If you haven't heard, the 2023 NYC Marathon took place on November 5, 2023 and it was an exciting one. A total of 51,402 runners participated in the event.
Coming out of Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Tamirat Tola took home the 1st place finisher in the men's division. With a pace of 04:46 per mile, Tamirat finished the marathon in an official time of 2:04:58 breaking the course record Geoffrey Mutai set in 2011 by 8 seconds.
In the women's group from Boulder Colorado, Hellen Obiri took home the honor of finishing 1st. Her official finish time was 2:27:23 with a pace of 05:38 per mile. She also placed 29th overall.
Overall the average time of all participants completing the marathon was 4:39:49. The average time of men finishing was 4:26:40 while the average time of women was 4:56:12. As an outsider who has never participated in a marathon I have to say, tackling a challenge like this and completing it is quite impressive.
In fact participants from age groups all over weren't afraid of this event. Brendan Cradden finished in 5:29:22 at 81 years old. Gillian Carrick finished the event with a time of 4:43:32 at 80 yrs old. Both were the fastest in their 80-89 age group. Anthony Butsikares finished in 3:14:48 and Lexi Baker finished 3:16:41. At 19 years old both Anthony & Lexi were the fastest runners of the 18-19 age group.
In writing this post, I wanted to be sure I captured the true essence of this race. With this in mind, I was able to connect with a few Strava employees who volunteered to share their experience of the event. Take a read below:
Kurt: The start line is magical. There is just something about the energy from the crowd and especially once your wave and corral make the walk to the actual start line. There's music playing and it gives energy like no other. It's honestly really hard to stick to the race plan and not just rocket out of the gate!
Syd: The start line is fun! Looking onto the Verrazano Bridge is daunting but also calming knowing it's the biggest hill of the course.
Brandon: It seemed surprisingly calm in the corrals. There were a ton of people and it was crowded, but it seemed like everyone was focused...or maybe they were nervous and just in their own heads like me.
Kurt: For me it seems like around miles 18-23 are always really rough. Conveniently, this is also where my friends station themselves to cheer. Seeing them is always a huge motivation boost but there's also not much you can do in those hard miles but put your head down and keep pushing one mile, one step, and one "I'm only allowed to walk at the water stops" at a time.
Syd: The most challenging part is not getting caught up in other people’s paces. From what I have been told you want to be relaxed in the first 6-10 miles. In my case I thought I could hold a pace that I didn't realize was too fast until late.
Brandon: The most challenging parts for me were the bridge inclines; they probably were not that steep, but they were tough for me. To overcome them, I ended up walking a little bit of the climb to keep the heart rate down and save some energy for the rest of the race.
Kurt: I can't pick just one, but to name a few: running across the bridge from Staten Island has incredible scenery, the musical acts and bands playing along the way were such a great source of energy, and then a very common favorite is all the creative signs people have.
Syd: Brooklyn was amazing. The energy and the people.
Brandon: The standout moments for me were seeing people I knew cheering at different parts of the race from my family to the Strava team to some brand partners I just had meetings with the day before. The crowd had great energy the whole route but actually spotting someone I knew in the crowd and seeing them see me brought another jolt of energy.
Kurt: Of course I felt proud and excited that I finished, the marathon is a huge accomplishment but given how the last few miles went, the biggest emotion was just an overwhelming sense of joy that I was only a short walk away from a free bottle of gatorade.
Syd: An overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my personal journey and the atmosphere created by the race organizers, fans and other racers.
Brandon: Mostly, I was happy my legs made it.
Kurt: A Burrito, there's just something about a huge veggie burrito that hits the spot after such a long run
Syd: I had a tough time eating for a few hours but we went to a steakhouse for dinner that fulfilled every craving I had for the last few weeks. Steak, drinks, and dessert!
Brandon: Chocolate shake and french toast.
Kurt: Organize your transportation to the race start early. Last time I ran it I didn't sign up for a bus until the expo so I got a ticket for the only bus available, the 5am midtown bus, which got me to the start 5 hours before my 10:45 start time. This time, I got on a much better bus for my start time and not having to wait around in the cold for hours did so much better for my legs!
Syd: First is to definitely do it. Second would be to prepare well and enjoy the road towards the big day!
Brandon: My advice would be to do it if you have any inkling of interest to run a marathon. And if you can get to New York by Thursday morning, I would recommend doing all the tourist walking around stuff Thursday and maybe a little on Friday but try not to bounce around the city, walking all over on Saturday only to have tired legs on Sunday.
Kurt: Of course the signs people were cheering with were all amazing, I saw a guy handing out shots of fireball at around mile 22, and the bands that were playing in the earlier miles gave me so much hype, but there's one runner that probably takes the cake. Unfortunately I didn't see her in person, but later in the evening over dinner with friends, we check the marathon app and watch just a couple seconds of the finish line live stream and who do we see cross the finish line Wrinkle the Duck.
Syd: I saw several friends along the way and a friend who I trained with leading up to the race that I started next to.
Brandon: The memorable interactions were definitely seeing the Strava team at mile 12 then spotting my family in the crowd at mile 16 and 24.
Kurt: Running is fun. There's so much that can be gained for stepping outside our comfort zones and trying hard things. The friends I've made through running are amazing and the community is so supportive.
Syd: A main takeaway is that the marathon is fun and it requires patience. Perspective matters.
Brandon: If you have an opportunity to do something you have any interest in, do it as soon as possible and enjoy it because you don't know if that'll be the only opportunity that comes around.
Kurt: Right now I'm just looking forward to taking the next two weeks off and then transitioning to doing some aerobic base and ski touring training. I've got ideas about tackling some ultra distances in the future and maybe running my first 50k sometime next year.
Syd: I will be running The Olympic Trials marathon in February! I am excited to get back to running and chasing the next goal!
Brandon: I'll continue to bounce around triathlons, trail running and road running, but I definitely am considering adding the 6 majors to my bucket list.
I want to give a special thank you to Brandon, Kurt, and Syd for sharing so vividly as I could imagine myself in their shoes!
What about you?
If you participated in the race please share in the comments as we would love to read your story. Even if this is your first time being introduced to the event like myself, or just simply enjoy the topic, we would like to hear your thoughts. Please drop kudos and share your thoughts.