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New York City Marathon
The NYC Marathon isn't the city's only iconic athletic event

For athletic New Yorkers, the November marathon is a rite of passage. From the summer-long training to the Olympic atmosphere surrounding the event, competing in the 40-year-old race comes with major bragging rights, camaraderie, and a license to gorge on pasta.

What other NYC athletic events are seriously hard and will earn you serious respect? Well+Good declares these three fitness accomplishments the biggest and baddest.

Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
There's a time limit of 9:30 for this marathon swim

1. Swim around Manhattan
NYC Swim’s uber-popular 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, happening in June this year, takes swimmers from Battery Park City, north up the East River, counter-clockwise around the island, then south down the Hudson back to the Battery. Enrollment is limited and it’s tough to get a spot, since this event is for serious (and we mean serious) swimmers only. Next event: June 18, 2011, www.nycswim.org

2. Bike 100 miles—around Manhattan, of course
The Century Bike Tour you say? Well, yes, this September extravaganza is the nation’s only all-urban 100-mile bike tour. The full she-bang—which is for experienced cyclists only—takes participants through Queens, up into the Bronx, then back down through Harlem. But more casual cyclists can get in on the action, too: There are 15-, 35-, 55- and 75-mile routes, which take you everywhere from the Brooklyn Bridge to looping along the East River. Next event: September 18, 2011, www.nyccentury.org

New York City's Century Bike Tour

3. Run up the Empire State Building
A quarter-mile run doesn’t necessarily sound so impressive, but when you’re talking a quarter mile vertically? Wowza. And that’s exactly what the 100 or so runners selected for the Empire State Building Run Up get to do—bound up a mere 96 flights (or 1,576 steps) to the top of one of NYC’s true landmarks. Next event: February 2012, www.nyrr.org

Did we forget anything? Let us know what other events or races should be on the bucket list of every serious NYC athlete.

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