The Saturday before the NYC marathon New York Road Runners always puts on the 5K Dash to the Finish race which, as you may guess, finishes at the NYC Marathon finish line. The course itself is not the last 5K of the marathon, but maybe that’s good as the last 5K of the marathon is full of hills and only takes you around (inside and out) the lower part of Central Park. This course starts at the UN, takes you across 42nd street to 6th Ave, then up into the bottom of the park for the last mile until you join with the marathon finisher shoot. It is a course that shows off the city for all the marathon tourists, and it was pretty cool even for a jaded longtime resident. It was also fast.
The course was mostly downhill until the last quarter mile and the excitement of running through the city definitely propels you. Ryan destroyed his old 5K PR (and ran his first under 30 minute 5k!!) and I ran about a minute faster pace than I’d been expecting.
The race is crowded and there were clearly a lot of people doing it as a fun/easy run. Ryan said there was a fair amount of weaving around people in order for him to stay on pace. Unlike the BAA 5K though, we were corralled by pace /bibs, so I didn’t see as many walkers who had started up with their speedy friends.
The point-to-point course meant the NYRR put bag check at the finish – meaning, if you wanted to check a bag you had to first go to Central Park and then get yourself all the way to 47th and first. Not a big deal yesterday (we chose not to check anything), but on colder years it would be a hard choice to check warm clothes or shiver post race to avoid that long walk between the park and the UN at the beginning.
Overall, I really enjoyed the race because the course was great and crossing mile 26 and heading to the marathon finish is a magical experience (yes I pretended I was finishing the marathon, duh). However, I was disappointed that there was no medal or heat sheets. I would normally never expect this at a 5K, but for the price of this race and the fact it was affiliated (in name, if not sponsorship) with the marathon, it would have been nice. I loved my little 5K medal and BAA shirt I got from their pre-marathon 5K because, even though it’s only a 5K, it made me feel like part of the marathon weekend club. While doing this race did get me excited for marathon Sunday, I think a few small tweaks could make it feel even more exciting.
Race Price: 3- $40-$55 depending on NYRR membership and date of registration.
Organization: 4. NYRR race are always well organized, which I like to tell myself is part of the reason the races cost a little more.
Level of Communication: 4- communication was pretty good but I actually could have used just one email about big pickup earlier than the week of the race so I could have planned my week around going to the expo to pick it up. As it turned out, I didn’t have time to go and Ryan picked my bib up. I love the expo so I would have liked to excuse to go.
Extra points though for NYRR being so responsive after Ryan contacted them to let them know his start time didn’t record. (On a PR! Heartbreaking!!) They sent a form and are going to look into correcting his time.
Race Course: 5. Great!
Swag: 4– Nice snack bag at the finish. I’m won over by snacks.
Medal: 1- I won’t give a 0 because it was a 5K, but for $50, a medal is nice.
Spectator Support: 5- New York, you know how to show up. Best crowd at any 5K I’ve ever run.
Overall Score: 3.6