Everything you need to know about the meet. Race times, course maps, race previews, starting boxes, construction updates, what to eat, restrooms, parking, and more.
By Christopher Hunt
The construction at Van Cortlandt Park has already forced the Foot Locker Northeast Regional to move to Sunken Meadow Park and many wondered how the fencing that surrounds the entire parade grounds would affect the Manhattan Invitational, one of the largest attended meets in the country.
The course had been redesigned months ago to answer any questions about whether there would be a 2.5-mile course to run on at all. But the question remained: where is every else going to go?
Meet management has posted a map that shows that team tents can be set up behind the tennis courts right side of the park on either side of the Van Cortlandt House Museum. There is also a space parallel to the starting line, which has also moved, that is 1000 x 200 feet.
“That’s a lot of room,” said co-meet director Ed Gorman.
No one is suggesting that there will be great viewing areas to watch the race. Van Cortlandt has never been a spectator-friendly course. This year will be slightly worse in terms of watching, for those that aren’t interested in running back and forth around the gated infield to catch the last few seconds of the race. The parks department is not allowing tents on the Broadway side of the park. Gorman said that if teams chose to set up tents on the Broadway side, which is alongside the finish line, those tents will be removed. There are also no stakes allowed but sandbags will be allowed in order to anchor the tents.
“Is it going to be tight?,” assistant meet director Lou Vasquez said. “Absolutely. If coaches listen to where they can set up and aren’t all over the place then we’ll be fine. Is it going to be different than years past? Absolutely, it’ll be tighter.”
Do you know the course and know where to cheer? This year will be a little tougher with the constrction in the park. Check out the article on the construction and the beginning of this video for a look at the park. VIDEO HERE
OLD COURSE MAPS
You have to know what time your athletes are running. So look at the race assignment and race times to figure it out. RACE HERE
The boys and girls Eastern States Championships are the marquee events. You do not want to miss these events. Check out the race breakdowns that include schools, state rankings, and team colors. MEET PREVIEWS HERE
You are in New York - it's a problem. If you arrive early, you'll be OK. If not, it'll be a battle. You can try parking at the Van Cortlandt Golf Course and walking over or just try north on Broadway past the Saw Mill. We've heard that the barn at VCP, just north of the Saw Mill has parking as well. If you live in Manhattan - take the subway. If you live in Westchester take Metro North and then take a taxi. It's be easier and more envirementally friendly. There are always taxi to get back to the station waiting at the subway stop.
Do not miss out on the legendary Loyd's Carot Cake on Broadway. It's the post race spot for olympians and rookies alike. There will be a lot of trucks selling food but there are also some delis right on broadway and a Burger King (the line will be long). Be ready for long lines in most places close by.
If you're looking for a post race meal, I suggest heading to Rory Dolans in Yonkers or The Ramblin House in Woodlawn. Both are close by and both are family places in old, Irish neiborhoods. Often they ahve tradition Irish music during the day on the weekends. If you head to Rory's, try to chicken pot pie - it's hte best. Ramblin House has great corn beef and cabbage.
Where to meet
The Tortoise and the Hare is the famous spot to meet, kind of like "The Bat" at Yankee Stadium. (hard to believe that tradition is now over)
The stature is on Broadway directly across the field from the finish line, though it's a pretty long way across.
There are two public restrooms in the park, one on Broadway just north of 242 street, across and south from Burger King.
The other one is by the Van Cortlandt House on the South side of th park. Just find the 2.5 mile start and walk toward the "Cow Path" and you'll see a bath house on the right hand side.
Burger King is also a good choice.
How to figure out where the start and check in are?
If you get to the park and see the field, walk counter clockwise on the field and you will hit the start, which is where the check in table has been for years. Not making any promises here - meet management may have moved it. UPDATE: START IS BY THE TENNIS COURTS PAST THE VAN CORTLANDT HOUSE. JUST GO PAST THE OLD START
If you came off the subway or near Burger Kings, you are very close to the start and check in. Just pass the driveway into the park, and there it is. If you hIt the Tortoise and the Hare, you went too far.
THE FINISH LINE IS ON BROADWAY THIS YEAR, NEXT TO THE TORTOISE AND THE HAIR
Vanny - the knickname
VCP - the abbreviation
Cow Path - the entrance to the woods and trails
Freshman Hill - that first hill that leads up to and down from the bridge
The Bridge - the 3/4 mile and 2 mile marks on the 2.5 mile course.
The Back Hills - basically everything over the bridge
The Flats - the entire huge field, but usually referring to the flat trail that leads around it.
Cemetery Hill - the notorious hill that is not on any HS course.
The Signs - they white posts that mark the course and point you in the right direction. They have a white tortoise and hare on them. The signs are pictured at the top of this page.
Things to do
1. Cemetery Hill - There is a great view fo the entire park from here, so when you have some down time walk up this classic and see how steep it is.
2. Carrot Cake - Head over to Loyds and do what runners and fans have been doing for years - get a piece of carrot cake. It's the best you can get.
3. The Bridge - Even if it's not for your son or daughters race or your teams race, get to the bridge for a race. It's a great place to see what it's like in the woods. Remember, if you're at the bridge when they cross it the 2nd time, you will miss the finish.
4. Run the aquaduct - everyone runs on the trails in Vanny, but why not cool down on the aquaduct trail. It's runs from the golf course pond into Yonkers and is beautiful and shaded.
5. Be at the finish - An obvoius here, but emphasis was needed. To see these races finishing basically non stop all day long is a sight to behold.
6. Get there early - parking is tough. Get there early. Get there early. Get there early.
- Tim Fulton