Race Day Weather NYC Marathon

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Running

Battling the Elements for 26.2 Miles in the ING NYC Marathon

 Climatology of NYC Marathon Weather:  Average maximum: 62ºF/17ºC  Average low: 47ºF/8ºC

In 2011… it snowed one week before the NYC Marathon…  just 2.9″ in Central Park but more than a foot in the Northern Suburbs.  Run a marathon with snow on the ground?   I’ve done that before…  it was 1999 Denver, Colorado and I ran my first marathon in the snow (for the record, we finished the run in temperatures near 50 and full sun.  

 

Coloradomarathon

Amy in Purple

 

That is “Denver Weather” at it’s Best.) Keep in mind there’s nothing wrong wishing for pleasant weather but the conditions also gives you a chance to battle the elements… if this were to turn out to be the hottest, wettest, coldest marathon in NYC marathon history — just think of the bragging rights!  Just ask someone who has run the race, they may not remember every mile of the course but they remember what the weather was like when they ran 26.2 miles!!  My co-workers who have run the race have great recollections of the extrmes they’ve endured (Diane Williams – 2010’s Chilly Race and Bill Evan making it through cold, torrential downpours in 1995… whatver the weather – it becomes part of your race memory!)

Click here on TIPS ON HOW TO RUN IN THE RAIN

 


The coldest morning low in New York City’s Central Park on the morning of the marathon over the past 20 years was 34 degrees on Nov. 5, 1995.  The warmest afternoon high in New York City’s Central Park on the day of the New York City Marathon over the past 20 years was 73 degrees F on Nov. 4, 1990.

Heat has actually been more of a concern than the cold over the years.  Hot temperatures were the reason the race date was changed.  It’s now run in early November instead of its initial date in October. That move was prompted by the 1984 race, in which the temperature reached 79 degrees and the race had its first fatality, a French runner who died of a heart attack.

Here’s some of the most dramatic weather moments in New York City Marathon history according to articles documented in the NYTimes:

  • 1984  Also called “the disaster of 1984” by race founder Fred Lebow because of the death of 51 year old Jacques Bussereau who collapsed 14 miles into the race and died. Dozens more were treated at area hospitals for heat-related conditions. The humidity ranged from 96 percent at the start to 65 percent in the afternoon.  Of the 16,315 people who started that race, 14,590 of them crossed the finish line.  Orlando Pizzolato of Italy won the men’s race in 2 hours 14 minutes 53 seconds, which was six minutes slower than the winning time in 1983. Grete Waitz of Norway won her sixth women’s title, two minutes slower than the previous year.
  • 1994 It was not nearly as hot as 1984, but the 68-degree temperature coupled with high humidity was so bad that 2 runners died of heart attacks becoming the second and third deaths in the race’s history.   
  • 1995 A year after one of the hottest races, New York followed with a brutally cold, wet and windy day for one of the coldest ever NYC Marathons.  The temperature reached only 40 degrees, although it was colder at the start when the wind chill factor was 18 degrees, with a mix of rain and snow and winds blowing at 20-30 miles per hour with some gusts to 58 mph. Oddly enough, the same runners who won the hot 1994 race repeated as champions in 1995.

Here are some cool links to wild marathon weather preparations!

What to Wear in Marathon Weather

Doc Advice to Running in Cold

Event Alert Systems for some races  

www.twitter.com/amyfreeze7

By Amy Freeze

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