It is the first Sunday in November, and as is tradition-when at least some cause of force majeure does not prevent it-the New York City Marathon is set to be run. The most famous marathon in the world is also the most attended, thanks to its more than 50,000 runners. Incredible numbers that tell only part of the story, because there are many more, as well as many incredible oddities. Here is his story, in numbers ;)
Let’s start from the beginning
The first New York City Marathon was held on September 13, 1970 around Central Park. The entry fee was $1 and the total budget was $1,000. Of the 127 runners registered, 55 finished it.
The record for speed…and also the record for slowness
The still unbeaten record remains Geoffrey Mutai’s 2011 record of 2h05:06, while Margaret Okayo’s women’s record, set in 2003, is 2h22:31.
By the time the fastest crosses the finish line, the slowest is running his 5th km: the slowest of them all (to whom all our respect is due for endurance and persistence) is estimated to take about 10 hours. The average time last year was 4:39:02.
Waiting for the start can be very stressful. That is why since 2016 there has been a very special service (which had been discontinued in the last edition): that of pet therapy. That’s right: volunteers from New York Therapy Animals make their adorable four-legged friends available to runners for relaxing cuddle sessions.
New moms also run
This year, for the first time and also thanks to the nonprofit organization &Mother, new moms will be able to be assisted throughout the entire race.
Let’s talk a little bit about money? All right then. Monetary prizes for the top 10 results range from the first prize of $100,000 to the 10th prize of $2,000.
This year, for the first time, non-binary runners are expected to participate, and part of the prize money is earmarked for this category (the first prize is $5,000). There are also different categories and awards for older age groups and disabled people.
The whole world runs in New York
New York’s is a truly international marathon. Although nearly half of its competitors come from the U.S., the other half is well manned by the rest of the world: 7 percent are French, 5.4 percent German, 5.9 percent British, and 1.4 percent Japanese. What about Italy? Italy is very strong: 6.7 percent. Italy has always loved this marathon and has won more than a few. Starting with the magical 84-86 three-year period that began with the one-two punch of the legendary Orlando Pizzolato (’84 and ’85), and with Gianni Poli’s victory in 1986. After 10 years, there is another Italian on the podium: it’s 1996 and Giacomo Leone from Puglia wins back the Big Apple. And 1998 was the year of the first Italian queen of New York: Roman Fianca Fiacconi stopped the clock at 2h 25′ and 17″.
The nations that have won the most
The U.S. has won it the most times (36 wins), but Kenya comes in second place with 26 wins, third Norway with 10 and Italy is fourth with 8 podiums, including 5 first places. The higher number of U.S. victories, without taking anything away from merit, is also due to the fact that for many editions there were no Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes participating, who are known to be the strongest in the world. In fact, the first Kenyan to win it was Ibrahim Hussein, in 1987.
And who won the most individually
You can win a NY Marathon (it is very rare, but you can!) but you can also win it multiple times. As seen before, our own Orlando Pizzolato has won it twice but there are also those who have been able to do more, much more: Norway’s Grete Waitz has won it nine times and America’s Bill Rogers four.
- The NY Marathon is 26.2 miles long. Which is still 42.195 m but 26.2 is less impressive, right?
- Top speeds are reached in Brooklyn
- 300: the intersections that runners have to cross
- 70,320 are the half-liter briks of Flow Alkaline Spring Water available to runners
- 50,000 are the Dunkin’ Coffees served along the race
- 6,000 Dunkin’ Hot Tea/Hot Chocolate available to runners
- 33,000+ bagels to fed runners
- 879 is the shoe size of the Statue of Liberty which in European measurements means 4199!
One last oddity
If you participate in the NYC Marathon and for whatever reason you drop out, do not ever think to cross the finish line until a certain time. If you need to get to the bag retrieval area, you need to wait between 6 and 7 p.m. on Sunday. The penalty is disqualification and exclusion from future editions of the marathon.