The New York City Marathon is a bucket list race for thousands of recreational runners. Not only is it arguably the granddaddy of the World Marathon Majors, it’s the largest marathon in the world with a field of around 50,000 runners pre-pandemic (although the London Marathon is catching up post-pandemic). 

The NYC Marathon course is also arguably the toughest of them all, up there with the Boston Marathon course, which at least has the advantage of being an overall net downhill—something that contributes to faster times there, as it does in Chicago. But because the New York City Marathon course is a bit more crowded and has significantly more uphill, including five bridge crossings, it’s a tough route for chasing a personal best and typically produces slower times overall than other races, including in the elite field. 

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