Information for Guide and Support Runners

Updated April 11, 2019.

This information is for guides and support runners who will be accompanying Ambulatory Athletes with Disabilities (AAWDs).

NYRR's guide/support runner program provides up to two (2) guides/support runners per AAWD, based on nature of disability and need.

Human Guide

A human guide ("guide") provides visual cues and navigation support to a runner with a visual impairment (VI). Guides are not scored and will not receive an official finishing time. There is no entry fee for a guide.

Guide Selection

  • A runner with a visual impairment (VI) who requires a guide to participate in a New York Road Runners (“NYRR”) event is permitted to run with one (1) guide, and an additional support runner will be allowed if there is a need. For those VI athletes who are using the TCS New York City Marathon for any qualifications, please plan according to the event/race governing body's rules and regulations.
  • It is the runner's responsibility to select a guide who can perform all guide responsibilities at the runner's goal pace.
  • It is strongly recommended that a runner selects a guide with whom he/she regularly trains.
  • In limited situations, a runner may be permitted to register two (2) guides, who run in relay fashion, where the runner is accompanied by one (1) guide at a time on the event course. If a two (2)-guide relay is used, the exchange must take place at the exchange station located at mile 13.6 of the event course.  

Guide Registration Procedures

  • A runner with a visual impairment who needs a guide to participate in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon should use NYRR’s Guide or Support Runner Registration Request Form (available soon) to make his/her request. All requests must be made by May 20, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. 
  • It is the runner's responsibility to complete NYRR’s Guide or Support Runner Registration Request Form.
  • NYRR will send an invitation to register directly to each approved guide by June 15, 2019. The deadline for the guide to complete the registration process through NYRR is July 15, 2019. After the deadline, any runner whose guide did not register through NYRR will be given the option to participate alone or to cancel his/her entry. A refund will not be provided to a runner who chooses to cancel his/her entry.
  • Should the runner select a registered runner to serve as his/her guide, the runner still must follow the guide registration process described above and the guide will be assigned the appropriate guide race bib.
  • Any runner who has additional needs or questions regarding participation in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon may email [email protected].

Guide Race Bib/Expo

  • A guide must wear the race bib provided by the event organizers and assigned in the number range specifically designated for guides. A guide is required to pick up his / her race materials, including the race bib, during the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance (“Expo”). Guide bibs for the TCS New York City Marathon are non-transferable; a guide is prohibited from giving or selling the race number or tag to another person or wearing an unofficial number or tag.
  • For the safety of all runners on the event course, each guide must wear the guide singlet distributed at the Expo by NYRR with the guide’s race bib. NYRR requires each guide to wear the singlet as the outermost layer at all times during the TCS New York City Marathon, with the guide’s event bib attached to the front of the singlet. 

Bags and Transportation

  • The event organizers provide transportation on race morning for all runners with a permanent physical, intellectual or visual impairment and each runner’s registered guide, if any, from Midtown Manhattan to the start staging area on Staten Island.  
  • A guide may check his/her own bag with the specified truck in the staging area on Staten Island for retrieval near the finish at the family reunion area on West 72nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. These personal items must be in the clear bag provided to all runners and guides at the Expo. 

Guide Responsibilities/Rules of Competition on the Course

  • The method of guidance is the choice of the athlete, with certain limitations (listed below). Some of the most common methods of guidance are using a tether, or verbal directions, instructions or cues.
  • A guide's focus must always be on the runner he/she is assisting. A guide must always stay with his/her runner.
  • The guide may not push, pull, or slingshot the runner forward. The runner may only bear weight on the guide temporarily to regain balance if necessary.
  • The guide may not block or interfere with the forward progression of other race participants. 
  • A guide must advise his/her runner to stay to the side of the road when approached from behind by an official vehicle or other participants.      
  • A guide for a runner starting on the orange course must stay with the runner on the orange course until the courses merge at approximately mile 8. 
  • A guide may not use rollerblades, a bicycle, or other mechanical means of transport. 
  • For guides starting/stopping at the exchange station: The exchange station will be located at the corner of 48th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, just past the Pulaski Bridge in Queens, which is the halfway point on the event course. A guide who is serving as the runner's first guide is required to exit the event course at the exchange station and is responsible for transporting himself/herself home or to his/her hotel. A guide who is serving as the runner's second guide is responsible for transporting himself/herself to the exchange station and is not permitted to enter the event course until the runner the guide is designated to support arrives at the exchange station and the first guide exits the event course.  If the runner the guide is designated to support does not ever arrive at the Exchange Station, the guide is not permitted to enter the event course. The exchange station may easily be reached by NYC Transit (subway), by taking the Queens-bound #7 train from either Times Square or Grand Central Station in Manhattan to the Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave station (the first stop in Queens).    
  • If a guide is unable to finish an event with his/her runner, the guide is required to drop-out and exit the course. If a guide drops-out, the runner may still participate so long as he/she is able to do so safely. 
  • A guide must cross the finish line with (not ahead of) his/her runner. After the finish line, a guide must direct his/her runner to stay to the left. The exit to the family reunion area on West 72nd Street (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue) will be on the left, just past the heat sheet and food bag distribution. The exit will be marked by a sign.

