Virtual NYC Half Marathon Race Recap

Virtual United Airlines NYC Half – Guaranteed Entry Tier

I was always hoping to run the NYC Half Marathon when the course was only through Manhattan.

And I had entered the lottery several times but never got in.

The start of the course was changed in 2018 to Prospect Park, Brooklyn  with the finish still in Central Park, Manhattan.

In 2019, I was lucky to have a fast enough time (for my age group) to get in.

I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2018 and finished in 2:11

I signed up for the Virtual NYC Half Marathon as my 57th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • NYC Half Marathon was cancelled in 2020 (when I time qualified again).
  • I did not get in through the lottery in 2021.
  • I decided not to take a charity bib for 2022. (no hotel or travel necessary if virtual)
  • I wanted to run it in 2023 and if I ran the virtual, I could get a guaranteed entry.
  • I had to run at least 10 miles (per my training for my April half marathon.)

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on February 27 in NYC and was not planning on another until April 16.

Actually I had thought of running a local 4 mile race today.  But I had not signed up yet.

So I ran my usual 3 milers during the week.

Yes, I was a little nervous that I was not prepared for run 13.1 miles. In the previous two weekends, I had only run 8 and 5 miles.  Hopefully, my legs would have muscle memory from the Feb. 27’s half marathon.

So the goal for this half marathon was completing my 10 mile training run with a few miles added on (maybe even walked). As long as I wore my Garmin and synced 13.1 miles with my Strava account, I was golden.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I ran the real thing in 2019.  I felt so fortunate.  Running down Times Square was truly amazing!!

Running it virtually in 2020 on the Nisky bike path was not amazing. LOL

I again contacted my friends and one agreed to run some of the miles with me.

We decided on our normal long run day which is Saturday and planned to meet at 9:00 at the rail trail.

I worked all day the day before but relaxed at mah jongg after my usual pre-race dinner of pizza.

Unfortunately, the forecast was for rain!!! I really didn’t want to run 13.1 miles in the rain nor did I want to postpone it until Sunday. I just crossed my fingers that they got the forecast all wrong.

Race Day:

I got up early and had my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.

I checked the weather. It had rained overnight but it appeared to be just cloudy with no rain in sight!! Woo Hoo!

I didn’t pay too much attention to the temps (but I should have since I was over dressed)

No need to worry about bag check  since I could just leave extra clothes in my car.

My plan was to walk 3.1 miles first and then meet Sherry, run 5 miles, then turn around and run back to our cars.

As you see, I tried to incorporate some NYC in my outfit: my 2020 half shirt, LeBow hat and NYC calf sleeves.

I arrived early as I had to walk the 3.1 miles (a 1.55 mile out and back.)

As you can see no one was out yet… but that would change as the morning wore on.

Nothing too exciting to see or photograph since I run here all the time (except in the winter).

But obviously, I have not been here since November.

sculpted out of a tree trunk… a new sight!

I got back to our meeting site early. Barbara was finishing her run and Deb was starting a short one.

Soon Sherry arrived and she agreed to do 10 miles with me.  Yay!

Sherry and I run about the same pace. Today she warned that she was not feeling it and I might want to run ahead.  I told her that it didn’t matter to me how slow we went and I would walk as often as she wanted.

The course we chose is slightly uphill. It was actually warm and humid.  I had taken off my beanie (wish I hadn’t forgotten my baseball cap) and rolled up my sleeves (definitely over dressed). We were glad that it was overcast.

We walked often… just whenever we felt like it (and more than we needed).  This run was at a much slower pace than we usually run but I was totally fine with it.

We got to the end of the rail trail and we had only run almost 4 miles

waited for the train to go by

so we continued another mile or so and then turned around.

No needed water stops but I was getting hungry so I ate a GU.

Obviously the rest of the run was slightly downhill but that didn’t mean that we walked less. LOL

Finally the last two miles or so I ran ahead. I was anxious get it over with!

And we finished…13.1 done for me!!

So no crowd support or bridges or parks or Times Square but we did it.  Thanks to Sherry! I earned that medal and this:

chocolate milk + apple fritter

Additional Race Reflections:

I finished in a little over 3 hours… not bad considering it was really a 10 mile training run and a 3 mile walk.

Yes, I am disappointed that I could not run the real United NYC Half Marathon.

But I am excited to have the opportunity next year!! (It you do not live in NYS, try entering the lottery and join me and Deborah)

The Good:

  • The weather (it didn’t rain as predicted)
  • downhill course for 4 miles or so
  • A friend to run with
  • slept in my own bed the night before
  • great post race snack

The Bad:

  • no water stops
  • no crowd support
  • over dressed

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Sure but only if you cannot run the real thing!!!

And it does get you a guaranteed entry into next year’s race.

Final Stats:


Hey, my fastest miles were miles 12 & 13!!

Next Up:

A 5 mile race next weekend and another NYC race but only 5.8 miler (one loop) in Central Park.

Then a local half marathon. The third year for this race but the second year on its original course. A downhill course. Lots of running friends. Should be fun… I

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

April 16, 2022

Happy Running! Anyone ever run a virtual half marathon?  Would you run virtually to get a guaranteed entry into a race? Please share.







Since it is Tuesday, I am joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these ladies.

I’m linking up also with this link-up:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris

24 thoughts on “Virtual NYC Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Well done! The guaranteed entry for next year must have made that more of a draw. I think I could just about do a virtual half; I wouldn’t do another virtual marathon and I did the one I did before it was a Thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, Darlene, for persevering for three hours for a half-marathon! This must be the slowest half you ever did, right?
    But as you said, the time doesn’t matter for this one, as long as it gets you a guaranteed entry for next year.
    I would do the same: enjoy a nice run with a friend for the virtual this year and look forward to the real race next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • the slowest by a LONG shot!! Even slower than my virtual in 2020 by 30 minutes. lol

      Yes, I’m glad I did it. So much FOMO this year as everyone had perfect weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never run a virtual half, but definitely have done plenty of long runs around that distance. I think it was a great idea to do it and get your entry for next year! Sounds like a fun experience overall. Too bad you couldn’t get more people and run with a big group- but luckily you had Sherry to get you through it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes my running group has petered out… they are not interested in racing or long runs.

      But I am glad I was able to get it done and not do it in the rain lol


  4. I’ve only done a handful of virtual 13.1’s, and they’re tough with the race day atmosphere! At least when I ran Key West (In January), I was a new-to-me location, so it sort of seemed like a race corse (minus the crowds and aid stations, LOL). Great job! Earning a guaranteed entry is definitely a great incentive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Virtual races are tough! I walked a virtual half marathon early in the pandemic and that was really hard mentally, just pushing myself to keep going for that long. The good thing is your guaranteed entry next year. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s pretty cool that running it virtually gets you an entry for the next year! Glad you were able to do this and get your spot for 2023. Plus you got your training run done! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Apple fritters taste so good after a race! Kudos to you, virtual races are tough to stick out especially when the appeal of the race are in-person sights!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.