Top 10 Things to Know About The 2023 New York City Marathon

This article originally appeared on Womens Running

1. It's the Largest Marathon in the World, But Isn't Known for Fast Times

The New York City Marathon had 47,838 finishers last year, once again making it the biggest marathon in the world. That total was considerably higher than the 31,836 finishers it recorded in the COVID-limited race of 2021, but well below the 53,627 record number of finishers in 2019. This year's field has 50,000 registered runners from 130 countries.

The course, which passes through all five of the city's boroughs, begins on the southwestern approach to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island and takes runners on a 26.2-mile journey through parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, before heading back into Manhattan and finishing in Central Park. Although the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is by far the biggest hill, the undulating course is full of rolling hills. It has 810 feet of elevation gain and 824 feet of elevation loss from start to finish, which is why it's not known for super-fast times. (The flatter course of the Chicago Marathon has only 243 feet of gain and the same amount of loss.). However, the deep pro fields and temperatures in the low-50s could produce fast races this year.

2. The Excitement Revs Up on Friday

While some marathon-related events began on November 1, the weekend officially kicks off with the New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony at 5 P.M. ET on November 3 at the finish line in Central Park. The Parade of Nations will be led by participants from New York Road Runners' community programs and will include runners from participating countries and territories around the world, followed by local running clubs Latinas Run, North Brooklyn Runners, Van Cortlandt Track Club, and Queens Distance Runners. A fireworks show will conclude the event at 6:30 P.M. ET. Registered runners need to pick up their bibs at the New York City Marathon Expo from November 2-4 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

hall of fame new york city marathon
Deena Kastor and Ernst van Dyk. (Photo: J. Countess, Getty & Maddie Meyer, Getty )

At the New York Road Runners Night of Champions Gala on Friday night, retired American star Deena Kastor, the bronze medalist in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics, will be inducted in the New York City Marathon Hall of Fame along with Ernst van Dyk, a South African wheelchair racer and handcyclist who twice won the New York City Marathon (2005, 2015).

Patti Dillon, one of the world's top marathoners in the late 1970s and early 1980s and former world record holder, will be given the Abebe Bikila Award for her efforts coaching the The Wings Elite Program of Native American runners since 2022. Dillon, the first American woman to break 2:30 in the marathon, is of Mi'kmaq heritage. Erin Strout, a journalist who has contributed to Outside, Women's Running, and Runner's World, will be presented with the George Hirsch Journalism Award for her excellence in writing about running. The event includes a live and online auction for a private shakeout run with Kastor, New York Giants football tickets and entries to Abbott World Marathon Majors races, the Sydney Marathon, the Madagascar Marathon and Half Marathon.

3. New Shoes Dropping Are Dropping This Weekend

Several new running shoes are dropping this week, some at the New York City Marathon expo and at special events around the city. Among the new models are the NYC edition of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v13 and the ASICS' maximally cushioned Novablast 4 training shoe, which will both be available at the race expo. Craft is releasing a "Tommy Rivs" edition of its Nordlite Speed on Friday evening at a special event at Paragon Sports following a 6 P.M. shakeout run with Craft athlete and cancer survivor Tommy Rivers Puzey.

RELATED: First Run: Asics Novablast 4, Reviewed

4. The Women's Professional Field Might Be the Best Ever

Last year's surprise winner Sharon Lokedi, 29, of Kenya (2:23:23), is returning to defend her title, although she's been sidelined with a foot injury ever since. Hellen Obiri, a 33-year-old Kenyan runner who has been training in Boulder, Colorado, since last fall, is also back. She finished sixth (2:25:49) in her debut in New York last fall, but then went on to win the Boston Marathon in April and lowered her personal best to 2:21:38. Dathan Ritzenhein, her U.S.-based coach, said recently she'd be capable of running in the 2:11 range if she was racing on a faster course. (The fastest women's time ever run on the NYC course is the 2:22:31 Kenya's Margaret Okayo ran in 2003.)

new york city marathon
Sharon Lokedi and Hellen Obiri. (Photo: John Lamparski, Getty & Maddie Meyer, Getty)

Kenyan Brigid Kosgei, 29, who broke the marathon world record in 2019, finishing Chicago in 2:14:04 (since lower to 2:11:53 by Ethiopian Tigst Assefa in September's Berlin Marathon) is coming from an injury after dropping out of the 2023 London Marathon in the first mile. Also in the field are 2021 Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, a 30-year-old Kenyan who won the 2021 New York City and 2022 Boston marathons and owns a 2:17:16 personal best, and Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey, 25, the 2022 world champion in the 10,000 meters, who ran the fastest marathon debut in history at the 2022 Valencia Marathon with a 2:16:49 effort. Kenya's Edna Kiplagat, 43, a two-time world champion, and Boston (2017, 2021), London (2014), and New York City (2010) winner is also back in the mix after a disappointing showing in April's Boston Marathon (30th, 2:34:40).

