New York City Marathon Spectator Signs, In Review

New York City Marathon Spectator Signs, In Review

The TCS New York City Marathon brings more than 50,000 runners over a 26.2-mile course through all five boroughs of New York City—but it wouldn't be the same without the one million spectators lining the course.

If you're still on the fence about applying to run this year, here's a look at some of the types of support you might see on your run, broken out into a few categories.

We begin with...

The Personalized Sign

If you have friends in town, or if you'll have friends taking the trip to NYC with you, you might want to make your own cheering section, complete with customized signs like these people have made:

Or there was this coordinated effort from 2013, when one runner had supporters at the base of the Queensboro Bridge, and then on the final mile on Central Park South (and, we imagine, several other places along the way).


To your friends, it might seem like a lot of work to:

  • Make a sign
  • Find an open spot along the course
  • Stand outside for hours as they wait for you to run past

But your friends should also consider that you'll be running 26.2 miles over the course of anywhere from two to eight hours. They can make the effort.

So have them settle in to a spot on the sidewalk—maybe get a coffee to stay warm—and keep their phones close by to track your progress on the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App.

If you time it right, the payoff is well worth it, as shown by this group from 2011:

But what if you don't know anyone in town? No need to worry! Plenty of New Yorkers are willing to give you their support, even if they may not know your name, as you'll see in...

The Mass-Appeal Sign

Some fans get a little more into it, looking to give runners a quick laugh with some current-events humor, as we see with...

The Topical (at the time) Reference Sign

A Special Salute to This Group Effort

In 2013, you would have had this sign waiting for you on mile 15 in Long Island City:

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...but if we were to go back three or four miles (and back in time about six years), you would have found this waiting for you just outside of McCarren Park in Williamsburg:

Again, on Marathon Sunday, New Yorkers open their hearts—and in certain cases, their couches—to more than 50,000 runners. Kudos to these folks for providing a quick rest stop near the half-way point.

And Finally...

Sometimes, it's not so much a sign that stands out as much as it is the people lining the course. Take this man from 2007, for instance...


Just look at this guy! He's dressed in his Sunday best, he's got a bright smile and a thumbs-up at the ready, and he's about to spend a couple hours spreading that joy to runners out on the roadway.

(Also, everyone on The Run On staff just really, really liked these photos. Who wouldn't?)

If you'd like to experience the Big Apple's 26-mile-long block party for yourself—complete with all the signs, noisemakers, and cheers from complete strangers—apply to run the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon by February 15. Whether you're a local or from halfway across the globe, you'll have someone rooting for you out there on November 4.

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