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The New York City Marathon (currently branded TCS New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world,[3][4] with 52,812 finishers in 2018[5] and 98,247 applicants for the 2017 race.[3] Along with the Boston Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

New York City Marathon
DateFirst Sunday in November[1]
LocationNew York City, NY, U.S.
Event typeRoad
26.219 miles (42.195 km)
Primary sponsorTCS[2]
Established1970, 49 years ago
Course records2:05:05, Geoffrey Mutai (2011)
2:22:31 Margaret Okayo (2003)
2019 New York City Marathon
New York City is located in the United States
New York City
New York City
Location in the United States
New York City is located in New York
New York City
New York City
Location in state of New York

The race is organized by New York Road Runners and has been run every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012, when it was cancelled due to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy. In past years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. In 2014, Tata Consultancy Services, a multinational information technology (IT) service, consulting, and business solutions company headquartered in India, began an eight-year term as the title sponsor. The race 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. Guaranteed entry to the marathon can be gained by satisfying the requirements of the 9+1 program or the 9+$1K program (where NYRR members run in nine sponsored races and either volunteer at another event or donate $1,000 to support NYRR programs for young athletes), having completed 15 or more previous NYC Marathons, or meeting time qualification standards. In addition, runners can gain an entry by joining a team to raise funds for one of a number of charities.



Course of the New York City Marathon 2013; this is similar to the courses used in previous years.
Thousands of runners on Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

The race was founded by Fred Lebow, who retired this year. Ted Corbitt helped plan the course of the New York City Marathon.[6] The initial course of 1970 consisted of repeated racing around Central Park.[7] From 1976, the course covers all five boroughs of New York City. It begins on Staten Island, in Fort Wadsworth, near the approach to the Verrazzano-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, mostly along Fourth Avenue and Bedford Avenue, for approximately the next 11 miles (18 km). Runners pass through a variety of neighborhoods, including: Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.

At 13.1 miles (21.1 km), runners cross the Pulaski Bridge, marking the halfway point of the race and the entrance into Long Island City, Queens. After about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in Queens, runners cross the East River via the Queensboro (59th Street) 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 into The Bronx via the Willis Avenue Bridge for one 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 along 59th Street/Central Park South, where thousands of spectators cheer runners on during the last mile. At Columbus Circle, the race reenters the park and finishes beside 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. Professional women runners were given a separate, earlier start and the balance of the runners began in three staggered starts. The official times are those recorded by a computer chip attached to the back of the runner's bib number, which calculates when a runner crosses the start and when she crosses the finish, known as "net time" (as opposed to "gun time"). Runners also pass timing mats at 5 km intervals along the course, and e-mail notifications can be received by people following runners during the race to track their progress. Whereas 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[8] of splits and also enabling potential world records for 20 km, 30 km and other sub-marathon distances to be recorded.


Paula Radcliffe, the victor of the women's division in the 2007 NYC Marathon.

The first New York City Marathon was held 49 years ago on September 13, 1970,[9] organized by New York Road Runners presidents; Fred Lebow and Vincent Chiappetta,[10] with 127 competitors running several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park. Only about 100 spectators watched Gary Muhrcke win the race in 2:31:38. In fact, a total of only 55 runners crossed the finish line.[11]

Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger.[12] To celebrate the U.S. bicentennial in 1976, city auditor George Spitz proposed that the race traverse all five boroughs. With the support of Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, the men convinced Mayor Beame and, eventually, race director Fred Lebow. The race was a huge success, and what was intended as a one-time celebration, became the annual course.

Dick Traum became the first person to complete a marathon with a prosthetic leg when he finished the 1976 New York City Marathon. 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.[11] An official wheelchair and handcycle division was introduced in 2000, and starting in 2002, the elite women are given a 35-minute head start before the elite men and rest of the field.

During the 1970s, the race was run in September. In the 1980s, race day was moved from September to late October. In the 1990s, the race day was moved to November. The earliest race day was the marathon's first; the latest date in the season of the marathon was November 14, 1993. The hottest year for the race was 1979, when the race day of October 21 reached 80°F (27°C). The coldest race was in 1995, when the race day of November 12 only reached 43°F (6°C), with a strong wind chill.[9]

The New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million spectators line the course. Prior to 2013, the marathon was broadcast live in the New York area on WNBC, and on Universal Sports for the entire country, However, in 2013, WABC-TV and ESPN announced they would begin broadcasting the New York City Marathon.[13] The Marathon can also be watched online.[14]

Past MarathonsEdit


On September 29, 1974, Norbert Sander and Kathrine Switzer became the only New York City residents to win the New York City Marathon.


Grete Waitz, the Norwegian long distance runner, sets a new course record for women at 2:32:30 and wins her first New York Marathon. Waitz goes on to win 9 New York Marathons, the most course wins in any category to date. She is widely acknowledged for having made a significant contribution to promote marathon and long-distance running for women. The New York Road Runners club annually sponsors "Grete's Great Gallop," a 10 kilometer race around the Central Park loop, in her honor.


Grete Waitz again won the women's race with a finish time of 2:27:33, becoming the first woman ever to break 2:30. In a normally trivial mistake, 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.[15]


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 metres (160 yd).[16] 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.[17] He has also suggested that a change in how courses were measured after the 1981 race attributed to the discrepancy in the course length.[16][18]


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.[19] Video highlights on YouTube


Grete Waitz completed her last New York Marathon with her friend and race co-founder, Fred Lebow, in celebration of Lebow's 60th birthday. Lebow had been diagnosed with brain cancer and died two years later in 1994. They both completed the race with a time of 5:32:35. Waitz would herself succumb to cancer in 2011 after what she called the toughest fight of her life.


