I am training for my first ultramarathon, a 6-day, 250-kilometer stage race called the Atacama Crossing 2022. It is a self-supported footrace held in the Atacama Desert, Chile on 25 September – 1 October, 2022, which I hope to complete in about 60 hours total.
The race course experiences 14,000 ft of total elevation change, at an average elevation of 8500 ft.
Meanwhile, I live and train at an elevation of approximately 0 ft, in New York City. Where does one find long running routes in a sprawling city by the water? Sure, there are countless skyscrapers – but the thought running up and down a narrow stairwell for hours sounded a bit too much like purgatory even for me.
Then it struck me: the source of the NYC Marathon’s deceptive course profile. The bridges.
The Bridges of New York City
The NYC DOT, MTA and Port Authority of NJ and NY operate over 800 bridges in New York City. So the first thing to do was to narrow down the list to something manageable.
I used a simple set of criteria to choose bridges on which to run:
- Must be safely crossable on foot
- Must cross a body of water
- Preferably a shared-used bridge (i.e. no pedestrian bridges)
The NYC Bike Map turned out to be an incredible resource:
As it turns out, New York City is huge, and I was spoiled for choice. The total number came to sixty (give or take), and the Sixty Bridges project was born.
The Progress Tracker on the front page gives the full list of shortlisted candidates, and while it still isn’t a complete list of all the bridges accessible by foot in NYC, I’d say it’s a pretty good start.