Blockbuster Professional Athlete Field Will Lead 22,500 Runners Along New Course at the United Airlines NYC Half

New York Road Runners
March 12, 2018

Redesigned course showcases iconic city landmarks and neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan and features 1,000 kids in the Rising New York Road Runners free youth run in Times Square


NEW YORK (March 12, 2018) — An event record 22,500 runners from all 50 states and over 80 countries are expected to run the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half this Sunday, March 18 along a brand-new 13.1-mile course that begins by Prospect Park in Brooklyn and finishes in Central Park in Manhattan. The 2018 field expansion and course change are the first major updates since 2014, when a revised course configuration accommodated the addition of a professional wheelchair race.

“We are excited to give the United Airlines NYC Half a new look with a completely redesigned course that showcases iconic New York City landmarks and neighborhoods and allows more people from around the world the chance to experience the thrill of running through new York City,” said Jim Heim, NYRR’s senior vice president, event development and production and technical director of the race. “The United Airlines NYC Half kicks off the 2018 NYRR Five-Borough Series and will include people of all ages and abilities, from our Rising New York Road Runners youth runners to a blockbuster group of professional athletes and thousands of citizen runners.”

The 2018 United Airlines NYC Half will feature a completely redesigned course, taking runners on a 13.1-mile tour of iconic city landmarks from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The race begins in Brooklyn, just south of Grand Army Plaza near the entrance to Prospect Park on Flatbush Avenue.

Race participants will head north on Flatbush Avenue and cross the Manhattan Bridge into lower Manhattan and pass through the Lower East Side before heading north on the FDR Drive, with sunrise views of the Brooklyn and Queens skylines. Runners will approach the halfway point near East 42nd Street, where they will pass the United Nations as they turn left and run by legendary Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. The field will then turn up Seventh Avenue, running through Times Square before entering Central Park. Runners will then head north to the 102nd Street Cross Drive before the final turn south on West Drive to the finish line near 75th Street.


A blockbuster group of professional athletes representing 14 different countries will lead the way through the new course. The field, which features nine Olympians and 10 Paralympians, includes Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot, 2017 runner-up Emily Sisson, and the 2016 champion Stephen Sambu in the open division, as well as five-time New York City Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden, three-time defending champion and event record-holder Ernst van Dyk, and reigning champion Susannah Scaroni in the wheelchair division. Sambu will be facing a very talented group of American men that includes four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, American 5K record-holder Ben True, and last year’s top American finisher in the race, Chris Derrick.


In addition to the thousands of runners traversing the 13.1 mile course, the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half will host 1,000 youth runners—including those from Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR’s flagship youth program—in a free 1500-meter race that starts and finishes in Times Square. Participants ages 8-18, including youth wheelchair racers, will have the opportunity to dash through Times Square while the adult race passes by. Rising New York Road Runners is available to students across the country from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Designed to instill kids with the confidence to stay healthy for life and backed by the latest athletic development research, the program aims to build fitness skills in ways that work for kids of all ages and abilities.


“Rising New York Road Runners aims to inspire the next generation of runners to be physically active for life, and the opportunity to run alongside runners of all ages and abilities in the United Airlines NYC Half is great motivation,” said Rachel Pratt, senior vice president, youth and community services at NYRR. “The youth run through iconic Times Square is equally exciting for the adult participants of the United Airlines NYC Half, as the young runners provide them with a much-needed boost of energy as they hit mile 8 en route to the new finish in Central Park.”


The United Airlines NYC Half is the first race in the 2018 NYRR Five-Borough Series, a showcase of NYRR’s commitment to the local communities in the five boroughs. Also included in the NYRR Five-Borough Series is the Popular Brooklyn Half, NYRR Queens 10K, New Balance Bronx 10 Mile, and NYRR Staten Island Half.


Leading up to race day, the United Airlines NYC Half Experience Presented by New Balance will be open to runners and the public from March 15 to 17 at Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.  While at the Experience, runners must pick up their race bibs and can plan their race-day strategies in the NYRR Running Lab, shop for official race merchandise from New Balance, and engage with the race’s title sponsor, United Airlines, via various activations.


The event will be broadcast live in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, and nationally on ESPN3 via WatchESPN, and will be shown internationally via a variety of global broadcast partners. Anyone can download the United Airlines NYC Half Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services to track their favorite runners and read up on their favorite professional athletes. The app is available for download in the iTunes Store and Google Play.


About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
In 2018, NYRR is celebrating 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners.  To learn more, visit



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