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NYC Triathlon 2018: What you need to know about the race

By Clayton Guse
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Thousands of people will swim, bike and run across town this weekend as they compete in the 18th annual New York City Triathlon. The race is one of the most physically taxing events in the city all year. Like most major races of this kind in New York City, it's a unique opportunity for athletes to dash through some of the most densely populated areas of the country (and to swim in the Hudson River). Organizers are also trying out a brand-new course for the event, which is expected to produce slightly shorter finishing times than in previous years.

If you’re competing in the race, godspeed. But if you just want to go out and support the participants, here's what you need to know:

When is the 2018 NYC Triathlon?

The triathlon takes place on Sunday, July 1, and it gets going very, very early in the morning. The first of the athletes will start at 5:50am, and all of the participants are expected to finish by noon. So if you want to watch this thing, you're going to have to get up at the crack of dawn.

What's the route this year?

For the first time in its history, the New York City Triathlon has a new route. As in previous years, it'll start with a swim down the Hudson River near Riverside Park from 96th Street to 79th Street. And also like every other year, the bike portion will extend up the Henry Hudson Parkway all the way to Mosholo Parkway in the Bronx, before flipping around and heading back down to the Upper West Side. But this year, the running portion got a makeover. The course will head through Central Park in a counterclockwise direction, a reversal that aims to reduce the amount of hills by 10 percent. This flatter option is aimed at making the race more accessible and ought to shave some precious seconds off of finishing times. 

Will there be street closures?

You better believe it. The city's Department of Transportation announced that the following streets will be closed on Sunday from 5:50am to 2pm at the discretion of the NYPD:

Manhattan:

-Henry Hudson Parkway (northbound lanes only) between West 60th Street and the Henry Hudson Bridge
-West 72nd Street between Riverside Drive and Central Park West
-West 79th Street between Riverside Drive and Traffic Circle (near the West Side Highway)
-79th Street Traffic Circle
-Central Park West Drive between 102nd Street Transverse and Center Drive
-Center Drive between Central Park West Drive and Central Park East Drive
-Central Park East Drive between Center Drive and 102nd Street Transverse
-102nd Street Transverse between Central Park West Drive and Central Park East Drive
-Terrace Drive between Central Park West Drive and Central Park East Drive

The Bronx:
-Henry Hudson Bridge (northbound lanes only)
-The Henry Hudson Parkway (northbound lanes only) between the Henry Hudson Bridge and Mosholu Parkway
-Mosholu Parkway (eastbound lanes only) between the Henry Hudson Parkway and West Gun Hill Road

Where can I watch?

New York City Triathlon organizers recommend a few places to gawk at the athletes. You might have a tough time catching sight of the cycling portion, but the swimming and running legs are fairly easy to view. You can catch the start of the swim at 98th Street and see the swim exit at 79th Street in Riverside Park. Attendees can see the running portion get going along 72nd Street between the Henry Hudson Parkway and Central Park West, and you can group up for the finish of the race near the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park near the bandshell.

If you want to track a particular athlete, you can do it right on your phone. Download the Athlinks app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices. 

What about the heat wave? 

With temperatures expected to approach 100 degrees on Sunday, it'll certainly have some impact on the race. The easier running route ought to go a long way in making the event less grueling for participants, but if you end up going out to show your support, be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and other heat-protective items. 

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