You’ve watched the New York City Marathon runners. Maybe you know some. Maybe you want to join the party and run the marathon yourself next year. So how do you get to be one of the 50,000 runners lining up on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in 2023?
There are several ways to get a bib for the marathon, though not all of the options are still available for the 2023 race.
Ways to enter the 2023 New York City Marathon
The drawing: This is both the easiest and the hardest option. For this year’s race, more than 84,000 runners entered the drawing. Only about 12 percent were chosen. From Feb. 8 to Feb. 22, anybody can enter the lottery, and the New York Road Runners, which organizes the race, will select the lucky winners on March 1. Pay the entry fee ($295 for U.S. runners who are not members of the Road Runners) and you’re in.
Entrants are divided into three pools: People who live in New York City or within 60 miles of the city, U.S. residents outside the New York City area and non-U.S. residents. But since so many people enter the drawing, runners need some luck to get in this way.
Run with New York Road Runners’ Team for Kids: This is one of two charity options available. Each runner who picks this choice must raise at least $2,620 for Team for Kids, which supports the organization’s youth and community running programs. Runners also get coaching and some race-day perks, and they can sign up now.
Run with another charity: The race partners with nonprofits to provide charity bibs. Like Team for Kids, runners must raise money to enter. The minimum amounts vary by charity and can start at $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000. The official list of charities for 2023 has not been announced yet.
Book a tour: Runners outside the United States can book a marathon package that includes race entry through select international tour operators. Those packages must include a “travel package,” which might offer airfare, a hotel stay or both, and they have to be booked through an approved tour operator on the list on the race’s website.
Run a fast half-marathon or full marathon: Unlike the Boston Marathon, the New York race doesn’t require runners to have run an earlier race in a certain amount of time in order to compete. But some faster runners can nonetheless bypass the New York lottery by achieving qualifying times in 2022 races. This is a little more complicated. Qualifying times must be run in 2022, and times run in New York Road Runners races take priority over other competitions. If the race isn’t run by the organization, the runner’s time must be verifiable online, and the runner must submit that time during the application window in February. The available time qualifier slots are first-come, first-served for runners who don’t have a qualifying time at a Road Runners event, and the courses must be certified. Required times vary by age group.
Run the race 15 times: Once runners finish the marathon 15 times, they are eligible for guaranteed entry in future years, although handcycle racers and other athletes with disabilities who have entered past races through Achilles International aren’t eligible in this category.
Runners who canceled their 2022 race entry under the official cancellation guidelines can claim guaranteed entry in 2023, but this works only once. If the 2022 entry was a 2021 cancellation, it doesn’t provide guaranteed entry a second time.
There are also some options for entering if runners are willing to wait until 2024.
Ways to enter the 2024 New York City Marathon
Complete the 9+1 program: This is a common choice among runners who live in or near New York City. In a calendar year, if you run nine eligible New York Road Runners races and volunteer at one qualifying event, often a race, you get entry for the following year. Volunteer options can fill up quickly, especially at the end of the year, so runners who happen to have run nine races already this year, or will by the end of December, might be unable to get the volunteer piece done if they haven’t already signed up. The count resets on Jan. 1 for entry into the 2024 race. Runners also must have an active New York Road Runners membership as of Dec. 31 of the year they complete the 9+1 program.
Run the marathon virtually: There have been multiple virtual options of the marathon the past few years, and one provides a guaranteed entry the following year. The virtual race has to be completed by Nov. 6, and is already sold out, so this is only an option for runners to do in 2023 for 2024 entry.