In honor of Sunday's New York City Marathon, here are five great quotes about running marathons:
1. "Because I'm good at it."
-- Frank Shorter, asked why he likes running marathons
2. "I finished 837 in a field of 837, with a medical van and a motorcycle cop on my tail all the way. It made me feel like George Bush."
-- Rick Majerus, college basketball coach, on running in his first marathon
3. "I hope I haven't missed dinner. I'm starved."
-- Charles Hardy, last-place finisher in the 1981 Boston Marathon in a time of 6 hours and 38 minutes
4. "Every jogger can't dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon."
-- Fred Lebow, co-founder of the NYC Marathon
5. "If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."
-- Rob de Castella, former marathon world champion
Al Roker had gastic bypass surgery in 2002 that helped him go from morbidly obese to only slightly overweight, so he’s definitely not the same old jolly hotdog-eating fat guy we used to love. Still, Roker running a marathon? Sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. But he did. In 2010, Al Roker ran and finished the New York City Marathon…in 7:09:00. Ouch.
In 2000, NYRR added an official wheelchair division to the marathon. Now the ING New York City Marathon has grown to become one of the most competitive wheelchair marathons anywhere in the world, with more than 200 wheelchair and handcycle athletes. In addition, a wide variety of ambulatory athletes with disabilities participate.
Mutai captured the 2011 New York City Marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes 6 seconds — and the stampede did not stop when he broke the tape. His countryman Emmanuel Mutai, 27 and no relation, finished second in 2:06:28. Tsegaye Kebede, 24, of Ethiopia finished third in 2:07:14.
The official margin of victory, 1:22.31, was the largest in the race since 1992.
The three men each earned a $70,000 bonus for breaking the course record (2:07:43, set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia in 2001). Emmanuel Mutai collected an additional $500,000 for winning the World Marathon Majors with his strong performances over the last two years. Geoffrey Mutai won a total of $200,000 for his victory and the record run on a day in which an event-record 47,438 competitors started.
Danielle Gall, a member of the New York Road Runners, can't convince herself to run in the organization's flagship race. The New York City Marathon has gotten too expensive.
“I just can't stomach paying that much,” Ms. Gall said of the race, which raised the price $60, to $255, for U.S. residents and $63, to $347, for international runners, citing increased costs. “I'm afraid it's becoming an elitist sport that nobody can afford.”
Last year’s 99.5 percent completion rate was the best in the 41-year history of the marathon. The inaugural race in 1970 had 55 of 127 runners finish the race, or 43 percent.
The marathon route begins at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one of five that runners will cross, and winds through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, very briefly, before finishing in Central Park in Manhattan. It's almost entirely northbound until a left turn near the Major Deegan Expressway, and then follows a winding path back to Fifth Avenue, where it turns south for good.
A staff of more than 100, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR's home base in New York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park, have given many of its events iconic status, attracting the world's top professional runners. Our youth programs provide running to nearly 100,000 schoolchildren in New York City, around the country, and in South Africa who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities.
While New York’s bridges and hills don’t make for record-friendly conditions, and while this year’s race will be conducted without a pacesetter, the depth of the talent in the field could well make this the swiftest New York race ever.
The defending champion in New York, Gebre Gebremariam, ran 2:08:14 and followed up in Boston in April with a third-place finish of 2:04.53, but he’ll have both of the Mutais — Emmanuel and Geoffrey — to deal with here, along with Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, two-time world marathon champion and Olympic silver medalist in Beijing.
One of New York City's most famous events is the New York City Marathon, which runs each year in early November. Since its modest beginning in Central Park when 127 runners participated in front of a meager cheering section, the race has grown to include over 39,000 participants who traverse the five boroughs in front of, organizers say, two million spectators and a worldwide television audience of 315 million.