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The New York Marathon

The New York City Marathon is an annual race that passes through the 5 districts of New York City. This marathon is regarded as among the USA’s premier sporting events. It is the largest marathon worldwide with 53,508 finishers in the 2019 event. The marathon can be so popular, that admittance to it for the average runner is usually by a lottery system with most hoping to get in missing out. A particular highlight of the run will be the nearly 2 million fans who line the route, virtually having a party to back up all the competitors and cheer all of them on with activities all along the course. The event is organized by the New York Road Runners and has now been run yearly since 1970, except for 2 yrs. The 2012 race was called off a result of the flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The NYC marathon normally takes place on the very first Sunday in November. The 50th running of the event is scheduled for the 7 November 2021.

The very first NYC marathon event manager or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who passed away in 1994. The first race in 1970 merely had 55 runners who completed it. He then nurtured the NYC Marathon to progressively end up being the awesome event that it is. The color, the story, the character and the charge of the marathon was captured in an fascinating 2009 book from the Liz Robbins, a former sports writer for The New York Times called ‘A Race Like No Other’. Her book was about the 2007 running of the marathon. Liz tracked the experiences of both professional and newbie runners along the 42 kms of the race as it went through the roads of New York City, from the start line near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge towards the finish line which is in Central Park. Her book has sold well and narrated everything very well.

It was most likely the 1983 race that grabbed the eye of so many, particularly a national TV viewers because it had been broadcast live. Geoffrey 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 to go, Rod was two and half minutes behind Smith however crawled back to win by just nine seconds. Right after Rod Dixon passed the line to enjoy standing, Smith collapsed on the ground. A photo captured that moment and became an iconic image named the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” picture.

The current New York course record for males is 2:05:05, set by Geoffrey Mutai coming from Kenya in 2011 and for females it is 2:22:31 set by Margaret Okayo likewise from Kenya in 2003. The back of the pack runners have 8hr and thirty minutes to finish the distance. The Olympian Grete Waitz ran her first New York City Marathon back in 1978, winning in a back then race record time in 2:32:30. Waitz later went on to win another eight events, still holding the title for the most number of victories.