NYC Marathon: Five Boroughs, Five Beers

Runners on a 5 Boroughs, 5 Beers quest stop for beer No. 5 in the parking lot of a quick lube service station in the Bronx. Photo: Jesse Williams

Running the New York City Marathon and drinking five beers is no easy task!

Running aside, it’s a somewhat difficult but intriguing feat to drink a beer in each of the five different New York City boroughs in one day or night. But by way of taxi, ferry, subway and plenty of walking, it can be a fun way for locals and visitors alike to imbibe and enjoy a wide variety of Big Apple nightlife.

But what about doing it along the New York City Marathon course, which just happens to pass through each of the boroughs on the first Sunday in November? It’s not only possible, but the very unofficial course record is pretty hard to beat if you consider what it takes to run 26.2 miles with at least 60 ounces of beer playing a big role in your hydration strategy.

A group of Seattle-based runners pulled off the feat five times between 2005 and 2010, growing to as many as 20 participants at its peak. They wore custom moisture-wicking race shirts to commemorate the event, accessorized with pink tutus or funny hats and often organized in advance to have friends or bar owners provide them with their cold beverage of choice.

“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s definitely about running and not racing,” says Jesse Williams, who is the co–course record-holder for 5 Boroughs, 5 Beers at 3:26 — just more than an hour slower than his own marathon PR of 2:23. “We ran the entire course each time, but we were out there having fun. We’re out there taking group photos, dancing and really enjoying it.”

Certainly the organizers of the New York City Marathon would frown upon drinking alcohol during the race. But Williams is quick to point out that he and his barstool running mates were officially entered in the race each time and made it a point never to get in the way of other runners on the course.

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