The first Sunday in November, New York houses the largest marathon in the world which injects millions of dollars into the tourism economy each year. As a charity runner in the 2021 NYC Marathon, I clearly was not an elite going for the prize purse. My goals still included having a fun vacation as well. My packing list reflects this balance of when vacation meets race events.

We flew in from Dallas on the Thursday morning before the race and stayed until the Tuesday following. Our 6 day trip was great –we could really dig in and see the city, arts, culture, history and food scene. At the same time 6 days is likely our upper limit to stay within budget. You can’t go outside without spending money in NY. Since we were going in the fall season, these two Texans planned to dress as warmly as possible. I have an entirely separate article on what to bring to the start line on Staten Island itself, yes it necessitates an article, however, here is my advice to bring with you for a fun race weekend in New York City:

Plan on Puffy Clothes

You will likely be taking heavier coats, pants and outerwear during normal fun New York activities in the fall timeframe. There is an additional consideration for marathoners as you will likely be packing “throw away” clothes that you can donate on Staten Island moments before the race starts. I did a goodwill run ahead of my trip and purchased XL sweatpants and sweatshirts for both myself and my mom. XL puffy clothes take up a lot of space in a carry-on bag. Do what you can to wear heavy clothes on the flight.

Allocate Souvenir Suitcase Space

Yes, you will be ditching your puffy clothes in one of the boroughs but it will be quickly replaced by a puffy blue cape for sentimental runners at the finish line. Speaking for at least my Dad and myself, we couldn’t get rid of the bathrobe sized cape received at the finish line. With an iconic race like New York, you will want to assume you will fall trap to the fun branded race swag, or even the fantastic shopping experience that New York offers. I rarely shop, and I came home with a cute race muscle tank top and two tops from Nordstrom Rack later on in the trip. I only noticed afterwards, but the prices are slightly cheaper at the expo than online. Pro tip if you know what you want! Buy it in person the old-fashioned way.

Pre-Tape Your Race Shirt

What do you mean tape let alone pre-tape? Do not miss the opportunity to write your name on your shirt for the NYC Marathon. You would be doing yourself a disservice otherwise. I used white duct tape and taped a portion of my jersey before departure and once I arrived I used my sharpie to write my name on the taped space. The spectators are truly special and will cheer by name if they’re able to see it on your shirt.

Go Minimalist for Your Cute Clothes

If the priority is the New York City Marathon, there really is no need to bring 15 shoe options for your jaunts about town. My go-to these days for any trip is to bring 1 pair of black jeans, 1 pair black boots, and 2-3 tops that can’t get wrinkled in a suitcase. 9 times out of 10 you will be wearing your jacket in November in New York, so the world won’t know if you wear the same outfit several days in a row.

The Packing List

Cute CoatBlack BootiesPlastic Bags (To cover feet at start line)
Insulated Running JacketRunning ShoesBuffs
2 Pairs of LeggingsGarmin + ChargerMasks
1 Long sleeve base layerSpi BeltTravel Yoga Mat
1 Pair biker shortsRunning HatVaccine Card
1 Sports braGlassesDigital copies of vaccination
1 BandeauSunglassesAirpods
JDRF Race JerseyGlovesIpad + Chargers
PajamasScarfIphone Charger
Undies Crossbody PurseWhite Duct Tape
Goodwill Hoodie BackpackSharpie
Goodwill Pants Carry on suitcaseSunscreen
Rain Jacket Stud earringsSalt Sticks
Black Jeans Melatonin
Cute Short Sleeve Top Knitting
Cute Long Sleeve Top Nail Clippers
Black Jeans Toiletries
Long socks Student ID
 Plane Outfit (Sweatpants, t shirt, light pullover) Nuun
  Body Glide
  Empty water bottle
  Extra Contacts

Anything you wish you would have brought but didn’t? Any other must pack items on your race-cation?

Check out related posts:

New York City Marathon 2021 Race Recap

What to Bring to the Start Line of the New York City Marathon

How to Train for a Marathon While on Extended Vacation

Posted by:Allie

6 replies on “New York City Marathon Long Weekend Trip Packing List

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