New York City Marathon
|New York City Marathon|
|Date||First Sunday in November|
|Location||New York City|
|Primary sponsor||TCS |
|Course records||Men: 2:05:06 (2011)
Women: 2:22:31 (2003)
The New York City Marathon (branded TCS New York City Marathon and formerly branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 50,304 finishers in 2013. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.
The race is organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR) and has been run every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012, due to landfall of Hurricane Sandy. In past years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. In 2014, Tata Consultancy Services, a multinational information technology (IT) service, consulting, and business solutions company headquartered in India, begins an eight year term as the title sponsor. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is chosen largely by a lottery system. Runners who are members of NYRR can gain entry by meeting the qualifications for guaranteed entry or via nomination from an official running club.
The race was founded by Fred Lebow. Ted Corbitt helped plan the deceptively hilly course of the New York City Marathon. The initial course of 1970 consisted in repeated racing around Central Park. Nowadays the course covers all five boroughs of New York City. It begins on Staten Island, in Fort Wadsworth, near the approach to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The bridge, which normally carries only vehicular traffic, is closed for the event. Runners use both sides of the upper level of the bridge and the westbound side of the lower level. In the opening minutes of the race, the bridge is filled with runners, creating a dramatic spectacle that is closely associated with the event.
After descending the bridge, the course winds through Brooklyn, mostly along Fourth Avenue and Bedford Avenue, for approximately the next 11 miles (18 km). Runners pass through a variety of neighborhoods, including: Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.
At 13.1 miles (21.1 km), runners cross the Pulaski Bridge, marking the halfway point of the race and the entrance into Long Island City, Queens. After about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in Queens, runners cross the East River via the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. It is at this point in the race when many runners begin to tire, as the climb up the bridge is considered one of the most difficult points in the marathon.
Reaching Manhattan after about 16 miles (26 km), the race proceeds north on First Avenue, then crosses briefly into The Bronx via the Willis Avenue Bridge for a mile before returning into Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge. It then proceeds south through Harlem down Fifth Avenue and into Central Park. At the southern end of the park, the race proceeds across Central Park South, where thousands of spectators cheer runners on during the last mile. At Columbus Circle, the race re-enters the park and finishes outside Tavern on the Green. The time limit for this course is 8½ hours from the 10:10 a.m. start.
In 2008, the race initiated a corral system. Women were given a head start and the balance of the runners began in three staggered starts. The official times are those recorded by a computer chip attached to the back of the runner's bib, which calculates when a runner crosses the start and when she crosses the finish, known as "net", as opposed to "gun", time. Runners also pass timing mats at 5 km intervals along the course and email notifications can be received by people following runners during the race to see how the runners are doing. In addition, while the distance is the same, there are different courses taken through Bay Ridge and up Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn until the course reaches Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn at Mile 8.
Although the marathon publicity material uses miles, the timing mats are at 5 km intervals to accommodate the publishing of splits and also enabling potential world records for 20 km, 30 km and other sub-marathon distances to be recorded.
The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, organized by New York Road Runners Club presidents Fred Lebow and Vincent Chiappetta, with 127 competitors running several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park. Only about one-hundred spectators watched Gary Muhrcke win the race in 2:31:38. In fact, a total of only 55 runners crossed the finish line. Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger. To celebrate the 1976 bicentennial, city auditor George Spitz proposed that the race traverse all five boroughs. With the support of Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton, the men convinced Mayor Beame and, eventually, race director Fred Lebow. The race was a huge success, and what was intended as a one-time celebration, became the annual course. Dick Traum became the first person to complete a marathon with a prosthetic leg when he finished the 1976 New York City Marathon. The marathon grew in popularity two years later when Norwegian Grete Waitz broke the women's world record, finishing in 2:32:30. She went on to win the race an unprecedented nine times. An official wheelchair and handcycle division was introduced in 2000, and starting in 2002, the elite women are given a 35 minute headstart before the elite men and rest of the field. The New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million spectators line the course. Prior to 2013, the marathon was broadcast live in the New York area on WNBC, and on Universal Sports for the entire country, However, in 2013, WABC-TV and ESPN announced they would begin broadcasting the New York City Marathon. The Marathon can also be watched online.
Grete Waitz, the Norwegian long distance runner, sets a new course record for women at 2:32:30 and wins her first New York Marathon. Waitz goes on to win 9 New York Marathons, the most course wins in any category to date. She is widely acknowledged for having made a significant contribution to promote marathon and long-distance running for women. The New York Road Runners club annually sponsors "Grete's Great Gallop," a half-marathon, in her honor.
