New York City Marathon

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New York City Marathon
NY Marathon logo.svg
The ING New York City Marathon Logo
DateFirst Sunday in November[1]
LocationNew York City
Event typeRoad
Primary sponsorING
Course recordsMen: 2:05:05 (2011)
Geoffrey Mutai
Women: 2:22:31 (2003)
Margaret Okayo
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New York City Marathon
NY Marathon logo.svg
The ING New York City Marathon Logo
DateFirst Sunday in November[1]
LocationNew York City
Event typeRoad
Primary sponsorING
Course recordsMen: 2:05:05 (2011)
Geoffrey Mutai
Women: 2:22:31 (2003)
Margaret Okayo
Thousands of runners on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The New York City Marathon (branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is a major annual marathon (42.195 km/26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 45,103 finishers in 2010.[2] Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

The race is organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR) and has been run every year since 1970. In recent years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is chosen largely by a lottery system. Runners who are members of NYRR can gain entry by meeting the qualifications for guaranteed entry or via nomination from an official running club.



Paula Radcliffe on her way to victory at 2007 NYC Marathon.

Ted Corbitt helped plan the deceptively hilly course of the New York City Marathon.[3] The initial course of 1970 consisted in repeated racing around Central Park.[4] Nowadays the course covers all five boroughs of New York City. It begins on Staten Island near the approach to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The bridge, which normally carries only vehicular traffic, is closed for the event. Runners use both sides of the upper level of the bridge and the westbound side of the lower level. In the opening minutes of the race, the bridge is filled with runners, creating a dramatic spectacle that is closely associated with the event.

After descending the bridge, the course winds through Brooklyn for approximately the next eleven miles (18 km). Runners pass through a variety of neighborhoods, including: Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. At 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi), runners cross the Pulaski Bridge, marking the halfway point of the race and the entrance into Long Island City, Queens. After about two and a half miles in Queens, runners cross the East River on the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. It is at this point in the race when many runners begin to tire, as the climb up the bridge is considered one of the most difficult points in the marathon.

Reaching Manhattan after about 16 miles (26 km), the race proceeds north on First Avenue, then crosses briefly into The Bronx via the Willis Avenue Bridge for a mile before returning to Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge. It then proceeds south through Harlem down Fifth Avenue and into Central Park. At the southern end of the park, the race proceeds across Central Park South, where thousands of spectators cheer runners on during the last mile. At Columbus Circle, the race re-enters the park and finishes outside Tavern on the Green. The time limit for this course is 8½ hours from the 10:10 a.m. start.

In 2008, the race initiated a corral system. Women were given a head start and the balance of the runners began in three staggered starts. The official times are those recorded by a computer chip worn on the shoe, which calculates when a runner crosses the start and when she crosses the finish, known as "net", as opposed to "gun", time. Runners also pass timing mats at 5 km intervals along the course and email notifications can be received by people following runners during the race to see how the runners are doing. In addition, while the distance is the same, there are different courses taken through Bay Ridge and up Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn until the course reaches Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn at Mile 8.

Although the marathon publicity material uses miles, the timing mats are at 5 km intervals to accommodate the publishing[5] of splits and also enabling potential world records for 20 km, 30 km and other sub-marathon distances to be recorded.


The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, organized by New York Road Runners Club presidents Fred Lebow and Vincent Chiappetta,[6] with 127 competitors running several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park. Only about one-hundred spectators watched Gary Muhrcke win the race in 2:31:38. In fact, a total of only 55 runners crossed the finish line.[7] Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger. In order to accommodate the growing number of participants, co-founder Fred Lebow redrew the course in 1976 to incorporate all five boroughs of New York City. The marathon grew in popularity two years later when Norwegian Grete Waitz broke the women's world record, finishing in 2:32:30. She went on to win the race an unprecedented nine times.[7] An official wheelchair and handcycle division was introduced in 2000, and starting in 2002, the elite women are given a 35 minute headstart before the elite men and rest of the field. Thirty-nine years after it was started in 1970, the New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million cheering spectators line the course from all different neighborhoods of New York. The marathon is broadcast live in the New York area on WNBC, on Universal Sports for the entire country, and online.[8]


In a normally trivial mistake, Cuban American Rosie Ruiz was accidentally given a finish time of 2:56:29. This qualified her for the 1980 Boston Marathon, where she crossed the finish line with a record time of 2:31:56. It was quickly determined that she had not run the entire course in either race, igniting the best-known scandal in the history of modern distance running. New York Marathon chief Fred Lebow rescinded Ruiz's time after determining she had not finished the 1979 race, and officials in Boston quickly followed suit.[9]


Alberto Salazar's 2:08:13 was initially considered to be a world's best in the marathon, but the mark was later rescinded by The Athletics Congress, now known as USA Track & Field, when the course was measured to be short by approximately 150 meters.[10] Salazar remarked in 1985 that he would continue to believe that he ran a full marathon, since the lack of crowd control forced him to run wide during his turns.[11] He has also suggested that a change in how courses were measured after the 1981 race attributed to the discrepancy in the course length.[10][12]


