Record Field, New Course Make for a Spectacular 2019 United Airlines NYC Half

A record 24,600+ runners braved chilly weather to finish the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half, journeying 13.1 miles from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to Central Park in Manhattan. Along the way, runners thrilled to a new course that crossed the Manhattan Bridge, passed iconic NYC landmarks, and cut through Times Square on the way to a spectacular finish.


It was an especially thrilling finish for race champions Belay Tilahun of Ethiopia, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, and Daniel Romanchuk and Tatyana McFadden of the United States. Read all about the exciting professional open and wheelchair division races.


One of the day’s most inspiring and talked-about runners was Thomas Panek of the nonprofit organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Panek ran the race with the help of three guide dogs who teamed up and tackled the course relay-style. The dogs made history by wearing race bibs emblazoned with their names—Waffle, Westley, and Gus—and collecting medals at the finish. They may have also broken the record for eliciting the most “Awwwws” from spectators along the way.


Times Square is perhaps the biggest draw of the United Airlines NYC Half throughout its 14-year history. Race day is one of only two times a year that the Times Square closes to traffic (the other is New Year’s Eve) and runners and spectators create a unique party atmosphere as they make their way up Seventh Avenue.


The United Airlines NYC Half is also the only New York Road Runners race where dreamers and their heroes run side by side. For the fifth consecutive year, hundreds of young runners took part in the Rising New York Road Runners at the United Airlines NYC Half, a 1200-meter youth race in Times Square. The youngsters, including participants in the NYRR Youth Wheelchair Training Program, ran an incredible course from 47th Street to a turnaround south of 57th Street and back.

Volunteers all along the way helped ensure a smooth run from Brooklyn to Manhattan. And they weren’t the only ones giving back, as hundreds of runners laced up in support of Official Charity Partners, including NYRR Team for Kids. The TFK runners—unmissable in their green singlets—got a little extra boost as they ran past the NYRR Team for Kids cheer zone in Times Square.


For the first time this year, runners not running the United Airlines NYC Half could be a part of the excitement by running the NYRR NYC Half – Virtual 13.1M Powered by Strava anywhere in the world during race weekend. Those who complete the distance earn non-complimentary entry to the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half.


Open Run participant Luz Rocca with Open Run Associate Hannah Henson


Kenneth Partridge

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