Michael Capiraso On His Favorite Routes To Run in New York City


As the Former President and CEO of New York Road Runners (NYRR), Michael Capiraso has built his life and career on running. In fact he has recently joined the board of JoggingBuddy, to serve as an advisor to the up and coming social media service that connects runners with running partners. In his previous role, NYRR exists to inspire people in the community to participate in running for exercise, fun, competition, and to raise money for charity. In 2019, more than 10,000 runners in the TCS NYC Marathon raised nearly $45 million for charity.  Michael Capiraso was one of the largest group of those charity runners, Team For Kids, which raised a total of $8.6 million to support NYRR youth programs and events.


Why Michael Capiraso Relishes Running in Central Park

Capiraso has chosen to run many of his miles in Central Park over the years because of its vast beauty, and the fact that the park has many courses (loops) offering runners the option of various distances, surfaces, and challenges. Central Park has been both instrumental and inspiring in the running culture of New York City for decades.

The Reservoir Running Track

Spanning a loop of 1.58 miles, this running track is one of Central Park’s most popular due to the amazing views it offers of the reservoir and cityscape of New York. The track has a soft surface made from crushed gravel for a comfortable run. The location of the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Reservoir Running Track is midway through Central Park between 86th and 96th Street. People who prefer to walk rather than run also use the track.

Although this reservoir has existed for more than 100 years, people did not start using it as a track until the 1960s. This timeline coincides with when running became a popular fitness activity. A chain-link fence that stood seven feet high encircled the reservoir from 1926 to 2003. The Central Park Conservatory replaced it with an ornamental fence that stood much lower to allow people to take in the beautiful views while enjoying your run or walk.

The Six-Mile Central Park Loop – and more loops

This loop was recently named for Ted Corbitt, a running pioneer and the first president of the New York Road Runners. Although park rules permit runners and walkers to move in either direction for this loop, approximately 90 percent choose to run or walk in the counter-clockwise direction. The terrain is pavement for all six miles. The Ted Corbitt Loop offers a great way to see the much of the beauty of Central Park.

There are plenty of other scenic loops to run as well: the lower loop is just under 2 miles, the 4 mile loop, the Harlem Meer loop, the bridial path loop. And if you would like to do some trail running Central Park offers options to enjoy and explore scenic running trails.

Runners should keep in mind that they will share the road with walkers, bikers, people on rollerblades or motor scooters, pedicabs, and horse carriages.

The New York City Marathon Finish Line

The annual New York City Marathon takes runners down 5th Avenue adjacent to Central Park. Runners then re-enter the park at 90th Street. They continue down East Drive and run directly behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art while maintaining a view of the New York City skyline the entire time.

Runners remain in Central Park until the 25th mile where they leave it briefly and then re-enter to head to the finish line located at Tavern on the Green. Dozens of international flags line the finish line to welcome runners who completed the entire 26.2 miles. These final few miles of the marathon course provide yet another opportinity to enjoy the beauty and inspiration of running in Central Park.

Tips from Michael Capiraso for First-Time Runners at Central Park

Central Park stretches out for 683 acres and encompasses the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and Midtown Manhattan. Hundreds of movies have featured the iconic park, and at least 38 million people visit it every year. Runners should be certain to wear comfortable shoes that they have had the chance to break in and stay hydrated throughout their run.

Capiraso advises new runners to choose their surface-type carefully. For example, someone with slight arthritis might become sore running on pavement and would do better on a track of crushed gravel.

The rules of Central Park require runners to stay to the right on most paths and use the left lane only to pass other runners or walkers. Runners need to remain aware of bicyclists and stay out of the bike lane to avoid a collision. They should also look both ways before entering a running path and stay on guard for groups of tourists stopping suddenly to take photos.

If runners become lost in Central Park, they can determine their location with the GPS and Google Maps applications on their smartphone. The base of every lamppost has a four-digit number. The first two numbers designate the nearest street such as 70 for 70th street. The last two numbers show whether a runner is on the east or west side of Central Park. Odd numbers denote west while even numbers denote east.

If you live in New York City or are visiting be sure to take a run in Central Park, one of the best places in the world to run!

About Michael Capiraso

Michael Capiraso began his association with NYRR in 2010 and took over as president and CEO in May 2015. A resident of Manhattan, Capiraso has been an avid runner for over 30 years. He has competed in more than 300 races hosted by NYRR. Capiraso has also run in the New York City Marathon every year since 1991 except for races canceled due hurricane Sandy and coronavirus pandemic. He has run in all five New York City boroughs and has his favorite running spots in each one.

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Michael Capiraso On His Favorite Routes To Run in New York City
Michael Capiraso began his association with NYRR in 2010 and took over as president and CEO in May 2015.
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