NYC Marathon: Race Day Packing Essentials


What to Pack

The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon is just a few weeks away, and runners from around the world are getting ready to complete the 26.2-mile race along the streets of New York City. As a first-time runner last year, I arrived at the starting line completely unprepared and was freezing by the time I started. Racing again this year, I’ll be ready with these NYC Marathon race day packing essentials.
Hooded sweatshirt & sweatpants

Keeping warm is one of the main goals for surviving the pre-race wait. For the non-elites, this could last a few hours! Buy a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants that you don’t mind tossing away to wear until the race begins and you’re able to warm up. The hooded sweatshirt beats out the crew neck because you’ll also be able to keep your head warm (so important).

Added bonus: All the clothes you leave behind will be donated to Goodwill, and last year Goodwill collected approximately 26 tons of clothing from the 50,000 New York City Marathon runners – the largest clothing donation event of the year!


To keep your hands warm, buy a pair of cheap gloves that you can toss during the race.


Dunkin Donuts not only provides coffee at the start, they also hand out fleece beanies! Unfortunately, I have an oddly huge head and the free beanie didn’t fit over my ears. Bring your own to guarantee your head will stay warm.


Tissues are great for runny noses… and in a bathroom emergency when the toilet paper runs out! Bring a small, travel-sized pack of tissues with you to avoid this dilemma.

Disposable heat packs

During the wait, I would have been extra frozen had it not been for a friend who packed extra heat packs to share with me. Put some in your shoes and in your gloves to keep warm!

Extra earbuds

I know some people say that you should ditch your music during the official race, but I know I need my playlist to keep focused and motivated, especially when I’m nearing my wall. Last year I had a pre-race crisis when I was walking toward the starting line and realized I had lost one of my earbuds! How was I supposed to run for the next 4 hours without any music?! Luckily I was able to get in touch with my family and boyfriend who were able to bring me an extra at mile 8, but I could have averted the disaster by bringing an extra earbud or two – they take up almost no space!

Food & hydration

By the time marathon day arrives, you’ve probably logged months of training and know exactly what food and hydration you need to refuel during the race. This may be an obvious tip, but don’t forget to bring these! 26.2 miles is a long way to go without the proper nutrition.

What NOT to Pack

Selfie sticks

There’s a time and place for selfie sticks (ok maybe not) – but the NYC Marathon is not one of them. In fact, selfie sticks are officially banned from the race. Running the NYC Marathon is a momentous event, and the sights and spectators are unlike those you’ll experience anywhere else in the world, so I understand the urge to want to capture the moment. Do so instead by using a cell phone or by mounting a GoPro to your torso!

Hydration packs

For the NYC Marathon, you are also prohibited from bringing Camelbaks® and any type of hydration backpack, so hopefully you weren’t using these to train for the race! Purchase a handheld water bottle or hydration belt instead or grab the water and gatorade offered along the course to stay hydrated.

Anything you want to check

As a general rule, I try my hardest to never check bags for races, and this is especially true for the NYC Marathon. The last thing you want to do after running 26.2 miles is to be tied up in the bottleneck that is the baggage retrieval after the race. The race finishes around 67th street. Runners without bags walk up to exit at 77th street, while runners with bags need to walk up and exit at either 81st or 85th street! Avoid checking a bag unless you really need to.

I wish all the runners the best of luck during this year’s marathon! Share some of your race day essentials below!

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