TCS New York City marathon 2022

24 March 2024

When we dream of a marathon, one of the first to come to mind in the “bucket list”, it’s New York! It’s legendary but it was not easy to participate in it!

  • First step : get a bib!

Yes, I am clearly not the only one who dreams of running the New York marathon! Each year there are many more runners wishing to participate than bibs put on sale by the organization. To obtain the grail, several possibilities are available to you :

  • Be a very good runner and achieve a qualifying time which depends on gender and age (to give you an idea for me it would be 3h15)
  • Register for a draw (I believe it’s less than 10% chance)
  • Go through a specialized travel agency (several companies have the rights to New York but it is still quite expensive for around 4 days there)
  • Register via a charity (but again you have to raise a lot of funds and for American associations, it’s not easy to convince your loved ones in France!)
  • Register for the first year for the virtual marathon (be careful, you must select the option to have a “Guaranteed, non-complimentary entry” for the marathon (this means that you have the bib guaranteed if you pay for it)

It’s this last option that I chose! It is indeed the safest option for a reasonable cost ($180 even for virtual registration in this case). But that means hurting yourself a little in a 2-week window the year before.!

  • Second step : virtual marathon…

The rules are as follows: you must run 42.195 in one go (in a 24-hour window); the organization allows this to be validated over a 2-week window (the last day being the day of the real marathon in New York); there is no maximum time (well24 hours as it must be done on a single calendar day). The race is validated via Strava or the official marathon application. Nothing prevents you from signing up for a real marathon at this time so as not to run it alone in your corner..

A year before, at the end of 2021, I clearly wasn’t capable of running a marathon! The Paris half marathon had already been an ordeal (of course it was hot). So a full marathon 😱. So I couldn’t sign up for a real marathon because I wouldn’t have been able to finish in the allowed time! To complete this race, I chose to leave Paris (and avoid the temptation to give up) and I went to the banks of the Loire to cover this distance alone. I had spotted 2 bridges which were approximately 21km apart and therefore I could do a single loop. It wasn’t clearly easy (especially since the road back was too busy I had to change route), I alternated walking and running for around 15km and therefore walking at 100% for around 27km… Clearly a big mental test, I spent a few km at the bottom of the hole but when we approach the goal, the magic happens and all these negative thoughts evaporate!

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  • Third step : Training!

My training was actually done over a year. Of course not a year of specific preparation but as I couldn’t run a marathon (and hardly a half) 12 months ago I decided to surround myself with a coach (Suzzy) to gradually re-increase the distances and the load with this final objective. My first intermediate goal was my 3rd semi marathon de Paris. Then continue the training (using the Adidas 10km) and start my specific preparation during the summer, already being more comfortable on long outings. I finalized my preparation (especially in terms of equipment and supplies) 1 month before the Lyon half marathon (which was at the beginning of October).

  • Fourth step : Marathon registration

When registrations for the marathon were launched (several months before), I received a code allowing me to claim my guaranteed bib. In previous years, you had to choose between having a poncho on arrival or being able to leave a deposit. This year, we could have both! A few weeks before the marathon you will also be asked to choose a transport option to reach the starting line. Two options: bus (which leaves at max 6am because then the roads closure); the ferry + local bus (you will then have to go to the ferry yourself). Several time slots are possible, be careful to take a little margin anyway, you need at least 1h30 before your departure time. There are a lot of people so waiting times, I’ll explain more later. You will also need to indicate in which time slot you plan to collect your bib (it’s possible to go to another slot at the last moment, this is just so that they can organize themselves as best as possible).

  • Fifth step : Bib collection

That’s it, the day is approaching, you are in New York🏢!

Collection is done at an exhibition center in Manhattan. The collection of the bib goes quite quickly. You will also be entitled to a branded marathon t-shirt (long-sleeved this year when it was very hot but difficult to predict!). Then you can go to the exhibitors area, starting of course with New Balance. There is a bit of a wait to enter their square (obligatory to have access to the other stands). Be careful here you will not have a finisher t-shirt on arrival, you must buy it!! Please note that at the exhibition, unless you go on Thursday, there is a good chance that you will not find your size… Personally I first went to the “NYRR (New York Road Runner)” shop who also sells them. There are fewer people and it’s much more pleasant. Please note that some sports stores also sell them in town. Also be careful, the queue to pay for your New Balance purchases is very long!

Then we enter another space with several stands. I have to say I expected a lot more! Afterwards it was the first real post-covid year (the previous year only American runners could participate). I stopped at the “World Major” stand which allowed you to have a free photo before the wallpaper of your choice. Then I wandered around a bit but without spending!

  • Sixth step : Going to the start lane

That’s it, it’s the big day! Wake up at 6 a.m., time to eat some sports cake (prepared in microwave jars please 😂) then put on your outfit (prepared the day before). Then head to the metro, obviously at this time on a Sunday there are almost only runners! After a few stations I arrive at the ferry. A lot of people! There is no check of bib or reserved time. If you took an hour that was a little short I advise you to come to the ferry earlier. It’s on a first come first served basis! The crossing is quite nice, we pass in front of the Statue of Liberty!

