NYC marathon: Where to watch, how to track a runner

The NYC Marathon route hits all five boroughs. Photo Credit: Anna Sergeeva

With tens of thousands of runners in the New York City Marathon, it may be a challenge to find one person.

Luckily there’s an app that will help you track people as they run. You can search for a runner by name or bib number.

Sunday’s race follows a route that hits all five boroughs — starting in Staten Island, then heading through parts of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, and finishing in Central Park.

If you want to follow along from home, ABC7 will be airing the race from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and ESPN2 will show it from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Both will also livestream.

Here’s more information about the race:


Drop off bags by 8:10 a.m. for Wave 1 runners; 9 a.m. for Wave 2 runners; 9:30 for Wave 3 runners; and 10 a.m. for Wave 4 runners.

The professional athletes will take off first, followed by the everyday runners. Check to see which waves your runners are in.

8:30 a.m.: Professional Wheelchair Division

8:52 a.m.: Fast Handcycle Category, Slow Handcycle and Select Ambulatory Athletes with Disabilities

8:55 a.m.: Foot Locker Five-Borough Challenge

9:10 a.m.: Professional Women

9:40 a.m.: Wave 1

Blue start: Professional Men, men and women 1,000 – 1,999; 4,000 – 4,999; and 7,000 – 10,350.

Orange start: Sub-elite, 440 – 549; men and women, 2,000 – 2,999, 5,000 – 5,999, and 11,000 – 14,999.

Green start: Local competitive, 550 – 999; men and women, 3,000 – 3,999, 6,000 – 6,999, and 15,000 – 18,794; and 2nd AAWD/Duo Team, 18,795 – 18,999.

10:10 a.m.: Wave 2

Blue start: 19,000 – 24,999

Orange start: 25,000 – 30,999

Green start: 31,000 – 36,999

10:35 a.m.: Wave 3

Blue start: 37,000 – 42,999

Orange start: 43,000 – 48,999

Green start: 49,000 – 54,999

11 a.m.: Wave 4

Blue start: 55,000 – 60,999

Orange start: 61,000 – 66,999

Green start: 67,000 – 72,999

Where to watch

Here are the recommended viewing locations:

Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn (miles 2-4): Take the R train to Bay Ridge Avenue, 77th or 86th streets to see runners coming off the bridge and beginning the Brooklyn portion of the run.

Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn (miles 10-13): Take the L train to Bedford Avenue, the G train to Nassau or Greenpoint avenues, or the J or M trains to Marcy Avenue to see the participants approach the halfway point of the marathon.

Pulaski Bridge (mile 13.1): Take the 7 train to Hunters Point Avenue or the G train to 21st Street. Spectators aren’t allowed on the bridge, but you can see the runners come over as they enter Queens.

First Avenue in Manhattan (miles 16-20): Walk over from the 59th Street 4, 5, 6 station or the Lexington Avenue N, Q, R station to First Avenue. You can also walk over from any 4, 6, 5 station on Lexington Avenue. The runners will be on First Avenue between 59th Street and the Willis Avenue Bridge.

Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (miles 23-24): Take the 4, 5 or 6 train to a stop between 86th and 125th streets and walk over to Fifth Avenue. You’ll get to see the runners before they enter the final leg of the race in Central Park.

Where to find your runner at the end

If you want stand at the finish line, head inside Central Park from Columbus Circle to the south end of the grandstands, approximately 500 feet before the finish. Capacity may limit access. Do not bring chairs.

If you plan to meet up with a runner after the race, you’ll be directed to the Family Reunion Area, which will be on Central Park West between 62nd and 65th streets, from noon to 5:30 p.m.

There will be meeting locations designated by letters. Marathon organizers recommend meeting at the spot with the first letter of the runner’s last name. Just make sure you and the runner know which letter you plan to meet at.

Find more spectator tips at nyrr.org.