In a normally trivial mistake, Rosie Ruiz was accidentally given a finish time of 2:56:29. This qualified her for the 1980 Boston Marathon, where she crossed the finish line with a record time of 2:31:56. It was quickly determined that she had not run the entire course in either race, igniting the best-known scandal in the history of modern distance running. New York Marathon chief Fred Lebow rescinded Ruiz's time after determining she had not finished the 1979 race, and officials in Boston quickly followed suit.
Alberto Salazar's 2:08:13 was initially considered to be a world's best in the marathon, but the mark was later rescinded by The Athletics Congress, now known as USA Track & Field, when the course was measured to be short by approximately 150 meters. Salazar remarked in 1985 that he would continue to believe that he ran a full marathon, since the lack of crowd control forced him to run wide during his turns. He has also suggested that a change in how courses were measured after the 1981 race attributed to the discrepancy in the course length.
The national television audience was treated to a thrilling race as England's Geoff Smith held a lead through the last half of the race. He was caught at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by 1972 Olympic 1500 metres bronze medalist Rod Dixon from New Zealand, who won by just 9 seconds. Dixon had been as far as 2 and a half minutes behind with 10 km to go, but steadily loomed over Smith's shoulder. The result was also one of the great "Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat" photos of all time as Dixon stood at the finish line celebrating with a collapsed and defeated Smith on the ground behind him. Video highlights on YouTube
Grete Waitz completed her last New York Marathon with her friend and race co-founder, Fred Lebow, in celebration of Lebow's 60th birthday. Lebow had been diagnosed with brain cancer and died two years later in 1994. They both completed the race with a time of 5:32:35.
During the 1994 event, Germán Silva recovered from a wrong turn seven-tenths of a mile before the finish that put him temporarily in second place 40 yards behind Benjamín Paredes. He ran a 5:15 final mile, including the detour, to beat Paredes and win the event by two seconds with a time of 2:11:21. The incident earned him the nickname "Wrong Way Silva"
A record 34,729 people participated in the race. The top male finisher was Martin Lel of Kenya in a time of 2:10:30. The top female finisher was Margaret Okayo of Kenya in time of 2:22:31, breaking her previous course record of 2:24:21 set in 2001. In recent years, runners from Kenya have dominated the event. The top Americans were Matt Downin (2:18:48) and Sylvia Mosqueda (2:33:10), both from California. Rapper P.Diddy also ran for charity and raised $2,000,000 for the New York City Education system.
The top female finisher was Britain's Paula Radcliffe in a time of 2:23:10, beating Kenya's Susan Chepkemei by 4 seconds, the closest finish up to that time. The top male was Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa with a time of 2:09:28. The top Americans were Meb Keflezighi (2nd, 2:18:48) from California and Jenny Crain (15th, 2:41:06), from Wisconsin.
In the closest finish in New York City Marathon history, Paul Tergat of Kenya barely outsprinted Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa in the final meters of the race for a time of 2:09:30, beating Ramaala by one second. In the women's race, Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won in a time of 2:24:41. Tops amongst the Americans were Meb Keflezighi of California (2:09:56) and Jen Rhines of California (2:37:07). South African Ernst Van Dyk took the wheelchair race in 1:31:11.
The top male finisher was Marílson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil in a time of 2:09:58, while Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won the female marathon for the second consecutive time in a time of 2:25:05. Gomes dos Santos becomes the first South American ever to win the race. Stephen Kiogora of Kenya placed second, and Paul Tergat, the 2005 defending champion and former marathon world record holder, placed third.
Former American professional road racing cyclist and triathlete Lance Armstrong ran in the 2006 race, finishing 868th with a time of 2:59:36. He also ran the same year in the British 10K. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also completed the race in 2006, finishing in 5:33:43, and wearing bib #110, signifying the 110 pounds lost during his weight loss campaign.
Amanda McGrory won the female wheelchair race in the time of 1:54:17, the male wheelchair division was won by Kurt Fearnley in a time of 1:29:22.
The 2007 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 4. It was the final race of the 2006–2007 World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin marathons.
However, there were very few elite American marathoners participating in 2007 because they competed the day before at the 2008 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials, which was held in conjunction with the New York City Marathon on some of the same course, three loops of which Trials were in Central Park.
The 2008 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 2. A field of 37,899 runners participated. The men's winner was Marílson Gomes dos Santos in 2:08:43. Paula Radcliffe won her third NYC marathon in 2:23:56.
The 2008 marathon events were marred by the deaths of three marathon participants:
- Carlos Jose Gomes, 58, of Brazil fell unconscious shortly after completing the race in 4:12:15. An autopsy revealed that he had a pre-existing heart condition and died of a heart attack.
- Joseph Marotta, 66, of Staten Island, N.Y. succumbed to a heart attack hours after he completed his fourth New York City Marathon. He walked the course in 9:16:46.
