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Where to Watch the NYC Marathon and Cheer on Your Runner

By Savannah Cox | October 21, 2015 4:52pm | Updated on November 3, 2016 1:44pm
 Local runners offer their advice on where to watch the marathon on Nov. 6.
Local runners offer their advice on where to watch the marathon on Nov. 6.
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Facebook/TCS NYC Marathon

If you're looking to spot your runner in the TCS New York City Marathon, it pays to have a strategy.

Race organizers expect more than 50,000 people to hit the five-borough course on Sunday, Nov. 6, in several waves starting at 8:30 a.m. in Staten Island. 

Marathon organizers recommend that spectators use the marathon's app to track runners' bib numbers, and hop on the subway to catch their runners at a few spots along the way. But choosing those sites can be a bit of a gamble — especially for spectating newbies.

With that in mind, DNAinfo New York asked veteran marathon runners about the best places to view the race:

If you want to watch your runner at the beginning of the course

Mile 3, after runners exit the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: "It isn't overly crowded, and you can actually hear the pounding of the runners' feet as they run by," said Black Girls Run! NYC member Jay Cee Elle.

Mile 8, Lafayette Avenue at Vanderbilt, Classon and Franklin avenues, Brooklyn: The South Brooklyn Running Club favors this spot due to its proximity to the subway, as well as its live music and coffee shop offerings.

If you want to see your runner at the middle of the course

Pulaski Bridge on the Queens side: Runners here will have just crossed the halfway mark, and can use crowd support to keep going, a NYC Marathon spokesperson said.

End of mile 15, just before the Queensboro Bridge, Queens: Runners will need encouragement before they "begin the next quiet, uphill mile," Black Girls Run! member Michelle Caldeira said.

If you want to follow your runner closer to the finish line

Mile 20, just past the Willis Avenue Bridge, The Bronx: The uncrowded spot provides spectators great views of marathon participants, marathoner Francine Alfandary noted.

Mile 23 along Fifth Avenue and before Central Park, Manhattan: Since this part of the marathon is on an incline, runners say the one-mile stretch can feel like eternity — and is therefore a place where supporters can really positively impact runners, Black Girls Run! member Bea Whitaker mentioned.

If you want to follow your runner throughout the marathon

Regular marathon runner and former New York Flyers president Alan Gardner recommends heading to Brooklyn early in the morning to scope out the nearest subway stops and get a spot at Fourth Avenue near the Williamsburg Savings Bank.

Once runners pass this spot, approximately mile 8 of the run, Gardner says that spectators can hop the subway up to First Avenue in Manhattan, making sure to stand between 90th and 113th streets on the west side of First Avenue.

After the runners pass this stretch, Gardner states that spectators simply need to walk west toward Fifth Avenue, and find a spot somewhere on the east side of Fifth Avenue as the runners race south toward Central Park.

To watch him from four locations, marathoner Stephen Jackson says that his family takes the 4 train to Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn to see him around mile 8, then takes the 6 train to 69th Street in Manhattan, where they watch him around mile 16.

They then hop the 6 train and go up to 110th Street to see him run on First and Fifth avenues, toward the end of the race. Next, they walk one block to Lenox Avenue to take the 2/3 train toward the 1 train, and get off at Columbus Circle to meet him at the end, Jackson added.

If you want to remain stationary

Mt. Morris Park, Manhattan: When marathon runners come down 135th Street, they do a loop around the park, Alan Garner said. The park spot is ideal for the day as it's close to Sylvia's Restaurant, a soul food institution in Harlem, Gardner added.

Near the Citibank building on 1 Court Square, Queens: "It's easily accessible by public transportation, [and there are] plenty of places to get coffee and food," said New York Flyers member William Henry Jones, II.

Fourth Avenue by Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn: Members of the South Brooklyn Running Club recommend this spot to get a good sense of the size, as from here you can see an "endless stream of runners."

East 90th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan: "You get to look down Fifth to see the runners coming up the hill, many struggling, and then the relief of the route flattening at the turn into the park," marathoner Douglas Runte said.


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