Mary Wittenberg’s To Do Sunday: Race Day

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Race day begins with my traditional run through our finish line. I’ll then head to the starting line on Staten Island bright and early, where I’ll welcome our runners and, for the last time in 12 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his team. We began the 2013 marathon season here last month with the Staten Island Half and a day of family activities to benefit recovery efforts in the borough, so it will be especially meaningful to be back. The energy in the air is unlike anything else as runners arrive to begin what they have been training months for.

With the marathon course running across all five boroughs and through dozens of neighborhoods, there is no bad spot to cheer on the runners, but the Bronx and Harlem miles are among my favorite stretches. Check out Flatbush and Fourth Avenues in Brooklyn, 67th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, or the Time Warner Center, where live tweets and Instagrams with #INGNYCM will appear on Jumbotrons.

I’ll follow the men’s race to First Avenue before “cutting the course” to Central Park to catch the top women finishers and congratulate wheelers and runners as they hit our celebrated finish line! It’s the most uplifting spot in New York and not just for the winners. For the approximately 48,000 runners who will cross the finish line today, it is a moment of incredible, personal victory. Seeing the triumph on their faces is one of the biggest perks of my job!

Tonight is the Night of Champions benefit for NYRR youth programs at the Plaza Hotel. The 2013 marathon champions will be on hand, along with top American pros, to support fitness and health education in schools around the country.

Todd English Food Hall, Plaza Hotel, 1 West 59th Street, 212-759-3000, $350 for “supporters,” $1,000 for “patrons”