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Crossing the starting line w/10,000 runners

Hello experienced race participants -

I am signed up for the NYC half-marathon and, with my current combination of running and walking, I'm at about a 14 minute mile pace - just a tad too slow for the 13:45 minute mile pace requirement (see quoted language below).

Here is the thing - the race begins at 7:00 am and you need to be at the first "you-are-getting-kicked-out" point at the 7.5 mile mark by 9:05 am. Well, if I started at 7:00 am, that would be no problem, even with my 14 minute mile pace. However, there are 10,000 runners! So . . . how long will it take me to cross the STARTING line in Central Park? Does anyone have any experience with this?

Here is the language re the race:
"Please note that in the interest of safety, any NYC Half-Marathon Presented by NIKE participant who is not able to maintain a 13:45-per-mile pace throughout the race (3:00 projected finishing time) will be picked up along the course and transported to the finish. To continue on the course, you must reach mile 7.5 (Central Park South and Seventh Avenue) by 9:05 a.m. Be aware that the time it takes the last official runner to cross the start line will be added to the overall 3:00 time limit, ensuring that all participants who maintain a 13:45-per-mile pace will finish. We thank you in advance for your cooperation with this enforcement of the 3:00 time limit for safety purposes."


Wed. Aug 23, 7:57pm

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I'm not an experienced racer, and I have no advice- just a question. Have you done that 14 min mile pace for three hours straight?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006, 11:02 PM

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OP here - as to 14 minute per mile pace, my longest run/walk was 12 miles and yes. If I'm just running something like 5 miles, I run a 12 minute mile pace w/out walk breaks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 6:06 AM

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It sounds to me like they won't actually start timing for the cut-off points until the last person starts. In other words, if the last person to cross the START line maintains a 13:45 pace, they will not be "kicked out".

Your other option, since you said you can maintain a 12 mm pace for 5 miles or so would be to plan on running the first part of the race and run/walking the last part. Keep in mind that adrenaline usually gives people the ability to run a little farther/ faster in a race than they do in training.

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 9:39 AM

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Why don't you call the information line and ask? For a big race, there is probably a number that you can call. Find out if the 9:05am cutoff is exact, or if they'll start timing after the last people have crossed the starting line. Then you'll know what to expect!

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 11:13 AM

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I have run several 10Ks with 7000 people. I started near the middle and it took me about 3 minutes to cross the start line. There were a lot more people behind me and I get the last one didn't cross the start line until 10+ mins into the race. I think you will be okay. Also, if it is like the races I have participated in, there are time clocks along the route so you can see if you need to speed it up a bit to get to 7.5 by 9am. Good luck! Let us all know how you do.

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 1:45 PM

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They usually 'chip" everyone and do a corraled start. They release people in smaller groups every few minutes to ensure safety. When you cross the starting line your chip registers that as your start time. This makes sure it's fair for everyone despite the crowds.

The 7.5 mile cut off will be at a realistic point so that the last person to be able to continue on will hae crossed the start line at a time that has given him/her a 13:45 pace.

I suggest pushing yourself! :) The race adrenaline will take you the extra :15 seconds in your pace but remeber, it is a race!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 2:35 PM

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I think you will naturally run faster than your normal pace ~ my own limited experience~ and you will have no trouble. Just do it! ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006, 11:03 AM

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I did it!

OP here. Thanks to folks for their comments. I finished the race today in 2:50:24 - 8 1/2 minutes to spare!

Sunday, August 27, 2006, 6:29 PM

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Congrats!! I have my race next Sunday, Hope I do as well as you did!! I bet you feel great :) Be proud!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006, 7:45 PM

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Wow, that's great! Good job

Monday, August 28, 2006, 11:01 PM

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That is awesome! Don't you feel great!?!?!
I did my first half at 3:03...that stinks to think I would have been picked up 3 minutes from the finish line =P
My excuse, I hit the wall at mile 11.5...I ran that portion in 2 hours, and it took an hour to finish the last mile and a half!
I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, August 28, 2006, 11:34 PM

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