The History of the New York Marathon

The New York City Marathon is an yearly marathon that passes through all the five boroughs of New York City. This race is recognized as on the list of USA’s highly regarded sports events. This event is the biggest one globally with 53,508 finishers in the 2019 event. The race is really popular, that entry to it for the pack runner is generally by a lottery method with most wanting to get accepted not getting accepted. An important highlight of the run is the nearly two million spectators that line the course, practically having a party with supporting all the runners and cheer them on with activities all along the route. The New York City Marathon is organized by the New York Road Runners and has now been held each and every year since 1970, apart from two occasions. The 2012 run was called off a result of the flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was called off as a consequence of COVID-19 crisis. The marathon typically takes place on the initial Sunday of November. The 50th running of the event is planned for the 7 November 2021.

The first NYC marathon director or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who died in 1994. The first race in 1970 only had 55 runners who completed it. Fred then developed the NYC Marathon to gradually become the wonderful occasion that it is. The colour, the story, the character and the charge of the event was caught in an fascinating 2009 book by the Liz Robbins, a former sports writer for The New York Times titled ‘A Race Like No Other’. Her plot was around the 2007 running of the marathon. She traced the accounts of both professional as well as newbie runners over the 26.2 miles of the route as it went through the streets of New York, from the starting line at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge towards the finish line that is in Central Park. It has sold well and narrated it all very well.

It was probably the 1983 event which caught the eye of so many, especially a nationwide TV audience as it had been broadcast live. Geoff Smith from the UK was in front for the majority of the way and he was caught and passed at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by Rodney Dixon coming from New Zealand. With 6 miles left, Rod was two and half minutes behind Smith however slowly came back to get victory by just nine seconds. Right after Rod Dixon crossed the finish line to rejoice standing, Smith collapsed on the line. A photograph captured that moment in time and became a famous image known as the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” photograph.

The present course fastest time in the New York Marathon 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 likewise from Kenya in 2003. The slower joggers get 8 hours and 30 minutes in order to complete the distance. The Olympian Grete Waitz ran her 1st NYC Marathon in 1978, coming first in a then course record time of 2:32:30. Grete went on to get victory in a further 8 races, still holding the record for the most number of wins.