Half Marathon Organizers Announce Changes to Race's Downtown Portion

After the 2012 Half Marathon, above, runners crowded onto Fulton St. and elsewhere in the Seaport. This year, they will instead be encouraged to head to Battery Park for post-race festivities. Photo: New York Road Runners

Feb. 10, 2014

Lower Manhattan once again will host the final two-and-a-half miles of the Half Marathon, one of the biggest running events in the city. But not quite the way it did last year.

On Sunday morning, March 16, an estimated 20,000 runners will charge down West Street and around the tip of the island to finish at Wall and Water streets in in 13th annual Half Marathon, sponsored by New York Road Runners.

Unlike last year, when runners finished the 13.1-mile race at Water and Wall streets and headed up to Fulton Street for a post-race concert—the source of complaints from some neighbors and Community Board 1—this year the masses of participants will be encouraged to make their way south to festivities in Battery Park. The first runners are expected to finish the race by approximately 8:30 a.m., and the last ones are supposed to finish by about 11:30 a.m. 

“We want to make sure that this year’s configuration works well for everybody,” Kyle McLaughlin, an events manager at New York Road Runners, told Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee earlier this month. He noted that construction on Fulton Street has led to the rerouting of runners after the half-marathon.

In years past, there has been a cheer zone at West and Chambers streets with the voice of a Road Runners announcer cheering into a loudspeaker before 8 a.m., in earshot of surrounding residential buildings. In an email to the Trib, Road Runners spokesman Chris Weiller said “the plan now” is to only have a loudspeaker at the finish line, where an announcer will congratulate runners as they complete the race. Throughout the morning, an unamplified drum band stationed at the Downtown Heliport will perform for the runners as they head up the FDR Drive. 

During the race, only one southbound lane on West Street between Vesey and Liberty streets will be open, McLaughlin said, with the other lanes blocked off to traffic for the runners. Traffic on northbound West Street will be uninterrupted. There will be signs indicating lane closures on West Street and elsewhere along the half-marathon route.

Road Runners is also continuing its “Run the City” program, an initiative it began in 2011 to help promote businesses along the race route. So far, 27 Downtown merchants have signed on to participate. This year, Road Runners will be partnering with Andaz Wall Street and other Downtown hotels, McLaughlin said, to attract some of the estimated 7,000 half-marathon runners who are coming from outside of the Tri-State area. Some Downtown businesses had praised the program last year for helping them attract more customers than usual.

For a marathon map and other information about the race, go to www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/2014/nyc-half