NYC marathon: How chefs fuel up for the race

Here’s what chefs are eating before and after they run the TCS New York City Marathon.

Some 50,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s TCS New York City Marathon.

Among the few notable entrants are runners with some serious culinary chops.

To find out what the food pros eat in preparation of the 26.2-mile run (as well as how they celebrate post-race), we asked three industry names in NYC participating in Sunday’s race: restaurateur Joe Bastianich (Babbo, Becco, Casa Mono, Del Posto, Eataly and so on); chef Elizabeth Falkner (“Iron Chef All Stars”); and George Mendes, executive chef of Aldea and Lupulo.


Joe Bastianich

The night before: “Pasta is still my go-to meal the night before any big race. It is best to keep it simple, such as pasta pomodoro made with San Marzano tomatoes, a little extra virgin olive oil and finished with some Grana Padano cheese for protein. I began incorporating more pasta into my diet when I took up running almost 10 years ago. Most people don’t associate pasta with a healthy lifestyle but I actually use it as my main source of fuel for running and working out. Small portions dressed sparingly with vegetables, olive oil or protein that is low in saturated fat makes for a satisfying and healthy meal.”

The morning of: “Eating the morning of the race is essential but I try not to overdo it. A small bagel with peanut butter or a bowl of Arborio rice sweetened with a little honey is generally sufficient.”

During the race: “During the race it is all water, Gatorade and energy gel shots.”

Post-race: “I’m typically a wine guy, but post-marathon all I want is a pilsner — or four! It is the only occasion that I find myself craving beer. I can usually be found at my restaurant Becco after the race sharing a few pints with some of my long-time employees who run with me. For me, the day of the New York City Marathon is one of the best days of the year. The collective positive energy felt as you run through the five boroughs is like nothing I’ve experienced anywhere else.”


Elizabeth Falkner

The night before: “Halibut or hake or salmon with lemon and fennel and olives and a salad.”

The morning: “My almond butter, cashew milk, date and smoothie and coffee and what I make are what I call ChEF Bites, which are my own power bars made with peanut butter, flax, date, chia, All Bran Buds, turmeric, honey and salt.”

During the race: “Gel blocks and watermelon Gu, and water.”

Post-race: “Probably oysters, more fish, maybe margherita pizza, and beer and champagne!“


George Mendes

The night before: “A lot of veggies such as broccoli and kale, as well as pasta and salmon.”

The morning of: “A little bit of coffee [and] oatmeal with bananas, apples, walnuts and a little honey.”

During the race: “Energy gel shots and UCAN bars.”

Post-race: “I’ll likely head back to my restaurant Lupulo with friends and family, and celebrate with some Portuguese comfort food.”

Meredith Deliso