Nov. 2, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez
COURT SQUARE — A “cheering station” will be set up in Court Square during the Nov. 5 TCS New York City Marathon to encourage runners passing through Queens, fresh off the race’s halfway mark.
The station will be set up at 44th Drive and 21st Street, where volunteers can sign up to cheer on the hoards of runners making their way through Long Island City before reaching the Queensboro Bridge. The runners enter the neighborhood after passing the 13.1 mile mark at the Pulaski Bridge and go through sections like Jackson Avenue, Vernon Boulevard, 44th Road, and Crescent Street.
Orange and blue pompoms, balloons, cowbells, whistles, rattles, and more will be on hand for volunteers to use, who can sign up to cheer in two shifts, one from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The station, in its third year, was devised by the Queens Centers for Progress and the Queens Tourism Council, part of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
Rob MacKay, director of public relations for the QEDC, says the cheering station was partly organized in an effort to liven the brief time the runners spend in Queens in a moment of the race he calls a “perfect negative storm.”
“When you go into Queens you’re about exactly halfway, and runners say that that’s exactly when things go bad,” MacKay said. “The adrenaline and early energy have left, and you realize you have all this time to go.”
MacKay added that Queens doesn’t put out a crowd of spectators during the event like the other boroughs do, noting the lines of fans along the large stretch of 4th Avenue in Brooklyn and the hype of Manhattan’s Central Park. “We came up with the idea of having a cheer station to represent the borough,” MacKay said.
One runner, however, with seven New York City marathons to her name, said that sight on Vernon Boulevard after coming off the Pulaski is welcoming.
“The crowds when you first get over the Pulaski are wonderful, as are the spectators on Vernon” said Heather Laurel, a music theory professor based in New York City and member of the Woodside-Sunnyside Runners group.
Last year’s cheer station saw about 75 volunteers throughout the course of the race, including MacKay. “I end up being more tired than the marathon runners at the end,” he said.
Interested volunteers can sign up with the Queens Center for Progress for the event.
The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, a 26.2-mile race and “block party”, is expected to see over 50,000 runners and close to one million spectators across the city. A list of all street closures can be viewed here.