The national television audience was treated to a thrilling race as England's Geoff Smith held a lead through the last half of the race. He was caught at the 26 mile mark in Central Park by 1972 Olympic 1500 metres bronze medalist Rod Dixon from New Zealand, who won by just 9 seconds. Dixon had been as far as 2 and a half minutes behind with 10 km to go, but steadily loomed over Smith's shoulder. The result was also one of the great "Thrill of Victory/Agony of Defeat" photos of all time as Dixon stood at the finish line celebrating with a collapsed and defeated Smith on the ground behind him.[13] Video highlights


During the 1994 event, Germán Silva recovered from a wrong turn seven-tenths of a mile before the finish that put him temporarily in second place 40 yards behind Benjamín Paredes. He ran a 5:15 final mile, including the detour, to beat Paredes and win the event by two seconds with a time of 2:11:21. The incident earned him the nickname "Wrong Way Silva"[14]


A record 34,729 people participated in the race. The top male finisher was Martin Lel of Kenya in a time of 2:10:30. The top female finisher was Margaret Okayo of Kenya in time of 2:22:31, breaking her previous course record of 2:24:21 set in 2001. In recent years, runners from Kenya have dominated the event. The top Americans were Matt Downin (2:18:48) and Sylvia Mosqueda (2:33:10), both from California. Rapper P.Diddy also ran for charity and raised $2,000,000 for the New York City Education system.


The top female finisher was Britain's Paula Radcliffe in a time of 2:23:10, beating Kenya's Susan Chepkemei by 4 seconds, the closest finish in the history of this race. The top male was Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa with a time of 2:09:28. The top Americans were Meb Keflezighi (2nd, 2:18:48) from California and Jenny Crain (15th, 2:41:06), from Wisconsin.[15]


In the closest finish in New York City Marathon history, Paul Tergat of Kenya barely outsprinted Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa in the final meters of the race for a time of 2:09:30, beating Ramaala by one second. In the women's race, Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won in a time of 2:24:41. Tops amongst the Americans were Meb Keflezighi of California (2:09:56) and Jen Rhines of California (2:37:07). South African Ernst Van Dyk took the wheelchair race in 1:31:11.

The 2005 event was administered by new NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg. It is notable that she was the first woman director of an international Major marathon.[16]


The top male finisher was Marílson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil in a time of 2:09:58, while Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia won the female marathon for the second consecutive time in a time of 2:25:05. Gomes dos Santos becomes the first South American ever to win the race.[17] Stephen Kiogora of Kenya placed second, and Paul Tergat, the 2005 defending champion and former marathon world record holder, placed third.

Seven-time Tour de France winner and former triathlete Lance Armstrong ran in the 2006 race, finishing 868th with a time of 2:59:36.[18] He also ran the same year in the British 10K. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also completed the race in 2006, finishing in 5:33:43, and wearing bib #110, signifying the 110 pounds lost during his weight loss campaign.[19]

Amanda McGrory won the female wheelchair race in the time of 1:54:17, the male wheelchair division was won by Kurt Fearnley in a time of 1:29:22.


Runners before the race at Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the 2007 marathon.
Professional wheelers heading for the starting line in 2007.

The 2007 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 4. It was the final race of the 2006–2007 World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin marathons.

However, there were very few elite American marathoners participating in 2007 because they competed the day before at the 2008 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials, which was held in conjunction with the New York City Marathon on some of the same course, three loops of which Trials were in Central Park.

Martin Lel from Kenya won the men's race in a time of 2:09:04, completing an impressive double of the 2007 London and New York Marathons.

The women's winner was the world Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe from Great Britain in a time of 2:23:09, one second faster than her 2004 win.


The 2008 New York City Marathon was held on Sunday, November 2. A field of 37,899 runners participated. The men's winner was Marílson Gomes dos Santos in 2:08:43. Paula Radcliffe won her third NYC marathon in 2:23:56.

The 2008 marathon events were marred by the deaths of three marathon participants:


The 2009 New York City Marathon was held Sunday November 1, 2009. Meb Keflezighi of the United States won the men's race (the first American since Alberto Salazar in 1982) with a time of 2:09:15 while Ethiopian Derartu Tulu took the women's crown in 2:28:52, the first Ethiopian woman to do so. This was the first marathon in history with more than 40,000 official finishers, as 43,660 crossed the finish, 5,053 more than the previous best at the 2008 edition of this race[22][23]


The 2010 New York City Marathon was held on November 7. Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia, in his first ever marathon, won the race after breaking ahead of his last rival, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, in the 25th mile to finish alone with a time of 2:08:14. The race featured 37-year-old world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, who ran with a bad knee and dropped out of the race at the 16th mile. Afterwards, he announced his retirement,[24] but later reversed this decision. Edna Kiplagat won the women's title with a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes, 20 seconds, ahead of American Shalane Flanagan.

