Just be sure it’s not too thrilling. While you may be tempted to set a wacky record instead of running for time, it’s best to check New York Road Runner’s (NYRR) list of prohibited items before lacing up and putting on your silliest costume or trying to dribble a basketball throughout the five-borough course.
More than 30,000 runners will lace up running shoes and wear tech T-shirts to the start of the New York City Marathon on Staten Island on November 7. Most will wear hats and gloves and snack on energy gels and chews. Some might even wear hydration belts. But because of NYRR’s security measures, no one will be able to bring the following unusual items.
Anyone planning to rewear their Halloween costume on the streets of New York will be in for a trick, not a treat.
“Costumes that cover the face and any bulky outfits that extend beyond the perimeter of the body” are prohibited, according to NYRR. If you were thinking about adding a prop to your costume, don’t. “Props, including flagpoles, sporting equipment, military and fire gear, and signs larger than 11" x 17"” are not allowed.
Have you been training with a weighted vest or made it your goal to carry a 100-pound pack on your marathon route? It’s been done before. The current Guinness World Record for carrying a 100-pound pack was set at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in 2018, and the time to beat is 6:27:59.
Even if you think you could beat that time, you’d better leave your weighted pack home. According to NYRR rules, “Weight vests and any vests with multiple pockets, especially those that can be used as a water reservoir” are not allowed.
Runners will have to rely on the race’s volunteer pacers to hit a goal time instead of using a personal pacing drone (which, yes, does exist).
The ban comes in part because NYRR has a history with drones. At the New York City Half Marathon in March 2015, one hovering near the finish line created a terrorism scare and caused police officers to detain the unmanned aircraft’s operator. Even if it wasn’t for that event, it’s illegal to fly a drone in the city of New York for recreational or commercial use anyway.
According to NYRR’s list of prohibited items, the ban extends to anything that can fly “with an on/off switch.”
The current Guinness World Record for fastest marathon in a sleeping bag is 3:41:59, set at the 2019 London Marathon.
That record will stand a little longer because, according to NYRR, “Duvets, sleeping bags, and large blankets or comforters,” are all prohibited both during the race and in the prerace starting corrals.
A hazard to other runners and your own reputation, selfie sticks are not allowed anywhere on the course. The same applies to “any camera mount or rig that isn’t attached directly to the head or torso,” per NYRR.
NYRR bans “sporting equipment” and “props,” which can span from signs to beanbags. This was especially unfortunate for one man during the 2015 marathon. Elite “joggler” Michael Kapral—who was once featured on a Fairfield Inn and Suites commercial—was planning on breaking the world record for fastest marathon while juggling on the five-borough course in 2015. Then, he was informed by New York Road Runners about the new security rules enacted in 2013 after the Boston Marathon.
“I kind of made the dumb move of not checking earlier,” Kapral told Runner’s World. He emailed the race organization three weeks before the marathon, a week before he started to taper in his mileage-heavy, juggling-filled training schedule. “I just assumed it would be fine. I have joggled 150 races and it was always fine.”
He said there was one silver lining. NYRR cited his beanbags as “sporting equipment” when they ruled he could not run with them. “Joggling has finally been considered a proper sport according to NYRR,” he said. “Something good has come out of the race, I guess.”
When in doubt, ask someone
If you’re not sure if your crazy record attempt or piece of equipment is allowed, don’t wait until the last minute like Kapral. Contact NYRR to ensure you’re following their protocols. After all, they’re simply trying to make the New York City Marathon a safe place to chase PRs, overcome personal obstacles, and celebrate the city.