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When you arrive in Staten Island, you have to take a bus because the departure point is too far! I had in mind the old school buses typical of the United States, big disappointment it was only 2 buses/10. And if you thought that in New York everything is well organized, this is the moment when you understand that it can be a mess here too 😂. It’s clearly every man for himself! There is a small tide of humans waiting for the buses which jostle each time a driver arrives (in waves of approximately 10 buses). At each arrival people leave towards the front door, I opted to move between two buses (so quite a bit of space) to move towards the road. It paid off, 2 passes later a bus stopped right in front of me! And miraculously it’s an old bus!!! I think this is my favorite part of my day 😅. Well in reality it’s not very comfortable but it’s iconic! On the descent there is a safety barrier to enter the starting area.

  • Seventh step : Waiting time at Staten Island

This is what I have the least fond memories of, I think! The wait is very long (more than 1h30 because I was one of the last to leave). But here it’s very strict, it’s impossible to get into an SAS earlier. There are 3 starting colors (two go over the top of the bridge, one goes under the bridge). I couldn’t imagine going under the bridge so I changed color (allowed if we go towards the slowest). Then we have an assigned letter, A in front, F behind and we only enter the correct letter or a slower letter. The place is, however, quite well laid out, distribution of water and supplies (but nothing left to eat when I arrived) and plenty of portable toilets. There are also large bins to collect clothes. In the departure SAS there are still toilets. When the time has arrived we start by walking to the starting line in front of the bridge which is a little further away.

  • The marathon 💜


That’s it, we’re in front of the bridge! Traditionally we hear Frank Sinatra’s song “New York, New York”. What’s also magical here is that at each starting wave we have a real cannon fired! I’m clearly here to enjoy it (despite the heat) and that’s it! We start with the Verrazano bridge which is a highlight for me! It’s still a highly publicized image. From the start some people walk and don’t run…


Once you cross the bridge, it’s Brooklyn! We finally see the public and the entertainment. You can also access the first aid station around the 3rd mile (around 5km). Finally water to water yourself! Then begins a sequence of slight uphill and downhill, I wasn’t ready!! At my pace, almost everyone is walking uphill, very difficult mentally to hold on… 

The atmosphere is really crazy!! People are shouting, there is music, encouragement everywhere! The only problem for me is that there are problems with water supply! There are water containers, but no cups… And my right leg is really starting to hurt!

A little before the half, we cross Williamsburg, total calm! The local community does not participate in the festivities. It’s a bit of a culture shock but I found that these moments of silence were good for my ears! I stop a little later at the medical stand to see if they have a spray or something to put on my hamstring. They gave me a tramadol (what?) but, even if it didn’t do anything to my leg, I knew that it helped a lot with my stomach ache that I had been having since the start.!

The half arrives, I’m already walking a lot, I tell myself that it’s going to be extremely long…


After this little half bridge, we arrive in Queens! It’s shortly after that the crossing dreaded by many runners arrives, the Queensboro bridge! Once again, I appreciate the calm that reigns there. When I’m in trouble, I’m very sensitive to hearing and I appreciate big encouragement in small doses! The view is definitely worth your time too!


The elevation becomes much more manageable here, I’m so fed up that I say to myself “ok I’m in pain, but it has to end as quickly as possible” so I run a lot more than the previous km! After a short trip to the Bronx (via a bridge otherwise it’s not fun), we find Manhattan! I feel crazy blisters on my left big toe, until I feel like I have no more room in my shoe… Then it bursts on its own, that’s not pretty!

Then comes the biggest hill (for me) of the route: 5th Avenue which runs along Central Park. Impossible to even consider the possibility of running here! Then we enter Central Park and I start to tell myself that if I hold on I can finish in less than 7 hours. It might be stupid at this stage but I tell myself that I would “at least” avoid the number 7! There are still a few people waiting for us. Then comes Columbus Circle, they start to remove the barriers to reopen to traffic. I then overtake the famous duck who runs the marathon. One last little slight uphill which hurts a lot at this stage and that’s it, the ordeal is finally over 😂.

  • Post marathon

Very few people still there, the advantage is that you don’t have to go very far to get out of the area. But I have my medal, that’s the most important thing! On the other hand, the supply bag is very stocked and I no longer have the strength to carry it… I then shed some of the contents. I collect my things and can FINALLY take off my shoes.

With the barriers, you still have to make detours to reach Columbus Circle (I have my accommodation right behind). Every step costs me. I stop to buy some food, it’s 6:40 p.m. and I haven’t had a real meal since the night before! I know that if I don’t get something to take away I’ll never have the courage to go out and buy!! Good little drama, there is almost no coke zero in the United States, you have to take a light coke 😑.

  • Medal Monday

Here it is clearly an institution to walk around with your medal so I would do it all day Monday (and I would have it in my bag the other days for photos😅). The morning didn’t start very well, my hostel asked me to change rooms, I had to pack my suitcase with cardboard legs (you have to bend down for that…) having slept little (I had too much legs on fire after a marathon!). I made an appointment at a kine office to do a cryotherapy session. Honestly, I didn’t have too much trouble going up the stairs even though my legs were very tired.!

After the cryotherapy, I was able to take advantage of their offer of the day: 30′ of pressotherapy, so pleasant! I then meet Marine and Chloé to relax for a bit in Central Park before they return to France. Then I went to the arrival site to take my official photo for Monday!


  • Following days

So I carried my medal everywhere. What’s nice is that there are spaces dedicated to this at the top of certain buildings, they think of everything here!

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