queens heading North on 1st Avenue. Towards the end of the Marathon, you can move to the final mile to see the runners pass the finish line!
  • Mile 25:  Guests will be positioned on Central Park South to participate in this thrilling moment as the fastest runners in the world get ready to cross the finish line!
  • Guests will enjoy a scrumptious and lavish brunch for several hours, entertainment, and premium cocktails.
  • Guests will receive swag, and we will provide materials for sign making and props to enhance the cheering experience.
  • YVP will offer several fun tech-related methods for engaging on social media as well as offering keepsakes of the event.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

The History of the New York City Marathon

Lastly, we’d like to finish this guide with a brief history of the NYC Marathon. The very first New York City Marathon took place in 1970. The marathon took place in Central Park and it cost just $1 to enter. 127 people registered to run the race, but only 55 runners finished it. Just five years later, and the NYC Marathon was the official U.S. Women’s Championship, and the race had gone up to 339 finishers — an increase of over 500%.

In 1976, something like the marathon route we know today was created. This route through all of the five boroughs of New York City was designed to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States. There were 2,090 entrants to this marathon and a whopping 1,549 finishers. Another huge increase, and only on the year before.

In the 1980s, the NYC Marathon began to be filmed and broadcasted on TV and the number of finishers increased  from 12,512 in 1980 to 24,659 in 1989.

In the 1990s, the NYC Marathon grew even more popular. And, in 1997, the number of finishers grew to 30,427, for the first time surpassing the 30k mark.

In the 2000s, the first wheelchair division on the NYC Marathon was created. NYC also joined Boston, Chicago, London, and Berlin in forming the World Marathon Majors. 

In 2014, the 1 millionth finisher of the NYC Marathon crossed the finish line. And in 2018, there were 52,813 finishers, making it the largest marathon in history. 

There is so much more to say about the New York City Marathon, but we hope that this cursory overview has at least informed and inspired a few readers. If you’d like to watch this year’s NYC Marathon, you can catch the whole event on TV or head down in person. And if you’d like to watch it in style and comfort, consider booking our NYC Marathon Brunch. If you have any questions for the team at Your VIP Pass whatsoever, please just contact us!

a crowd of people walking down the street