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New York City (NYC)
The first NYC Marathon took place in 1970. It was a modest affair that looped a few times around the Central Park. It attracted 127 participants who paid a $1 entry fee. Only 55 of them crossed the finish line.
Six years later the course of the Marathon was redrawn to include all five boroughs - Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan, thanks to the vision of Fred Lebow, one of the Marathon co-founders.
Today, the NYC Marathon is the biggest event in the world of its kind. It is a unique combination of athletic and community spirits as two million New Yorkers line up the city streets to cheer on and support the runners. The Marathon’s ever growing popularity and international media attention draws some of the world’s top runners. The event not just tests the limits of human endurance. As its course runs through all five boroughs of NYC, the participants get to see its spectacular skyline views, cultural diversity of its neighborhoods and some of the famous city bridges.
Roughly 40 percent of runners get selected each year from over 100,000 applicants. The lucky runners are selected in random lottery drawings. However, runners can still have a guaranteed entry if they meet certain criteria – have completed qualifying races, chose to run for charity or with an International Travel Partner, or have been denied an entry for the prior three years.
In 2000, an official wheelchair division was added to the Marathon. It has developed into one of the most competitive marathons in the world to attract wheelchair, handcycle and a wide variety of ambulatory athletes with disabilities.
The NYC Marathon is also a part of the World Marathon Majors series. The World Marathon Majors consist, besides New York, of the city marathons in Boston, Chicago, Berlin and London, and of the World Championships and Olympic Games marathons.
In 2012, the NYC Marathon was cancelled by Mayor Bloomberg because of the devastation to the region from Hurricane Sandy.
In 2013, the race was back in action and included a record number of starters: over 50,700.