David Kilgore, an internationally recognized ultra-marathon runner known as “Florida Man,” has found a home in the Bronx finishing this year’s New York City Marathon as the fastest Bronxite and the eighth fastest New Yorker to cross the finish line.
He was one of only two runners from the Bronx who finished within the first 500 competitors, according to results of the race.
Kilgore, 32, lives in the Concourse neighborhood located in the southwestern section of the borough near the iconic Yankee Stadium. He says living in the borough’s diverse landscape is fantastic for running and what helped him prepare for his fifth Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) NYC Marathon. Among the nearly 52,000 runners this year, Kilgore completed the world’s largest race in 63rd place with a time of 2:31:39, less than 27 minutes off the winning pace.
This year’s effort amounted to Kilgore’s fourth fastest finish in the venerable marathon – merely 3:20 behind his best result in 2019.
Originally from Palm Bay, Florida, Kilgore got started running while joining his dad who ran about a mile a day for general fitness. After being introduced to his cross country coaches at Holy Trinity High School, he fell in love with the sport and its community. He eventually went on to become a four-time Florida state track and cross country champion and an All-American runner.
“Ever since then, I’ve just kind of been in the distance running realm. But over the years, I feel like I’ve expanded that” he said. “You know, marathons, ultramarathons and other, unique running stunts, more or less.”
As a career competitive runner, Kilgore has run some of the longest races in the world.
Recently in a endurnace running challenge against six other racers referred to as The Speed Project, he ran 340 miles across the Mojave desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Most notably, Kilgore won The World Marathon Challenge in early 2023 where competitors were tasked with completing seven marathons in seven pre-determined continents over the course of seven days, the last of which he finished in two hours and 42 minutes — he effectively got faster each day.
For Kilgore, running is a way to meet new people and introduce himself to new environments.
“I think it’s really special to be able to go for a run with people,” said Kilgore. “I love that piece of running, that it’s so communal.”
This year was the 52nd running of the NYC Marathon. For Kilgore, who runs some of the longest and most grueling races on earth, the day is a chance to be a part of a positive celebration of community.
“I feel like, [the marathon] is inspirational for myself and hopefully it’s also bringing inspiration to others … it’s making others excited about health and fitness and also running,” he said.
Kilgore moved to the Bronx nearly eight years ago in part because of the borough’s access to unique suburban-like terrain after initially finding a place in Harlem.
“There’s so much green space. The hills, I feel, are the most epic in the city. It’s also super easy to get out. I do a lot of trail and ultra-running. So to get to big parks, mountains and stuff, it’s much easier,” he said.
One of his favorite training spots is along the High Bridge loop, which connects the neighborhoods of Washington Heights in Manhattan and Highbridge in the Bronx. To get miles in, he frequents the wooded Van Cortlandt Park in the northwest part of the borough, and the Franz Sigel Park in the southwest Bronx. Kilgore also likes to train at the Joseph Yancey Track and Field adjacent to Yankee Stadium.
While the NYC Marathon famously makes its way through all five boroughs, only about a mile of it passes through the Bronx between the Willis Avenue and Madison Avenue bridges in the South Bronx.
“I have to go with my borough. The BX,” said Kilgore when asked what leg of the race he was most excited for. “Especially, it’s the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. So, I think the vibes are going to be all time this year.”
In order to prepare for marathons and other long distance competitions, Kilgore runs nearly every day. His weeks consist of daily runs of about six to nine miles. Once a week, Kilgore will also go on longer runs of about 12 to 20 miles and at least twice a week, he’ll incorporate intervals on the track.
Following this year’s race, Kilgore enjoyed a pizza pie at the original location of Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem on his way back home to the Bronx. After the 26.2 miles, he emphasized that he felt great and that the unusually warm weather on Sunday, Nov. 5 tended to his preferences as a runner originally from Florida.
“It was my favorite New York (City Marathon) ever. Just the crowds across the board, I think in every single borough were the loudest, the deepest, the most energy I’ve ever felt during the New York City Marathon. So it was super, super special,” said Kilgore.
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