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New York City Marathon facts for kids

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New York marathon Verrazano bridge
Marathon runners on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The New York City Marathon, currently branded as the TCS New York City Marathon is a yearly marathon that goes through all five boroughs of New York City. The distance of the race is 26.219 miles. It starts at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and ends at Columbus Circle. It takes place on the first Sunday of November. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 53,627 finishers in 2019 and 98,247 applicants for the 2017 race. 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, and 2020, when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.


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

The first New York City Marathon was held 54 years ago on September 13, 1970, organized by Fred Lebow and the then president of New York Road Runners, Vincent Chiappetta, 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. Only 55 runners crossed the finish line.

Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger. 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. 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.

The New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million spectators line the course. Before 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. Since 2022, the marathon has also been aired in Spanish via ESPN Deportes. The Marathon can also be watched online.

Five borough course

Map of the ING New York City Marathon 2013
Course of the New York City Marathon 2013; this is similar to the courses used in previous years.

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 typically carries only vehicular traffic and is closed for the event. Runners use both sides of the bridge's upper level 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 13.109 miles (21.097 km), runners cross the Pulaski Bridge, marking the halfway point of the race and the entrance into Long Island City in Queens. After about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in Queens, runners cross the East River via the lower level of the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge into Manhattan. At this point in the race, many runners begin to tire, as climbing the bridge is considered one of the most challenging 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. The race is only in The Bronx for one mile before returning to Manhattan as the course follows East 138th St. before crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge. It then proceeds south through Harlem down Fifth Avenue and into Central Park at East 90th St. At the southern end of the park, the race proceeds west along 59th St./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 8+12 hours from the 10:10 a.m. start.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Maratón de Nueva York para niños

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