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    New York City Marathon

    New York City Marathon courtesy New York City Road Runners Club The first New York City Marathon was held on September 13, 1970. The course was limited to Central Park and there were only 127 men running. In 1972 ten women entered the race and in 1976 the course was expanded to include the streets of New York.

    The first marathon was won by Gary Muhrcke in 2:31:38. In 2001 Tesfaye Jifar, a runner from Ethiopia finished in the record time of 2:07:43. The woman's record, 2:22:31, was set in 2003 by Margaret Okayo from Kenya.

    The top finishers in the first race were awarded a few bowling trophies adapted to become runner's awards and Fred Lebow scrounged some extra money to buy a couple of watches for the winners.

    Today, the NYC Marathon draws more than 85,000 applicants from around the world, and the total prize money reaches upwards into the $500,000 range.

    In 1970 there were 55 finishers. Today, almost 40,000 entrants cross the finish line.

    The Course

    New York City Marathon runners crossing bridge courtesy NYC Sports CommissionThe New York City Marathon currently begins on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The runners make their way through Brooklyn and Queens and across the Queensborough Bridge into Manhattan and the 16-mile mark.

    The course turns north in Manhattan and runs along First Avenue across the Willis Avenue Bridge for a short stretch in the Bronx. This section of the race is where "the wall" that infamous 20 mile mark, is hit. Runners struggle through the physical exhaustion and leave the Bronx by crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge back into Manhattan, and along Fifth Avenue into Central Park.

    For the last 3 1/2 miles, the course is back in the Park. at 72nd Street.

    Thousands of spectators line up early to cheer on the runners and hand them bottles of water as they race by.

    Hopefully the weather will be cool and the day cloudy so the water will keep the runners from getting too overheated.

    The event in New York City is televised and watched around the world... not bad for a little race that started with a $1000 budget and a few crazy guys racing for bowling trophies ...

    Related Resources:

    New York Road Runners Club
    ING I Run This Town


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