The Magic of the New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is an annual race which courses through the five boroughs of New York City (NYC). This marathon is recognized as one of the USA’s leading sports activities. It is the largest sized race in the world with 53,508 finishers the 2019 event. The marathon can be so popular, that admission to it for the avergae runner is usually by a lottery method with most looking to get in not getting in. A unique feature of the run will be the nearly 2 million spectators who line the route, nearly having a celebration with supporting all the athletes and cheer all of them on with festivities all over the coaching. The event is put on by the New York Road Runners and has been run annually since 1970, apart from two occasions. The 2012 race was called off as a consequence of flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. The race usually takes place on the very first Sunday in November. The fiftieth running of the event is scheduled for the 7 November 2021.

The very first race manager or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who passed away in 1994. The initial event in 1970 only had 55 competitors that finished. He then developed the New York City Marathon to progressively become the great event that it is. The colour, the story, the nature and the charge of the celebration was captured in the fascinating 2009 book by the Liz Robbins, a previous sports writer at The New York Times titled ‘A Race Like No Other’. The plot was around the 2007 running of the marathon. Liz followed the stories of both the top as well as beginner runners along the 42 kms of the race as it moved through the roads of New York, from the start line near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge towards the finish line that is in Central Park. It has sold well and captured everything so well.

It was most likely the 1983 NYC marathon which captured the attention of so many, especially a nationwide television audience because it had been broadcast live. Geoff Smith from the UK was in front for most of the way and was caught and passed at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by Rod Dixon coming from New Zealand. With 6 miles left, Dixon was two and half minutes behind Smith but slowly came back to get victory by 9 seconds. Just after Rod Dixon crossed the line to rejoice standing, Smith collapsed on the line. An image captured that moment and became a famous picture called the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” photo.

The latest New York race record for males is 2:05:05, done by Geoffrey Mutai coming from Kenya in 2011 and for women it is 2:22:31 set by Margaret Okayo also from Kenya in 2003. The recreational runners are given 8 hours and thirty minutes to finish the marathon. The Olympic athlete Grete Waitz ran her 1st New York City Marathon in 1978, winning in what was back then race record time of 2:32:30. Grete went on to get victory in a further 8 races, still having the record for the most number of wins.