The total numbers of officials finishers, 44,829 (28,757 men and 16,072 women) was a new world record for a marathon race.



Lead women in Brooklyn

The 2011 Marathon was held on November 6. The men's event was won by Kenyan athlete Geoffrey Mutai in a time of 2:05:06, breaking the ten-year-old course record. Second place runner, Emmanuel Mutai, also of Kenya, and third place runner, Tsegaye Kebede, of Ethiopia also beat the previous record for the event, with times of 2:06:28 and 2:07:14, respectively.[26] Geoffrey Mutai, who won the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, became the first man to win both races in course record time in the same year. Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia won the women's race in a time of 2:23:15, marking her first major marathon victory.[27] Coming second, 4 seconds behind the leader originally from Ethiopia, but now living in the The Bronx, New York, was Bizunesh Deba with a time of 2:23:19.[28]

There were a world record 46,795 official finishers: 29,867 men and 16,928 women.

Edison Peña, famous for keeping up his running routine during the 69 days he was trapped in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, ran the race.[29] Former NHL player, Mark Messier, finished with a time just over 4 hours at age 50. Retired Dutch soccer player, Edwin van der Sar, ran in 4:19 and said it was the toughest thing he had ever done.[30] Former CART champion Alex Zanardi won the handcycle class.[31]


The next event will be held on November 4, 2012.[32]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "ING New York City Marathon 2010, Finisher Demographics, November 7, 2010". New York Road Runners. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  3. ^ Corbitt, Ted (2003). "Ted Corbitt: A Willingness to Suffer". In Kislevitz, Gail Waesche. The Spirit of the Marathon: What to Expect in Your First Marathon and How to Run Them the Rest of Your Life. Halcottsville, New York: Breakaway Books. p. 234. ISBN 1-891369-36-9, 9781891369360. 
  4. ^ Marius Bakken. "New York City Marathon". Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Results". The ING New York City Marathon. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  6. ^ "New York City Marathon Explained accessdate=5/13/11". 
  7. ^ a b "History of the ING New York City Marathon", New York City Marathon website, retrieved November 2, 2007.
  8. ^ "Tune-In" Anywhere
  9. ^ "Rosie Ruiz Pulls The Ultimate Prank", The Boston Globe, April 22, 1980.
  10. ^ a b "Salazar, Recovering From Injuries, Is on the Road Again, Ready to Race". The Los Angeles Times. June 22, 1986. 
  11. ^ Withers, Bud (Thursday, January 31, 1985). "The Measure". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon): p. 1B. 
  12. ^ Amacher, Walt (2000). "Alberto Salazar: The Marathon Legend Talks About His Life". Retrieved July 31, 2009. "For instance, my disputed world record, even with the change in measuring systems, I was unlucky to be holding a record when they decided to change the measuring system. All of a sudden it comes out a little short." 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Paul Tergat Wins Closest Men's Race Ever
  15. ^ "ING New York City Marathon Results". 
  16. ^ Robbins, Liz (November 5, 2005). "New Race Director Infuses Marathon With Energy and Ideas". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  17. ^ "Gomes dos Santos, Prokopcuka Win New York City Marathon Titles ", Bloomberg, November 5, 2006.
  18. ^ "ING New York City Marathon 2006 Results", New York City Marathon website, retrieved November 2, 2007.
  19. ^ "Huckabee Finishes New York Marathon Despite Sore Knee", The Associated Press, November 6, 2006.
  20. ^ a b Race Officials Confirm That 2 Died After Marathon - November 3, 2008.
  21. ^ NYC Marathon claims third victim, Newsday, 15-11-08
  22. ^ Patrick, Dick (November 1, 2009). "Keflezighi breaks 27-year NYC Marathon drought for USA". USA Today. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  23. ^ Gagne, Matt (November 2, 2009). "Derartu Tulu takes home New York City Marathon as Paula Radcliffe falters in women's race". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  24. ^ Robbins, Liz (November 7, 2010). "Gebre Gebremariam Wins New York in Marathon Debut". The New York Times. 
  25. ^ Gebre Gebremariam, Edna Kiplagat win NYC Marathon titles - ESPN New York
  26. ^ "Top Male Finishers". The ING New York City Marathon. November 6, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  27. ^ Robbins, Liz (November 6, 2011). "Geoffrey Mutai Wins New York Marathon With Course RecordGeoffrey Mutai Wins New York Marathon With Course Record". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  28. ^ Top Female finishers. NYC Marathon. Retrieved on 2011-11-09.
  29. ^ "Rescued Chilean miner drops out of NY marathon". Agence France-Presse. November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  30. ^ "'Mijn marathon-medialle geef ik vaak kusjes'". Agence Spits Nieuws. January 9, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Alex Zanardi wins New York Marathon's handcycle class". AutoWeek. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  32. ^ "Race-Week Schedule". New York City Marathon. Retrieved 01-07-2012. 

External links