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Tips for running the New York City Marathon

You know how to get to the finish line, but do you know the best way to the starting line? Runner’s World magazine offers practical advice for race day.
/ Source: TODAY

Over the past 12 weeks, “Today Runs a Marathon” has followed the show’s Natalie Morales, who has run four marathons, and Karen Gorrell, a breast cancer survivor running her first one, as they have trained for this year’s ING New York City Marathon. For all those runners who will join them this Sunday, Runner’s World magazine has provided these last-minute tips for running this race.5 Brilliant Tips For The ING New York City Marathon
by John HancRide The BusThe New York Road Runners, organizers of the marathon, "strongly encourage" runners to take an official bus — not a taxi — to the start. These buses, which run from 5 to 7 a.m. from several locations, are the only vehicles allowed into the Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, staging area. A ticket is $20 at the expo.BYO With more than 30,000 runners in the race, the first few water stops at New York are extremely crowded. "I found it so much easier to carry a small bottle of water with me for the first few miles," says seven-time NYC finisher Eileen Corley Barnes of New Hampshire. "I tossed it once I got to the less congested stops, where it was easier to grab a cup." Take Cover A lot of runners spend the first half of the marathon basking in the warmth of the crowds in Brooklyn and Queens. But you also should be looking for some shade, says Alan Ruben, who will be running NYC for the 19th-consecutive time this year. You'll have a chance between miles 8 and 12, when the course veers off of wide-open Fourth Avenue and through the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn. Here, you'll find narrower streets lined with canopies of trees, so stay in the shade as much as possible. "Staying a bit cooler early on will make a difference later in the race," says Ruben.

Save It For Later Descending the Queensboro Bridge and turning on to First Avenue in Manhattan at mile 16 may be the most energy-jolting, spirit-lifting moment in any marathon, anywhere. "Suddenly, this wall of noise just hits you," says Gordon Bakoulis of Manhattan, who is married to Alan Ruben, and who has run NYC seven times. But this high-voltage crowd can be dangerous if mishandled. "Don't squander that energy by breaking into a sprint or high-fiving every person along the block," Bakoulis says. Rather, imagine you've got a battery inside you that's just been re-charged. "Carry the energy of that crowd with you for the next 10 miles." Call ReinforcementsThe Queensboro Bridge euphoria fades as you continue up First Avenue. "At about the 18-mile mark, reality starts hitting you," says Ruben. "The crowds have thinned out, there's a slight incline in the road, and you still have eight miles to go." His solution: Arrange for your family or friends to meet you along the stretch between 95th and 115th streets. Your pit crew can then cut due west across town to Fifth Avenue and see you as you're heading south along Central Park.