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The TCS New York City Marathon is one of the six marathons in the World Marathon Majors series. It is held on the first weekend of November every year and attracts thousands of runners from all over the world. The New York City Marathon starts on Staten Island and tours all five boroughs, finishing in Central Park in Manhattan. Due to popularity, runners are accepted via a lottery registration, in which one can apply and get accepted by the New York Road Runners to participate.
Why is the New York City Marathon such a big deal?
With the exception of possibly the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon has the greatest spectators in the country, and it is the largest marathon in the world. The streets are lined with cheering fans. The right turn off the Queensboro Bridge onto First Avenue is historically one of the loudest sections and a portion that runners say gives them an extra boost just over the halfway point. The race has run every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012 when Hurricane Sandy devastation caused a last-minute cancellation. One might argue that popularity shot up even farther after 2012, with close to 100,000 applicants for the 2017 event.
The lottery system creates another layer of appeal for this storied race; it’s difficult to get in, and unlike Boston, faster times do not equal an advantage over other applicants.
In addition, more runners are adding the “WMM” to their running bucket lists, with dreams of completing all six marathons in the series. (The other five include Boston, the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Chicago Marathon the Tokyo Marathon).
Who are the champions of the New York City Marathon?
The great Meb Keflezighi started his marathon career here, and he will end his professional run at the 2017 race. In 2009 he won the men’s race, adding to his claim to fame of being the only American with an Olympic medal and wins in NYC and Boston.
In 1974, Kathrine Switzer won the New York City Marathon, becoming the first NYC resident to do so. In 1978, the late Grete Waitz won for her first time and went on to famously win the New York City Marathon nine(!) times.
In 2005, then-CEO of NYRR Mary Wittenberg was the race director. She was the first female director of a major world marathon event.
In 2008, Paula Radcliffe, the current marathon world record holder for women, won her third straight New York City Marathon.
In addition to Meb’s 2009 win, that year marked the largest field ever for a marathon for the first time, with more than 40,000 runners starting the race. The following year, Shalane Flanagan made her NYC debut, finished just 20 seconds behind the winner for second place.
In 2016, track star Molly Huddle made her much anticipated marathon debut at the New York City Marathon, finishing third behind three-time reigning champion Mary Keitany and Sally Kipyego.
All articles here cover the New York City Marathon past, present and future.