Experiencing the New York Marathon

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The New York City Marathon is an yearly race which courses through the 5 boroughs of New York City. This marathon is considered on the list of USA’s highly regarded sports activities. This marathon is the largest sized marathon worldwide with 53,508 finishing the 2019 race. The marathon is so popular, that admittance to it for the pack runner is usually by a lottery system with most hoping to get accepted missing out. A unique highlight of the run is the nearly two million spectators who line the route, almost having a party to support all the runners and cheer all of them on with festivities all along the road. The event is put on by the New York Road Runners and has now been held each year since 1970, aside from two years. The 2012 race was cancelled due to the flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was called off because of the COVID-19 crisis. The race normally takes place on the very first Sunday in November. The half century anniversary running of the race is planned for the 7 November 2021.

The initial New York City Marathon manager or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who passed away in 1994. The initial event in 1970 only had 55 competitors that finished. Lebow then nurtured the NYC Marathon to eventually end up being the great celebration that it is. The colour, the history, the nature and the charge of the event was caught in an fascinating 2009 book by the Liz Robbins, a former sports journalist at The New York Times titled ‘A Race Like No Other’. The book was about the 2007 running of the event. Liz tracked the stories of both professional and amateur athletes over the 42 kms of the course as it went through the streets of New York City, from the starting line at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the finish line which is in Central Park. Her book has sold well and narrated everything so well.

It was probably the 1983 race which grabbed the interest of so many, especially a nationwide television audience because it had been broadcast live. Geoff Smith from England was in front for the majority of the way and he was caught and passed at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by Rod Dixon from New Zealand. When there was 6 miles to go, Rod was two and half minutes behind Smith however crawled back to win by just nine seconds. Immediately after Rod Dixon passed the line to celebrate standing, Smith collapsed on the line. A photo caught that moment and became a famous picture known as the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” photo.

The present race record for males is 2:05:05, done by Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya in 2011 and for females it's 2:22:31 done by Margaret Okayo also coming from Kenya in 2003. The slower runners have eight hours and 30 minutes to complete the marathon. The Olympian Grete Waitz won her first New York City Marathon back in 1978, coming first in what was then course record time of 2:32:30. She went on to get victory in another 8 NYC marathons, still holding the title for the most number of wins.