RELATED: 24 Hours with One of the World's Best Marathoners

5. American Stars Are Making Postpartum Comebacks

There are five American women in the professional field: Molly Huddle (2:26:33), Kellyn Taylor (2:24:28), Sydney Devore (2:31:08), Meriah Earle (2:34:19), and Joanna Reyes (2:26:23). The top two American women in the race are Huddle, 39, and Taylor, 37, both making postpartum comebacks after giving birth to their daughters in 2022--Huddle welcomed Josephine in April and Taylor welcomed Keagan in December. Huddle hasn't finished a marathon since April 2019, when she placed 12th in the London Marathon. However, she did run two relatively fast half marathons this year, including a fifth-place, 1:10:01 effort at the Houston Half Marathon in January. Taylor's last marathon was two years ago in New York, where she placed sixth in 2:26:10. In September, she finished seventh in the U.S. 20K Championships in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1:08:04.

This past spring, Huddle experienced the first major bone injury of her career--a femoral stress fracture--which took her out of training for three months. After talking with her medical team, she's fairly convinced that her dietary needs weren't being met while breastfeeding. Since then, she's learned to adjust her fueling to account for what she loses not only to training, but also feeding her daughter. "I refer to it as my body's new rules, because the old me always knew how to fuel and I knew what I could handle workload-wise," Huddle said. "Now there is just more taxing the system and there's less time to mindfully refuel."

6. There's a Fast Men's Elite Field

<span class="article__caption">Tamirat Tola, Abdi Nageeye, and Cam Levins.</span> (Photo: Stu Forster, Getty & Andy Astfalck, Getty & Doug Pensinger, Getty)
Tamirat Tola, Abdi Nageeye, and Cam Levins. (Photo: Stu Forster, Getty & Andy Astfalck, Getty & Doug Pensinger, Getty)

Although the men's field isn't filled with as many stars as the women's, it includes six runners who have run 2:07 or faster. (The men's course record of 2:05:06 was set in 2011 by Kenyan Geoffrey Muttai.) Ethiopia's 32-year-old Tamirat Tola (2:03:3), the gold at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, and Shura Kitata, 29, a two-time New York City Marathon runner-up with a 2:04:49 personal best, are a formidable one-two punch. Also in the field is last year's third-place finisher Abdi Nageeye (2:04:56), a 34-year-old Somali-Dutch long-distance runner who earned the silver medal in the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for the Netherlands. Cam Levins, a 34-year-old two-time Canadian Olympian, will be making his New York City Marathon debut after breaking the North American record (2:05:36) in March when he finished fifth at the Tokyo Marathon. Returning after a fourth-place finish in Boston back in April is 29-year-old Kenyan Albert Korir (2:08:03), the 2019 New York City runner-up and 2021 champion. Also of note is Kenyan Edward Cheserek, 29, who was a record-setting high school runner in New Jersey and a 17-time NCAA champion at the University of Oregon, is making his marathon debut six weeks after winning the Copenhagen Half Marathon in 59:11.

7. A Few Fast American Men Are Tuning Up for the U.S. Olympic Trials

With the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon just 90 days after the New York City Marathon on February 3 in Orlando, Florida, it would be easy to assume that most top U.S. runners are opting not to race in the Big Apple. But there's actually a contingent of five very fast Americans in the men's elite field, led by four-time world championships competitor Elkanah Kibet, a 40-year-old Kenyan-born runner who earned U.S. citizenship while serving in the U.S. Army. The fourth-place finisher in New York in 2021, Kibet owns a 2:09:07 personal best and most recently placed ninth at the Prague Marathon (2:10:43) in May. Futsum Zienasellaissie, a 30-year-old Eritrean-born American runner who went to high school in Indianapolis and ran collegiately for Northern Arizona University, won the U.S. marathon championship in his 26.2-mile debut last December at the California International Marathon (2:11:01), and then lowered his personal best to 2:09:40 with a strong effort at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. Other top Americans in the elite field include Nathan Martin, 33, the fastest U.S.-born black marathoner, who lowered his personal best to 2:10:45 with a fourth-place finish at Grandma's Marathon in June; Reed Fischer, 28, who was 10th in New York last fall and owns a 2:10:54 personal best, and Tyler McCandless, 37, who won the Pittsburgh Marathon in May (2:16:10).

