I have a knack for choosing the coldest days of the year to hit the road. The Yonkers half marathon happened on October 23rd, 2016 and it was a balmy 29 degrees. Temperature aside, it is one of my favorite races for sentimental reasons. I ran the Yonkers marathon for the first time in 2015 after a particularly rough breakup. The cheery runners and staff did a lot to pick up my spirits, that race helped reinforce how strong I am inside and out. I also think it’s pretty cool that the Yonkers marathon is the second oldest marathon in the country! The first race happened in 1907.
2016 was my second experience with the Yonkers half marathon. This year it was hosted independently, in 2015 NYC Runs put it on. I did notice differences in management, while I had a good experience both years it was definitely better organized with NYC Runs.
I’ll start with the bad news. First, the shirts were terrible. A short sleeved cotton t-shirt with a sponsor logo as large as the Yonkers race graphic. I threw it out, good thing I don’t run for swag! The packet pickup on race day was also unorganized, it took a while to get the packet and nobody knew where they were supposed to go. The last complaint I have is that they under stocked the water stations (no Gatorade was available) and didn’t have mile markers.
Not having mile markers is good and bad. I personally prefer to not know exactly where I am in the race, but I understand that that should not happen. They need to fix the mile markers next year if they want to keep the race alive (it might not happen, registration this past year was at an all time low). I was pleased to see that the course did not change much from prior years. When I run a race for the second time I run it because I like the course I did, it’s an unwelcome surprise when you don’t know you are hitting a new course (shame on me for the races I have forgotten to check in advance).
I did the half marathon both years, check out the course below. The course is HILLY – get ready for a major climb around mile seven (see elevation graph above). The area is beautiful, and the leaves will be changing color because of the fall weather. I find that is more than enough motivation to get through Yonker’s hills. It is also nice that the finish line is right next to the metro north train station. I will do this race again in 2017!