Fast Facts About the New York Marathon
We’ve always been fans of the New York Marathon, probably because it was the first overseas marathon we ever ran. To mark this year’s event we’ve put together some facts about this amazing race. Some you will probably know, others may surprise you.
Fans of the London Marathon owe a particular debt to New York. The late Chris Brasher, founder of the London Marathon, was so inspired by the New York Marathon that he was determined to hold an equivalent in London. Indeed New York’s original race director, Fred Lebow, went on to play a key role in advising Brasher in planning and delivering the first London Marathon
For its first few years the New York marathon took place entirely within Central Park. The current route however, set in 1976 spans all 5 New York boroughs and crosses 4 major bridges. By far the most spectacular is the Verrazzano Bridge at the very start of the race. It is almost 2 miles long and provides some of the marathon’s iconic images. Equally impressive as a participant is the Queensboro Bridge at just after 15 miles, notable for the deafening roar of the crowd as you come off the bridge and onto First Avenue. The Willis Avenue and Madison Avenue bridges complete the set in the closing stages of the race.
After crossing the Queensboro bridge the race enters Manhattan.
Million Runner Marathons
Over a million runners have completed the New York Marathon, the total standing at 1,125,776 after last year’s race. Not bad, considering a modest 55 people finished the inaugural 1970 event. London has very similar stats, the millionth finisher crossing the line in the 2016 race. Shannon Foundy from Hemel Hemstead, running her first marathon, took that honour.
New York Marathon Record Holders
Although an amazing experience, New York is not a fast course. The route has plenty of twists and turns and the various bridge crossings coupled with the rolling route through Central Park make it more hilly than you may think.
The current women’s record is held by Margaret Okayo (2:22:31 set way back in 2003). In 2017 Shalane Flanagan delighted the home crowds as the first American winner of the event since 1977. The men’s record is held by Geoffrey Mutai (2:05:06 from 2011). The first sub 2-hour marathon almost certainly won’t be in New York.
On the subject of records, the New York Marathon claimed, back in the day, to have the world’s longest single urinal. This somewhat primitive example of race day plumbing also offered great views across the Lower Bay towards Brooklyn. Today entrants use more modest, but definitely less memorable, porta-loos.
We would like to wish all participants and their supporters the very best for the 2019 New York City Marathon.