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The New York Marathon, 50th Edition: From 127 1970 to the Great Return

The New York Marathon, 50th Edition: From 127 1970 to the Great Return

After Covid stopped, the 42 km is back
Most famous: 33,000 in the beginning, only 100 Italian

Sunday, September 13, 1970: At the start of the first New York Marathon organized by the Road Runners Club, headed by the great Fred Lebow, 127 attended. Registration costs one dollar. The anonymous race – about a hundred spectators – is held in Central Park, along a circuit that repeats four times around Park Drive. They ended up at 55, no one lives on the sport. Gary Mohrk wins in 2 hours, 31 minutes and 38 minutes.

the present

Sunday, November 7, 2021: The Big Apple Marathon, always run by the same association now led by Keren Hempel after the eras of Alan Steinfeld, Mary Wittenberg and other less significant eras, makes a round figure, celebrating the fiftieth edition. 42 km in the world, it missed the annual date only twice: in 2012, due to fears related to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy twelve months earlier, due to the Covid-19 epidemic that stopped the world. Today he is recovering, but he still has to deal with the cursed virus: at the now conventional departure from the Verrazano Bridge, on Staten Island, there will be about 33,000, divided into five waves, all immune or with a smear conducted in the last 48 hours. Last time, in 2019, there were 54,205 rookies, and eventually in Central Park, in Manhattan, 53,640 hits (after 52,811 in 2018), this hasn’t happened often in marathon history.


The problem, this year, is that the ban on entry to the United States for tourism reasons, applicable to citizens of the 26 Schengen countries as well as Britons and Irish, in force since March 2020, will be lifted. Specifically… tomorrow. By the announced decision no earlier than 15 October. Mocking, even for the nearly 1,700 Italian amateurs who actually scored (1,300 fewer than those who had participated in the then-cancelled 2000 edition and 1,800 fewer than the 2009 record), they were always crowded on the streets of New York’s five counties: Since 1976, the year of Independence Bicentennial celebrations, the trail also develops through Brooklyn, the Queen and the Bronx. Today, among the residents and (a few) guests, the number of participants in the tricolor will be no more than a hundred. For the excluded damage in addition to the insult. Because registration now for those coming from abroad, including various fees and taxes, costs close to 500 euros (even if it does not officially exceed 310) and there is no way to get a full refund: either it has been confirmed as of now registration for 2022, on unchanged terms, Or do not get more than 50% of the expenses incurred. For those who can, also given the difficulties in obtaining a bib (it is almost impossible to rely on an agency), the first premise is recommended.

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in a

It remains that the city today will celebrate. The expected return. Almost like a normal first Sunday in November. The marathon, one of the first races to accept women since its inception (the legendary Norwegian Great Weitz, between 1978 and 1988, she would have won nine times) somehow will cause another hurdle to fall. Spectators will be required to respect safety distances and not all side activities will take place as planned. But in the race, there will be other sports champions and different celebrities. The anthem will be sung by actress Kelly O’Hara, who will then be among the participants. But what matters is that New York, with all its gestures of solidarity, will be invaded by thousands of people again: as it has not happened in twenty-one months, and with the same symbolic meaning and similar emotional significance, it has happened less than sixty. Days later, the September 11, 2001 attacks. With all due respect to the nearly 16,000 entrants from 108 countries who finished the virtual exam last year, that’s another thing.