8. There Are Many Pre-Race Events and Post-Race Parties

Bobbi Gibb

There are a lot of brand activations, events and parties before and after the marathon this weekend

  • Bandit, a small independent apparel brand started in New York City in 2020, will have a lot going on from its pop-up store in the Shopify New York retail space, including a 9 A.M. breakfast run on Friday, shakeout run, a 9 A.M. shakeout run with Asics on Saturday morning, a post-race party with Asics from 5-10 P.M. Sunday and free medal portraits from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. on Monday.

  • The Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K at 8:45 A.M. on Saturday is sold out, but spectators will get a glimpse of top American runners Abdihamid Nur, Hilary Bor, Weini Kelati, and Emily Infeld as they dash from Midtown Manhattan to the marathon finish line in Central Park in this USATF 5K Championship race.

  • The motherhood organization &Mother and Vita Coco beverage brand are hosting a Saturday event called "bRUNch and Run" that will include a noon shakeout run from Fleet Feet Columbus Circle, followed by a 1 P.M. panel discussion at the Museum of Art and Design with &Mother founder, Olympian, and gamechanger Alysia Montano; Alison Desir, author of Running While Black and Michele Lampach, leader of the Bobbie for Change parenting organization.

  • Tracksmith is hosting the first New York version of its underground "First to the Trackhouse" race-within-a-race that will challenge runners to be the first one to run 6.3 miles from the marathon finish line to the post-race party at the Tracksmith retail store in Brooklyn. The men's and women's champions will be awarded a commemorative robe and a trophy cast by marathon pioneer and noted artist Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

  • The Bridge the Gap XX post-race party from 6-10 P.M. on Sunday at Harbor NYC Rooftop will celebrate marathon finishers and 20 years of run culture with DJ music, drinks, food, and medal engraving.

RELATED: His First Marathon Was in Prison. His Second Will Be in New York City

9. A Few B-Level Celebrities Are Running the Marathon

This year's list of celebrity runners starts with Tony and Grammy Award winning singer Patina Miller, who is not only running the race but will also be singing the national anthem at the starting line. She will be running to support Komera, an organization that works to encourage success in the lives of young women in Rwanda through education, health and community. Nev Schulman, host and producer of MTV's "Catfish," will be running in his seventh New York City Marathon, this time as a guide runner for a visually impaired athlete running with Achilles International. Luke Macfarlane, known for his roles in the Apple+ show "Platonic," the 2022 film "Brothers & Sisters" and several Hallmark Channel movies, will be running the marathon for the first time on behalf of Beyond Type 1, which supports diabetes research.

Zdeno Chara, a 6-foot-9 former Boston Bruins hockey player and 2011 Stanley Cup champion, ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year in 3:38:23. He's running the New York City Marathon as part of a quest to finish all six World Marathon Major races. Matt James, the star of season 25 of "The Bachelor," will be running the race for the second consecutive year after a 3:46 effort last year. Samantha Judge and Emily Rizzo, wives of New York Yankees stars Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, will also be running the marathon for the first time.

10. How to Watch the Race and Follow Runners

The race will be covered live on ESPN2 from 8 A.M. ET to 11:30 A.M ET. Pre-race coverage for the 2023 New York City Marathon will begin at 7 A.M. ET. You can also download the ESPN app or ABC 7 New York App to stream the event. The pro women's race starts at 8:40 A.M. ET. The men's pro division begins at 9:05 A.M. ET and the Wave 1 start is at 9:10 A.M. ET. (Reminder: Daylight saving time ends at 2 AM. ET on Sunday, which is race morning.)

To track runners remotely, download the TCS New York City Marathon app. This year, race organizers have upped the number of timing mats and added five cameras along the route, for a more intimate runner tracking experience on the app. In addition, there will be a livestream of the professional race available in the app, built with "second screen" compatibility, meaning you'll be able to seamlessly watch the race just as you toggle to track runners.

RELATED: How to Watch the 2023 New York City Marathon

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.