Support Runner

A runner (ambulatory) with a permanent physical or intellectual impairment who needs to be accompanied by another person on the TCS New York City Marathon course is permitted to be accompanied by one (1) support runner.  Support runners are not scored and will not receive an official finishing time. There is no entry fee for a support runner. A runner participating using a pushrim wheelchair (or wheelchair with a FreeWheel™) or handcycle may not be accompanied by another person on the TCS New York City Marathon course.   

Support Runner Selection

It is the runner’s responsibility to select a support runner(s) who can perform all support responsibilities at the runner’s goal race pace. It is strongly recommended that a runner selects a support runner with whom he/she regularly trains.

Support Runner Registration Procedures

  • Runners with a physical or intellectual impairment who require a support runner, NYRR’s Guide or Support Runner Registration Request Form will be available soon to make the request. All requests must be made by May 20, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. ET. 
  • It is the runner's responsibility to complete NYRR’s Guide or Support Runner Registration Request Form. 
  • NYRR will send an invitation to register directly to each approved support runner by June 15, 2019. The deadline for the support runner to complete the registration process through NYRR is July 15, 2019. After the deadline, any runner whose support runner did not timely register through NYRR will be given the option to participate alone or to cancel his/her entry. A refund will not be provided to a runner who chooses to cancel his/her entry.
  • Should the runner select a registered runner to serve as his / her support runner, the runner still must follow the support runner registration process described above and the support runner will be assigned the appropriate support runner race bib.
  • Any runner who has additional needs or questions regarding participation in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon may email [email protected].

Support Runner Race Bib / Expo

  • A support runner must wear the race bib provided by the event organizers and assigned in the number range specifically designated for support runners. A support runner is required to pick up his / her race materials, including the race bib, during the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance (“Expo”). Support runner bibs for the TCS New York City Marathon are non-transferable; a support runner is prohibited from giving or selling the race number or tag to another person or wearing an unofficial number or tag.
  • For the safety of all runners on the event course, each support runner must wear the support runner singlet distributed at the Expo by NYRR with the support runner’s race bib.  NYRR requires each support runner to wear the singlet as the outermost layer at all times during the TCS New York City Marathon, with the support runner’s event bib attached to the front of the singlet. 

Support Runner Bags and Transportation

  • The event organizers provide transportation on race morning for all runners with a permanent physical, visual, or intellectual impairment and each runner’s registered support runner, if any, from Midtown Manhattan to the start staging area on Staten Island.  
  • A support runner may check his / her own baggage with the specified truck in the Staging Area on Staten Island for retrieval near the finish at the Family Reunion area on West 72nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. These personal items must be in the clear bag provided to all runners and support runners at the Expo. 

Support Runner Responsibilities / Rules of Competition on the Course

  • A support runner must accompany his / her runner during the entire distance of the event.
  • A support runner's focus must always be on the runner he/she is assisting. A support runner must always stay with his/her runner.
  • The support runner may not push, pull or slingshot the runner forward. The runner may only bear weight on the support runner temporarily to regain balance if necessary. The runner and the support runner may not have sustained physical contact during the race. 
  • The support runner may not block or interfere with the forward progression of other race participants. 
  • A support runner must advise his/her runner to stay to the side of the road when approached from behind by an official vehicle or other participants.
  • A support runner for a runner starting on the orange course must stay with the runner on the orange course until the courses merge at approximately mile 8.
  • A support runner may not use rollerblades, a bicycle, or other mechanical means of transport.
  • A support runner is permitted to hand fluids to the runner at the designated fluid stations.
  • A support runner may assist the runner if he/she has tripped or fallen, to regain footing and/or orientation.

Any runner who has additional needs or questions regarding participation in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon may email [email protected].

IMPORTANT NOTE: A runner, guide or support runner who violates anything in these rules or procedures may be removed from the event course, disqualified from official results, and/or suspended from subsequent NYRR events.