COURT SQUARE — Runners in the New York City Marathon only pass through a short section of Queens during their 26-mile trek, but it's known to be a hard one.
That's why the Queens Tourism Council will man a "cheering station" — complete with blue-and-orange balloons and pompoms — to help boost the morale of marathoners as they run through Queens on Sunday.
After leaving Brooklyn over the Pulaski Bridge, the race enters Queens through Long Island City before heading over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, according to the marathon route.
"It's considered a tough stretch," Rob MacKay, tourism director for the Queens Economic Development Corporation, said of the roughly two-mile section of Queens that runners pass through around the race's 14-mile mark.
"You're about halfway through and you've already been running for a long time," he said, saying runners also have to endure whipping winds coming off the East River.
"The original pre-race adrenaline is running down, and you know you have a really long time to go."
He said that Queens has also earned somewhat of a bad reputation among marathon runners compared to more popular race-watching spots in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
"I've heard from a couple of people that we don't cheer as much as the other places which is something that we definitely have to change," MacKay said. "Some people have said the Queens stretch is their least favorite stretch."
The Queens Tourism Council's cheerleaders will be stationed in Court Square at 44th Drive and 21st Street starting about 10:30 a.m., where they'll be accompanied by music from a live band.
The group — which will include volunteers from local running club Queens Distance Runners and the nonprofit Queens Centers for Progress — will also be equipped with cow bells, pompoms, balloons and signs, and will be handing out water to runners.
"We're kind of excited to do this, and make sure that the runners enjoy Queens," MacKay said.