Although organizers of the 50th edition of one of the oldest major marathons in the world limited the number of participants to only 33,000, the 26.2-mile run has caught the imagination of New Yorkers in a big (apple) way. The number represents a 40% downsizing, but in terms of enthusiasm and anticipation, the numbers are skyrocketing.
Since 1970 this special event has been held every first Sunday in November, with the exception of last year’s 2020 race, which was canceled due to the raging covid-19 pandemic. To keep runners and organizers safe participants must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test for covid within 48 hours of the race. The social distancing of observers will be encouraged and all entertainment venues will also be smaller than in previous years.
The race begins in Staten Island at the entrance to the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge, in five separate waves to avoid crowding on the bus or ferry that will deliver the runners to the starting place. The runners will jog across the bridge and will pass through all five boroughs until they arrive at the finish line near West 67th Street west of Central Park.
Not only amateurs participate in the NYC marathon. A few Olympic medalists are expected to compete, with a $100,000 prize awaiting each of the winners of the men’s and women’s divisions.
Participants include some famous names not necessarily from the world of long-distance running. Competing for the seventh time is New York Giants running back Tiki Barber. Representing the world of music will be two members of the British rock band Mumford & Sons, who are participating for the first time. Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara will be doing double duty, first performing the national anthem, and then joining the runners as a competitor. Reality TV celebrities from “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” Matt James, Tyler Cameron, Tayshia Adams, and Zac Clark are also in the running.