New York City Marathon
The New York City Marathon is an annual road race covering 26.2 miles and held on the first Sunday of November each year in New York City. One of the largest marathons in the world, the event is organized by the New York Road Runners club and attracts many world-class marathoners among the thousands who compete each year. First held in 1971 when the course consisted of several loops around Central Park, the New York City Marathon now covers parts of all five boroughs of the city.
The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, when 127 participants entered the 26.2-mile race that looped several times within Central Park in Manhattan. Only 55 runners finished the race organized by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) club, with Gary Muhrcke winning in a time of 2:31:38. A women's division was added the following year, with Beth Bonner completing the race in under three hours to claim first place.
Event co-founder Fred Lebow of NYRR redrew the marathon course in 1976 so that each of New York City's five boroughs were included over the 26.2-mile distance. More than 2,000 runners took part in that 1976 marathon, when Bill Rodgers won his first of four straight marathons.
With the sport of distance running gaining popularity in the late 1970s, participation in the New York Marathon began to see a boost in participation as the race attracted the world's top runners. More than 9,000 people took part in 1978, when Grete Waitz of Norway set a women's marathon world record, finishing in 2:32:30.
Waitz then won eight of the next ten years in New York to become the race's dominant performer of the 1980s; her nine titles remain the most by any individual in the history of the New York City marathon. Other highlights of the decade included Alberto Salazar's three straight wins from 1980 to 1982 and the Italian pair of Orlando Pizzolato and Gianni Poli combining to take three first-place finishes.
When international sanctions against South African athletes were lifted in 1992, Willie Mtolo chose to run the New York City Marathon and finished atop the field. Two years later, Kenya's Tegla Loroupe won the women's race, proving that African women were on par with that continent's men in long-distance events.
International stars have continued to feature at the New York City Marathon, which added an official wheelchair division in 2000. The race has grown to become one of the most competitive wheelchair marathons in the world, with hundreds of wheelchair and handcycle athletes taking part, in addition to a variety of ambulatory athletes with disabilities.
Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia set the course record by winning the 2001 race in 2:07:43. The course record for the women is also held by an African -- Kenya's Margaret Okayo -- who won the 2003 race in 2:22:31. That year, ING became the title sponsor of the race and joined with NYRR to begin funding grassroots running and fitness programs throughout New York City related to the event.
The local community continues to play a part in the marathon, with hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the streets on race day to cheer on participants in what has become the world's largest marathon. Race organizers now receive more than 100,000 applicants annually, with over 35,000 entrants the norm over the past few years. The vast numbers of participants have led to some modifications to create space for runners. In 2002, NYRR created a separate start for the professional women, to highlight one of the more competitive women's fields in race history. In 2008, organizers staged three wave starts to reduce congestion at the start, along the course, and at the finish.
In 2009, the 40th running of the event, Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the race since Salazar in 1982, crossing the finish line in 2:09:15. Ethiopian Derartu Tulu took the women's crown in 2:28:52. The next year, in 2010, Gebre Gebremarium became the first debutant to win the race since 1983 when he crossed the finish line in 2:08:14.
When New York and its surrounding communities were damaged by Hurricane Sandy shortly before the scheduled running of the 2012 marathon, organizers decided to cancel the race for the year. It returned in 2013 with a field of 50,740 runners and Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo winning the men's and women's races, respectively.
The New York City Marathon course covers parts of all five boroughs of the city, beginning on the Staten Island side of the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge before moving through the streets of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx and finishing in Manhattan (in Central Park).
The race begins on Staten Island and the approach to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which is closed to vehicular traffic for the marathon. The thousands of runners are separated into three groups to ease congestion at the start, with portions using either side of the upper level of the bridge or the westbound side of the lower level.
After crossing the bridge, runners head into Brooklyn for more than ten miles and passing through such neighborhoods as Bay Ridge, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg. The Pulaski Bridge marks the halfway point of the race as runners enter Long Island City, Queens. The course covers more than two miles in Queens before reaching another bridge -- the Queensboro Bridge -- that leads into Manhattan.
Racers then proceed north on First Avenue and move into The Bronx after crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge. After about a mile in The Bronx, the course moves back into Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge. The marathon route then heads south through Harlem down Fifth Avenue and into Central Park. Runners head across Central Park South before re-entering Central Park at Columbus Circle, and finishing the 26.2 mile race outside Tavern on the Green.
Men's Open Division
|2008||Marílson Gomes dos Santos||2:08:43|
|2006||Marílson Gomes dos Santos||2:09:58|
|2000||Abdelkader El Mouaziz||2:10:09|
Women's Open Division
Back on track
Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Mutai and 2013 women's champion Priscah Jeptoo will return to the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2 to defend their titles. Boston Marathon men's champ Meb Keflezighi is also entered. Story »