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

Tips For 5 Boroughs, 5 Beers

Here are Williams’ pointers on how to run your own 5 Boroughs, 5 Beers at the New York City Marathon, though he admits that actually getting into the race is the hardest part:

Beer 1: Staten Island

Pack your first beer in the drop bag you take with you to Staten Island and pop it open before your starting wave begins. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one taking a drink. Some of the European runners will be popping champagne or Prosecco at the start. Having one before the start takes the edge off of the huge task at hand.

Beer 2: Brooklyn

Drink your second beer around mile 10 at a bar in Brooklyn. “The first year we did it in 2005, we just ran into a bar to get beers and the owner almost didn’t serve us because he thought we were crazy,” Williams says. “On subsequent runs, he has been a proud sponsor and set up beers on the bar before we get there.”

Beer 3: Queens

After the halfway point, there’s reason to celebrate, right? “We’d usually stop in another bar near mile 14,” Williams says. “This is where the excitement really gets going, because we’re high-fiving everyone as we come out of the bar in our running gear to get back on the course.” Only 12.2 miles and 24 ounces to go!

Beer 4: Manhattan

First Avenue is where the crowds really come out and beer No. 4 is often taken near mile 17 amid the mayhem, thanks to a friend with a backpack full of beers, Williams says. (If you can’t arrange a bag man, there are minimarts on First Avenue.) “Spectators would always give us concerned looks,” he says. “But you’ve got to rehydrate, right?”

Beer 5: The Bronx

Beer No. 5 is a brown-bag situation after a stop in a minimart near mile 21, so make sure you have a few bucks and your ID. “Things get a little goofy over the final 5 miles to the finish in Central Park,” Williams says. “Some people try to run hard, but most are high-fiving and dancing and even free-style rapping with bands along the course.”

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