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"[20]


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.[21] 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 up to that time. 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.[22]


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.[23]


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.[24] Stephen Kiogora of Kenya placed second, and Paul Tergat, the 2005 defending champion and former marathon world record holder, placed third.

Former American professional road racing cyclist and triathlete Lance Armstrong ran in the 2006 race, finishing 868th with a time of 2:59:36.[25] 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.[26]

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 Verrazzano-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:

  • Carlos Jose Gomes, 58, of Brazil fell unconscious shortly after completing the race in 4:12:15. An autopsy revealed that he had a pre-existing heart condition and died of a heart attack.[27]
  • Joseph Marotta, 66, of Staten Island, N.Y. succumbed to a heart attack hours after he completed his fourth New York City Marathon. He walked the course in 9:16:46.[27]
  • Fred Costa, 41, from Cincinnati, OH collapsed at the marathon and died on November 15 of a heart attack.[28]


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.[29][30]


Women lead pack at mile 17 in Manhattan

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 away from his last rival, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, in the 25th mile to finish in 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,[31] 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 number of official finishers, 44,829 (28,757 men and 16,072 women) was a new world record for a marathon race.[32]


Lead women in Brooklyn

The 2011 Marathon was held on November 6. The men's event was won by Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya in a time of 2:05:05, breaking the 10-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.[33] 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, her first major marathon victory.[34] Coming second, 4 seconds behind the leader originally from Ethiopia, but now living in the Bronx, was Bizunesh Deba with a time of 2:23:19.[35]

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

Edison Peña, famous for maintaining his running routine during the 69 days he was trapped in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, ran the race.[36] 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.[37] Former CART champion Alex Zanardi won the handcycle class.[38]


The 2012 marathon was scheduled for November 4, 2012.[39] Organizers planned to hold the event despite the Effects of Hurricane Sandy in New York the week before.[40]

On November 2, 2012, the marathon was cancelled; Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained that: "While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division... We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."[41][42] Three days earlier, Bloomberg said the marathon would take place. That declaration started a debate on whether to hold the race with thousands of residents still without electricity, public transportation, and other basic needs. Proponents for going ahead said that the event would give an economic and morale boost to the city, while opponents said the resources (such as food, water, and police) were better used elsewhere.[43][44]

Some of the entrants ended up helping with cleanup efforts. [45] Others chose to congregate and run an informal "Shadow Marathon" in Central Park.[46] Controversy over the cancellation of the Marathon, the timing of the announcement and the repercussions of the decision, including criticism of New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg, continued well after the 2012 race was meant to have taken place.[47][48] As a resolution, all who were registered to run the 2012 race were offered three options: a refund; guaranteed, non-complimentary entry to the New York City Marathon in 2013, 2014, or 2015; or guaranteed, non-complimentary entry to the NYC Half 2013.[49][50]


Entering the Queensboro Bridge

The 2013 New York City Marathon was run November 3, 2013. The race proved to be the clincher for the 2013 World Marathon Majors titles for both men and women. Duplicating their London Marathon wins from April 2013, Tsegaye Kebede and Priscah Jeptoo each won $500,000 for their season-wide efforts. After the 2012 cancellation, Geoffrey Mutai returned to become the first repeat winner in 15 years (after John Kagwe in 1997-1998). Under windy conditions, his 2:08:24 was more than 3 minutes slower than in 2011. Mutai broke away around mile 22 to win by almost a minute over Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, who had finished third two years earlier. Jeptoo spotted Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian runner who has lived in the Bronx since 2009, three and a half minutes at the half-marathon mark, but came back to pass her in the 24th mile.[51]


Lead women in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

The 2014 New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 2, 2014. It was announced on October 2, 2013, that the marathon's main sponsor would be Tata Consultancy Services starting in 2014. It is an eight-year deal, and the race was renamed the TCS New York City Marathon.[2] Wind was unusually high, blowing from the north on a mostly northbound course. Winners were Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany.[52]


The 2015 New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 1, 2015. Winners were Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany.[53]


The 2016 New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 6. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie won the men's competition with a time of 2:07:51. The female race winner was Mary Keitany from Kenya in 2:24:26. Male wheelchair race winner was Marcel Hug with a time of 1:35:49, and Female wheelchair race winner was Tatyana McFadden with a time of 1:47:43.[54]

In 2016, Lauren Lubin ran as the first openly genderqueer/non-binary athlete in the New York City Marathon.[55]


Union Street, Brooklyn

The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 5. Geoffrey Kamworor, a native of Kenya, won the men's competition with a time of 2:10:53, 3 seconds ahead of 2nd-place finisher Wilson Kipsang. In 3rd place was Lelisa Desisa with a time of 2:11:32.[56]

On the women's side, the winner was Shalane Flanagan, a native of Marblehead, Massachusetts. She was the first American to win since 1977. Her time was 2:26:53. Mary Keitany placed 2nd with 2:27:54, and Mamitu Daska finished 3rd with a time of 2:28:08.[57]


The 2018 TCS New York City Marathon was run on Sunday, November 4. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won his first New York City Marathon after finishing third in 2017, third in 2015 and second in 2014, followed by Shura Kitata and defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor. Their times of 2:05:59, 2:06:01 and 2:06:26 were the second, third and fourth fastest times in race history.

Mary Keitany was in a pack of women that passed halfway in 1:15:50 but then she ran the second 13.1 miles in 1:06:58, the fastest time ever for any second half of a marathon, to capture her fourth NYC crown in 2:22:48, the second fastest time ever there. London winner, Vivian Cheruiyot was second in 2:26:02 and American Shalane Flanagan placed third in 2:26:22, 31 seconds faster than her winning time the previous year.

Once again there were a world record number of finishers, with 52,812 (30,669 men/22,143 women) runners completing the race.


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External linksEdit