Empire State Marathon (Syracuse, NY) – Race Review

Location: Syracuse, New York

Date: October 19, 2014

Race Organization: four stars

The Empire State Marathon has a decent website, a modest expo and a well-organized start/finish area. With regard to the expo, it is held at Driver’s Village in Cicero, New York. There were a handful of vendors and Fleet Feet Syracuse was able to personalize your race shirt if you were interested. With regard to the start/finish area, there were lots of facilities, plenty of food, a nice stage for music/awards and a long, spectator-friendly chute to the finish line.

Cost: four stars

The marathon currently costs $75 (the half is $65 and the relay is $180). However, the cost goes up on March 17.

Notably, if you registered back in November, you could have signed up for the full marathon for only $55 – that’s a bargain nowadays!

Course: four stars

The marathon starts at NBT Bank Stadium and heads out to Onondaga Lake Parkway – and then into Onondaga Lake Park. The course exits the north end of the park and heads onto some country backroads (as seen below).

The race then heads toward Baldwinsville, NY, and you reach the halfway mark right in “downtown” Baldwinsville. The next three miles are less than ideal – they are on Route 31, a fairly major road, which is open and heavily trafficked during the race. It is coned off, but I can assure you that you will want to be done with this part as quickly as possible. Next, you will make a right turn onto River Road, which is much more scenic, and you will start heading back toward Onondaga Lake Park, at which point you will retrace the first six miles of the race.

The race isn’t flat but it’s not particularly hilly either:

I would not describe this course as fast or slow – I think it falls somewhere in between.


Swag: four stars

You get a race shirt (that can be personalized) and a nice finisher’s medal.


This race has only been around for a few years. It is already a fairly popular event and I think the appeal could grow with a few small changes (such as modifications to the section of the race along Route 31).

It is a pretty afforable race and the local hotels and restaurants are also much cheaper than some of their big city counterparts.

Overall: four stars

This is a nice race and Syracuse is a great place to visit in October. The Empire State Marathon probably isn’t as fast as other nearby fall races (Wineglass and Steamtown), but it’s definitely not slow either. I don’t think you will be disappointed if you decide to do this race!