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How to Enter the New York City Marathon

By Kim Nunley

It can be difficult to get your hands on one of the highly sought-after official entries to the New York City Marathon. You can enter a lottery but aren’t guaranteed a spot and will have to pay a processing fee either way. To guarantee your entry, participate in programs through the New York Road Runners club, be a consistent participant of the marathon, run other races within a qualifying time, raise money for charity or purchase an entry through an International Travel Partner.

Lottery Entry

Runners of all levels who are older than 18 can try to get into the New York City Marathon through the race’s nonguaranteed drawing. The application period opens in the middle of January and runs for one full month, with the drawing taking place in March. The number of entries that are accepted depends on how many people already have registered through other guaranteed means of entering. You must apply with your credit card information, but you won’t be charged for an entry unless you are selected. You will be charged a nonrefundable processing fee even if not selected. If you are an athlete with disability, or AWD, and are intending to run or use a pushrim wheelchair, you also can try to get into the marathon through the nonguaranteed lottery. Handycle athletes, however, cannot apply for the race through the nonguaranteed drawing.

New York Road Runners

If you have a New York Road Runners account, which is $40 per year, you can receive a guaranteed entry into the marathon by participating in their 9+1 or 9+$1K program. The 9+1 program entails running in nine scored, qualifying races and volunteering at one New York Road Runners event the year prior to the marathon. In the 9+$1K program, you can choose to donate $1,000 to New York Road Runners' Youth and Community Services programs rather than volunteer. Once you’ve met these requirements, you can apply for guaranteed entry to the New York City Marathon the following year.

Previous Marathon Runners and Time Qualifiers

Runners who have completed 15 previous New York City Marathons get to claim a guaranteed entry by submitting their application and paying the entry fee. In addition, if you run the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half, New York City Half, More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon, Brooklyn Half, Staten Island Half, Grete’s Great Gallop or New York City Marathon, within a qualifying time during the previous year, you can sign up for one of a limited number of available guaranteed entries, which are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The time standards vary depending on your sex and age and are based on both marathon and half-marathon times. Open application time for previous marathon runners and time qualifiers runs between the middle of January through the middle of February.

Run for Charity

Every year, the New York City Marathon offers guaranteed entries to those who run to raise money for charities. The marathon has four levels of charity partners, with each one offering different perks and benefits of membership. The Team for Kids organization is a constant charity recognized by the marathon, but most sponsored charities vary every year. The marathon requires you to raise a certain amount of money, which varies depending on the charity. While charity runners associated with Team for Kids must commit to fundraising at least $2,620, most charities require a fundraising commitment of at least $3,000.

International Travel Partners

If you live out of the country and are hoping to participate in the marathon during your visit, you can receive a guaranteed entry with the purchase of a marathon package through one of the marathon’s Official International Travel Partners (ITP) located in your own country. While your local travel agent can connect you to an ITP, the New York City Marathon's website also offers a list of ITPs, organized by country, where you can purchase your marathon package.

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