Race Report: Queens Half-Marathon

Queens Half Marathon Course Red 9-20-2009It was a beautiful Sunday morning for the Queens Half-Marathon. The official temperature at race time was 65 degrees with clear skies and a bright Sun rising in the East. This year’s race had attracted 5, 072 participants (Men – 2,852 Women – 2,220 ) jamming into the narrow streets of College Point.

Hector Rivera (NYAC) was the top overall male finisher finishing in 1:10:51 and Veronica Clemens clocked a 1:26:55 to win the top prize for the women.

I was one of the many that had purchased a bus ticket from New York Road Runners to College Point. It was a great service for them to provide. It’s been a while since I had ridden in a bouncy school bus. It had brought back memories of High School track years.

We had arrived at the park around 5:10 AM. It was dark and cool. It was a good thing I had dressed warm. I was anxious to start warming up. Since I don’t start warming up until an hour before a race, I had forty minutes to sit around and freeze.

The runners I was sitting with in the park were in good spirits. By 5:30 AM we had all agreed were never doing the Queens Half-Marathon ever again.

After warming up, changing into flats and race gear, I started to make my way to the corrals. That’s when I got a glimpse of the high turn out for the half-marathon.

This was my first Queens Half-Marathon so I wasn’t prepared for the scene after the start of the race. There were just runners clogging the little horse-and-buggy streets of College Point. Runners were going onto the sidewalks to get up front. I stayed towards the middle of the road and did not attempt to fight the crowd. My first and second mile times were abysmal as a result of the congestion.

The one thing every runner will remember about the Queens Half-Marathon is not the scenery, or the parrots. It’s the turns. The Queens Half-Marathon is one crooked course. Turn, after turn, after turn. There was a point early in the race when I made a turn and got a glimpse of the bright Sun. That’s when I had wished I was wearing my Scott sunglasses. It should have hit me was planning for the race if I was running a race at 7:00 AM going East there will be a big bright rising Sun in my face.

The roads are what you expect in NYC suburbs. The streets are rough with lots of manholes in the wrong places. Like manholes placed where you need to turn.

There were quite a few hills. The hills didn’t bother me too much. Being that I run Central Park and Prospect Park every week gives me my taste of hills. But, there is one big hill during mile 12 that took me by surprise. I remember I was running great and looking to take it in. Then after a turn, there was a hill. The type of hill that made all of the runners around me and myself start to curse. I climbed that hill like a trooper.

Even with the hills there were some flat areas where you could get a good pace going. The last 1+ mile was flat and appreciated.

The one thing that is still bugging me is the fact my Garmin Forerunner 305 recorded the race at 13.4 miles. It’s never that far off. Maybe by 0.05 at most. After the race I had a conversation with one of the NYRR staff about it. He said the course is certified at 13.1. He even said some people said it was short. I said “I’d like to meet those people.”

I had a great race. It actually felt like fun. I never once became anxious for the race to be over. It felt like it went by fast too. After this race I am very excited about running the Staten Island Half-Marathon!




5 Responses to “Race Report: Queens Half-Marathon”

  1. Maura Says:

    Hi! My Garmin also clocked the race at 13:35.
    And that last hill– brutal!

  2. kmc212 Says:

    Here are two other runners Garmin logs of the race.

    13.33 miles

    13.3 miles

    The hills didn’t bother me. The big one at the end was the only that took me by surprise. Run more hills.

    I had averaged a 7:35 mile for this half-marathon. I consider Queens to be my first half-marathon. After a slow start, I had averaged 7:20 mile for the second half of the race.

    East River Runner

  3. Des B Says:

    It came up the same on my watch and a few people had mentioned it straight away afterwards. It was bang on till somewhere between mile 5 and seven and then it was a little ahead of the markers.

    That last hill was a shock but everyone’s reaction was funny.

  4. kmc212 Says:


    The 9 mile marker was 9.2 miles. Even one of the officials I had spoken with after race knew about it. He said “somebody could have moved the marker.” Move a marker two-tenths of a mile? Come on.

  5. Linn Says:

    Whoa, I can’t believe it was really 13.39! That changes things a little bit, doesn’t it? Even if its only by a few seconds in pace.

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