The Legacy of the New York Marathon
- Author Craig Payne
- Published July 6, 2022
- Word count 523
The New York City Marathon is an annual marathon that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. This marathon is recognized as one of the USA’s premier sports events. It is the largest sized globally with 53,508 finishers in the 2019 marathon. The race is so popular, that entry to it for the average runner is usually by a lottery method with most seeking to enter missing out. A certain feature of the marathon will be the nearly 2 million fans that line the course, practically having a celebration with supporting all the competitors and cheer all of them on with activities all along the road. The marathon is organized by the New York Road Runners and it has been held every year since 1970, except for two years. The 2012 race was called off as a consequence of flooding from Hurricane Sandy and in 2020 when it was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race normally takes place on the first Sunday of November. The fiftieth running of the marathon is planned for the 7 November 2021.
The initial NYC marathon manager or organizer was the late Fred Lebow who passed away in 1994. The first NYC marathon in 1970 only had 55 competitors that finished. He then developed the NYC Marathon to gradually end up being the fantastic celebration that it is. The colour, the history, the character and the electricity of the event was narrated in the fascinating 2009 book from the Liz Robbins, a previous sports writer at The New York Times named ‘A Race Like No Other’. The plot was around the 2007 running of the event. Robbins traced the experiences of both professional and also newbie athletes along the 42 kms of the course as it moved through the roads of New York City, from the start line at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge all the way to the finish line which is in Central Park. Her book has sold well and caught it all very well.
It was maybe the 1983 race which captured the interest of so many, particularly a national TV audience since it had been broadcast live. Geoffrey Smith from the UK was in front for most of the way and he was caught and passed at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by Rodney Dixon coming from New Zealand. When there was 6 miles to go, Rod was two and half minutes behind Smith however slowly came back to win by 9 seconds. Immediately after Dixon passed the line to enjoy standing, Smith collapsed on the ground. A photo caught that moment and became a famous image known as the “Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat” photo.
The latest course record for males is 2:05:05, done by Geoffrey Mutai coming from Kenya in 2011 and for females it is 2:22:31 set by Margaret Okayo also from Kenya back in 2003. The back of the pack runners are given 8 hours and 30 minutes in order to complete the distance. The Olympian Grete Waitz won her 1st NYC Marathon in 1978, coming first in a back then race record time in 2:32:30. Grete later went on to get victory in a further eight races, still holding the record for the most number of victories.
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