- Fred Costa, 41, from Cincinnati, OH collapsed at the marathon and died on November 15 of a heart attack.
The 2009 New York City Marathon was held Sunday November 1, 2009. Meb Keflezighi of the United States won the men's race (the first American since Alberto Salazar in 1982) with a time of 2:09:15 while Ethiopian Derartu Tulu took the women's crown in 2:28:52, the first Ethiopian woman to do so. This was the first marathon in history with more than 40,000 official finishers, as 43,660 crossed the finish, 5,053 more than the previous best at the 2008 edition of this race.
The 2010 New York City Marathon was held on November 7. Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia, in his first ever marathon, won the race after breaking ahead of his last rival, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, in the 25th mile to finish alone with a time of 2:08:14. The race featured 37-year-old world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, who ran with a bad knee and dropped out of the race at the 16th mile. Afterwards, he announced his retirement, but later reversed this decision. Edna Kiplagat won the women's title with a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes, 20 seconds, ahead of American Shalane Flanagan.
The total number of official finishers, 44,829 (28,757 men and 16,072 women) was a new world record for a marathon race.
The 2011 Marathon was held on November 6. The men's event was won by Kenyan athlete Geoffrey Mutai in a time of 2:05:06, breaking the ten-year-old course record. Second place runner, Emmanuel Mutai, also of Kenya, and third place runner, Tsegaye Kebede, of Ethiopia also beat the previous record for the event, with times of 2:06:28 and 2:07:14, respectively. Geoffrey Mutai, who won the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, became the first man to win both races in course record time in the same year. Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia won the women's race in a time of 2:23:15, marking her first major marathon victory. Coming second, 4 seconds behind the leader originally from Ethiopia, but now living in the The Bronx, New York, was Bizunesh Deba with a time of 2:23:19.
There were a world record 46,795 official finishers: 29,867 men and 16,928 women.
Edison Peña, famous for keeping up his running routine during the 69 days he was trapped in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, ran the race. Former NHL player, Mark Messier, finished with a time just over 4 hours at age 50. Retired Dutch soccer player, Edwin van der Sar, ran in 4:19 and said it was the toughest thing he had ever done. Former CART champion Alex Zanardi won the handcycle class.
On November 2, 2012, the marathon was canceled; Mayor Bloomberg explained that: "While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division... We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it." Three days earlier, Bloomberg said the marathon would take place. This declaration started a fierce debate on whether to hold the race with thousands of residents still without electricity, public transportation, and other basic needs. The proponents for going ahead with the race said that the event will give an economic and morale boost to the city, while opponents said the resources (such as food, water, and police) are better used elsewhere.
Some of the entrants ended up helping with some of the cleanup efforts, due to the "Super Storm Sandy"  while others chose to congregate and run an informal "Shadow Marathon" in Central Park. Controversy over the cancellation of the Marathon, the timing of the announcement and the repercussions of the decision, including criticism of New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg, continued well after the 2012 race was meant to have taken place. As a resolution, all who were registered to run the 2012 race were offered three options: a refund; guaranteed, non-complimentary entry to the New York City Marathon in 2013, 2014, or 2015; or guaranteed, non-complimentary entry to the NYC Half 2013.
The 2013 New York City Marathon was run November 3, 2013. The race proved to be the clincher for the 2013 World Marathon Majors titles for both men and women. Duplicating their London Marathon wins from April 2013, Tsegaye Kebede and Priscah Jeptoo each won $500,000 for their season wide efforts. After the 2012 cancellation, Geoffrey Mutai returned to become the first repeat winner in 15 years (John Kagwe in 1997-1998). Under windy conditions, his 2:08:24 was more than 3 minutes slower than in 2011. Mutai broke away around mile 22 to win by almost a minute over Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, who had finished third two years earlier. Jeptoo spotted Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian runner who has lived in the Bronx since 2009, 3 and a half minutes at the half marathon mark, but came back to pass her in the 24th mile.
The 2014 New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 2, 2014. It was announced on October 2, 2013, that the marathon's main sponsor would be Tata Consultancy Services starting in 2014. It is an eight-year deal, and the race is named the TCS New York City Marathon. Wind was unusually high, blowing from the north on a mostly northbound course. Winners were Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany. 
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For instance, my disputed world record, even with the change in measuring systems, I was unlucky to be holding a record when they decided to change the measuring system. All of a sudden it comes out a little short.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New York City Marathon.|
- Official website
- Time-lapse video of 2013 New York City Marathon
- Official NYC Marathon Fundraising Site
- New York City Marathon Course Flyover Map, therunscout.com
- New York City Marathon collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Photos of 2011 NYC Marathon
José María Olazábal
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