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The New York City Marathon: History and General Information

Updated on February 27, 2011

Where it all began

Just think, about 40 years ago, 127 runners paid a dollar to run in the New York City Marathon! The 2010 race held over 44,000 runners! The 1970 marathon's budget was about $1,000 and the finishers received extra bowling medals leftover from an amateur event.

In 1970, the first official New York City Marathon (NYCM) race was held. Out of the 127 runners, a mere 55 crossed the finish line. Only one of those 127 runners was a female, who finished the race. This 26.2 run was multiple circles around Central Park. The unofficial start to the NYCM was actually in 1959 with the Cherry Tree Marathon. This marathon ran through the streets of the Bronx.

In 1976, the NYCM exploded with popularity after it left its old route of Central Park and hit the streets, covering all five boroughs of New York City (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island). This change was partly because of the stairs at mile 18 when running through Central Park. Too many injuries and lack of 'running' brought on the change.

The 21st Century Marathon

Presently, the NYCM is held on November 6. It holds just under 50,000 runners with a budget totaling ten figures (billion). It is sponsored by ING and New York Road Runners (nyrr), and, through charities and sponsorships, runners are able to raise over 50 million dollars, when all is said and done. It is the most popular marathon in the world in terms of runners (Boston is in terms of viewers), and usually raises the most money. The winner of the marathon receives 600,000 dollars.

The 2010 NYCM had over 3 million street viewers and 320 million televised viewers.

Qualifying for the Marathon

Not every applicant is accepted. In fact, over 100,000 runners attempt to join the New York City Marathon, but only about half are accepted due to space issues. Some ways of qualifying are to have run the NYCM before or another marathon, to run a marathon in the specified times, if you donate enough to charity, and if you are a member of the New York Road Runners. For more information on qualifying, check out the official ING New York City Marathon website.

Check out my Hub about training for a marathon!

Are you ready to run?


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    • the50marathons17 profile image

      Michael 6 years ago from Long Island, New York


    • mike6181 profile image

      mike6181 6 years ago

      Good informationa and great photos! Well done.