The New York City Marathon is a unique race from start to finish, and one of the things that truly sets it apart from other races is the marathon village where runners congregate before heading to their respective corrals. I’ve run New York City twice in the past, so have spent at least six hours in the marathon village on Staten Island — maybe even longer! The first year, I was pretty shocked at the vast differences between this pre-race situation and others. The security is heightened, which means it takes a little bit longer to get there, and you’re stuck waiting in a (very large) contained area for an extended time period. So it pays to be prepared!
Below, please find a list of suggested items to pack for marathon village. Note that these items are separate from your actual race-day outfit (including SPI-belt and any running accessories!) and fuel for the race.
- Throwaway layers. Even if you think you won’t need them, bring them. You can get cheap sweatshirts and/or sweatpants at a local Thrift Store, or take the opportunity to clean out your closet and find warm clothes you don’t wear anymore.
- A blanket. Even if you don’t think you’ll be cold, you’ll be waiting for awhile. You may want a blanket to snuggle under, or even sit on.
- Toilet paper/wet wipes. While the Port-A-Potty situation is typically plentiful, you never know what might happen once you’re inside. Be prepared.
- Plastic ziplock bags for your phone in case it’s wet.
- Extra food & water. You’ll be waiting a long enough that you’ll probably need to eat. Bring food, snacks, and water/gatorade.
- Clear garbage bags. These can be used for warmth (yes, you can wear a garbage bag!) or as something to sit on. The ground will most likely be wet upon arrival.
- Extra socks. These can double as hand warmers pre-race.
- Extra sunscreen. It may be November, but you’ll likely be outside during the sun’s strongest hour. Grease up!
- Bodyglide. If you love it, lube it.
- Handwarmers. It probably won’t be that cold, but if you tend to get chilly easily, might as well bring a pair.
- OPTIONAL: A cheap, portable phone charger. Marathon village gets terrible service and will eat your battery alive. If you plan on having your phone with you post-race for pictures, getting in touch with friends, etc., a cheap portable phone charger can at least ensure you’ll start the race with a decently full battery. You can choose to hand off your charger to a friend or family member spectating the race, or leave it in marathon village to be donated. **Either way, I highly recommend keeping your phone on AIRPLANE MODE in marathon village to avoid burning out your battery**
Other things to remember:
- Lay your race day outfit out the night before and share it with your friends and family members so they know what you’ll be wearing. This also helps you have a smooth and coordinated marathon morning.
- If you’re planning to meet up with friends inside marathon village, try to meet them at the ferry or bus beforehand.
- Trim your toenails the night before the race.
- Write your name on your bib or shirt — it will be so helpful to have strangers calling out your name!
- Charge your phone, GPS watch, and iPod (if you use one) the night before the race.
- Pick a post-race meeting spot for friends and family spectating before Sunday. If you aren’t checking a bag, ask that someone hold a spare change of clothes and a body wipe for you.
Do you have anything to add? What are your “must-have” items in marathon village?