The New York City Marathon is the largest of all marathons in the world. And of course, this legendary race is an indispensable part of the World Marathon Majors series.
Apart from the New York Marathon, the World Marathon Majors (WMM) consists of city marathons in Chicago, Boston, Berlin and London, and of the World Championships and Olympic Games marathons. Elite runners in these races earn points based on their placing, and when winners of the WMM are found, the male and female winner split a prize of one million dollars between them. The first time this happened was after the NYC Marathon 2007, which concluded the very first WMM competition. The happy winners were Robert K. Cheruiyot (Kenya) and Gete Wami (Ethiopia). Cheruiyot ran the other participating races so well that he didn't even have to run New York in order to nail the WMM prize.
The first New York Marathon in 1970, looped through Central Park several times, and out of 127 entrants, 55 crossed the finish line. Since then, the race has grown massively, and with its unique course and energetic atmosphere, it attracts more than 100,000 applicants every year. Most entrants are selected in a lottery draw. However, runners are guaranteed entry if they meet certain qualifying times, have been denied access in the last three years or register through a charity. In 2010, 45,103 runners finished the race.
ING New York City Marathon is renowned for its enthusiastic and extremely large crowds of spectators. Despite the enormity of the city, the first Sunday of November is always ‘Marathon Sunday’, and two million New Yorkers take to the streets to cheer and support the runners. Crowds line the whole course from the start on Staten Island, over Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and into Brooklyn and Queens. Then the route goes over Queensboro Bridge for a roundtrip on Manhattan and a short stop in the Bronx before reaching the finish outside the famous restaurant Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Along the way, runners experience the cultural diversity of New York’s neighbourhoods and run across five New York bridges.
The marathon course makes a great sightseeing tour and runs through parts of the city that many tourists would otherwise not see. The bridges on the route provide superb views but also add some challenging inclines to the course. The Verrazano marks the highest point with just over 80m/250ft, but this bridge is right at the beginning, when energy is still intact and the field is probably too crowded to pick up speed anyway. Queensboro Bridge after 24km is another steep climb and the final hilly 4-5km to the finish line in Central Park can be quite a challenge.
The next New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday 2 November 2014. Read more about registration, guaranteed entry and other necessities here.
ING New York City Marathon Course
In order to familiarise yourself with the ING New York City Marathon course and plan your victory over the five bridges, please refer to the official website by following the link above.