PREVIEW: 2024 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon

One of only two times per year Times Square is closed off

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The New York Road Runners (NYRR) is set to host over 25,000 participants at the 2024 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon.

The race, which takes place this Sunday, March 17, will take runners along a 13.1-mile route beginning in Brooklyn, over the Manhattan Bridge, through Times Square (one of only two times it is closed each year), and finishing in Central Park.

The race also boasts a stacked elite lineup, featuring Olympians and world medalists. 

PREVIEW: 2024 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon 1

Key Athletes To Watch In The Half-Marathon

Clayton Young

Clayton Young is set to debut in the United Airlines NYC Half following his impressive second-place finish at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, securing his spot at the Paris 2024 Games alongside his training partner Connor Mantz.

In 2023, Young ran Olympic standard at the Chicago Marathon, where he finished seventh after clocking 2:08:00

Additionally, he clinched national championships in the 8K and 20K events, complementing his existing 15K national title from 2021. 

Despite battling injuries and undergoing knee surgery last year, he stands as the seventh-fastest American marathoner in history.

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Kenenisa Bekele

Kenenisa Bekele, a three-time Olympic champion and widely hailed as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, is poised to be a top contender in the bustling streets of New York City this weekend.

Bekele is coming to the NYC half after setting a new Master World Record at the 2023 Valencia Marathon, running 2:04:19 and placing fourth.

Bekele boasts a half marathon personal best of 60:00.22, which he set in 2020.

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Zouhair Talbi

Zouhair Talbi started his 2024 season with a bang after winning the Chevron Houston Marathon in a new course record of 2:06:39. This likely secured his place to represent Morocco at the Paris Olympic Games.

Last year, at the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half, Talbi surprised everyone by finishing third. Later that season, he would go on to place fifth at the Boston Marathon.

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Jenny Simpson

Jenny Simpson, an Olympic and World Championship medalist in the 1500m, has been exploring longer distance events in the last year, and with great success.

After a blazing half-marathon debut in 2023, clocking 1:10:35 at the Houston Half Marathon, Simpson qualified to compete at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Simpson is no stranger to racing in the streets of NYC, as she’s an eight-time winner of the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

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Cynthia Limo

Cynthia Limo has been on a comeback after taking an extended break, beginning in 2016, to have her three children. She made a return to competition last year at the Honolulu Marathon, where she placed first.

Limo is best known for earning the silver medal at the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships.

Limo recently raced in the Big Apple at the 2023 Mastercard New York Mini 10K, placing sixth.

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Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal

Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal is a Norweigian middle-distance track standout who has been recently stepping up to race the longer distances more consistently.

A three-time Olympian, competing in both the 5,000m and the 10,000m, Grøvdal will be seeking a victory this weekend.

Grøvdal has run the United Airlines NYC Half three times, in 2023, 2022, and 2018, placing third in each edition.

The Route: Mile-By-Mile

Are you running the race or wondering where the best places to watch the race will be? Here’s a breakdown of areas and landmarks the NYC Half will take runners through.

Miles 1-2.5

The race staging area, equipped with facilities like bag check and portable restrooms, is situated within Prospect Park. 

However, the race officially kicks off just outside the park, near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Washington Avenue

Runners quickly enter Prospect Park within the first mile and continue through its scenic paths for approximately two-and-a-half miles.

Miles 2.5-5

This stretch of the course, though seemingly uneventful on the map, is a highlight of the race due to the vibrant atmosphere created by enthusiastic spectators, reminiscent of major marathon events. 

After exiting Prospect Park, participants proceed northwest along Flatbush Avenue toward Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza for nearly three miles, with the iconic Manhattan Bridge looming in the distance.

Miles 5-6

Upon reaching the Manhattan Bridge, runners encounter a challenging yet rewarding segment with gradual inclines. 

Descending from the bridge into Manhattan, they are greeted by iconic city landmarks, marking the transition into the heart of New York.

Vegan new york marathon runners huge crowd

Miles 7-10

Exiting the bridge, the route guides participants onto Canal Street, followed by Allen Street, leading southward to South Street. 

Turning right onto the FDR Drive entrance ramp near Pier 36, runners continue northward along the FDR Drive, passing by landmarks such as the United Nations as they approach mile 10.

Mile 11

Entering East 42nd Street, runners embark on a scenic journey through renowned landmarks of the city, including Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park, before navigating through the streets of Times Square.

Mile 12

Continuing through Midtown Manhattan, participants traverse flat terrain for approximately another mile as they progress toward the final leg of the race.

Mile 13 To Finish!

The concluding stretch takes participants through Central Park for the final mile, offering a glimpse of its picturesque surroundings. 

Approaching Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, runners make a left turn into the park, journeying northward on East Drive before a final left onto West Drive, culminating at the finish line near West 67th Street, by the iconic Tavern on the Green restaurant. 

How To Watch The Race

Interested in catching the action live?

NYRR will be hosting a livestream beginning at 11 a.m. local time. Click the link here or check below to watch.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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