The Marathon in New York

The Marathon in New York

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The New York City Marathon is an annual race which courses through the 5 districts of New York City. This race is recognized as one of the USA’s most recognized sports events. It is the biggest in the world with 53,508 finishers in the 2019 marathon. The race is so popular, that entry to it for the pack runner is mostly by a lottery method with most wanting to get in not getting in. A certain highlight of the marathon is the nearly two million fans who line the route, virtually having a celebration to support all the competitors and cheer all of them on with activities all over the course. The New York City Marathon is organized by the New York Road Runners and has now been run each and every year since 1970, except for two years. The 2012 run was cancelled as a result of flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was called off as a result of COVID-19 crisis. The marathon typically takes place on the initial Sunday of November. The fiftieth running of the race is planned for the 7 November 2021.

The very first New York City Marathon manager or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who died in 1994. The initial New York City marathon in 1970 only had 55 competitors that finished. Fred then developed the NYC Marathon to gradually become the wonderful occasion that it is. The color, the story, the nature and the charge of the event was captured in an interesting 2009 book from the Liz Robbins, a previous sports writer at The New York Times named ‘A Race Like No Other’. The narrative was about the 2007 running of the marathon. Liz followed the experiences of both professional and also newbie athletes over the 26.2 miles of the course as it went through the roads of New York, from the start line near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the finish line which is in Central Park. It has sold well and narrated it all very well.

It was possibly the 1983 run which captured the interest of so many, particularly a national television audience because it had been broadcast live. Geoffrey Smith from the UK was leading for most of the way and was caught and passed at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by Rodney Dixon from New Zealand. With 6 miles to go, Rod Dixon was two and half minutes behind Smith however crawled back to get victory by 9 seconds. Immediately after Rod Dixon crossed the line to rejoice standing, Smith collapsed on the road. An image caught that moment in time and became a famous picture known as the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” photograph.

The latest race record for men is 2:05:05, set by Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya in 2011 and for women it is 2:22:31 done by Margaret Okayo also from Kenya in 2003. The recreational runners at New York get eight hours and 30 minutes to do the marathon. The Olympic runner Grete Waitz ran her 1st NYC Marathon back in 1978, coming first in what was then race record time in 2:32:30. Grete proceeded to win another eight NYC marathons, still holding the title for the most number of first places.

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