NYC marathon weather could be 'nearly ideal,' AccuWeather experts say

Most runners participating in this year's New York City marathon should be happy with the weather on tap in the Big Apple this Sunday, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

The forecast temperature stands in stark contrast to the recent extremes recorded in the Northeast as of late, ranging from near-record high temperatures in the 80s last week to the coldest weather since last spring with lows in the 30s and 40s in the days leading up to this weekend.

The annual run covers 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of the city, starting in Staten Island before heading through portions of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. The first wave of participants is the professional wheelchair division at 8:00 a.m., with professional runners starting at 8:40 and 9:05 a.m. The final wave will take off at 11:30 a.m., according to New York Road Runners, the marathon's organizing body.

According to a pair of AccuWeather senior meteorologists who moonlight as amateur outdoor athletes, the weather may not be textbook ideal for runners, but it would be hard to find much fault with the forecast.

"It's going to be a great day for the marathon," said Joe Lundberg. "Comfortable with no rain, little wind and low humidity."

"A race with temperatures starting out in the 50s is nearly ideal for most runners," added Adam Douty.


Both Lundberg and Douty agree that most runners will find the forecast temperatures to be comfortable, with the mercury forecast to start out in the lower 50s for the earlier waves, before rising to near the day's forecast high in the low-to-mid-60s by afternoon. The AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature, which also factors in the expected wind and sunshine, will be very close to the actual thermometer readings.

The historical average for New York City for Sunday is 58, so these temperatures will be a bit higher than average.

While it's hard to complain about the expected weather, some elite runners would prefer temperatures to be a bit lower during a race. A 2012 study by France's National Institute of Sport Expertise and Performance (INSEP), confirmed that ideal running conditions feature temperatures a bit below what is forecast on Sunday.

INSEP's 10-year study of 1.8 million marathoners found that a race-day temperature of 43.2 degrees Fahrenheit produced the quickest times overall for runners. For the fastest, most elite runners in the top one percent of finish times, even cooler weather is preferred, with times peaking at 38.9 degrees.

Runners make their way down 44th Drive in the Queens borough of New York during the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

The presence or absence of precipitation and wind is also crucial to runners. Fortunately, there will be dry weather and very little wind, according to the AccuWeather forecast.

"There will be a light wind out of the west-northwest at 4-8 mph, but that will not be enough to cause issues," said Douty.

Since most of the course is oriented south-southwest to north-northeast, except for the bridge crossings, a west-northwest breeze would result in a light crosswind.

The absence of rain is also a big story in the Big Apple this Saturday and Sunday, as this should be the first weekend without measurable rain since Labor Day weekend, breaking a streak of eight wet weekends in a row.

While mild, the expected weather for this year's marathon is actually cooler compared to last year's marathon. For last year's race on Nov. 6, 2022, the high temperature in Central Park reached 75 degrees, which was a record high for the date.

According to NY1, the warmest race day was in 1979, when it was 80 degrees. The coldest was in 1995, when the mercury was only at 40 degrees to start the race, with a wind chill or AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature in the 20s.

The marathon takes place every year on the first Sunday in November.

Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.