The Magical NYC Marathon

Shalane Flanagan became the first American in 40 years to win the New York Marathon. The 36-year-old was able to break away from her pursuers and end the winning run of the US runners. The New York City Marathon is a marathon that takes place on the first Sunday of November in New York City. It has been going on since 1970 through the New York Road Runners organization. The NYC Marathon is the world's largest marathon with more than 50,000 finishers.

Behind Flanagan, Kenyan Mary Keitany Flanagan triumphed in 2:26:53 hours. She is the first native winner in the traditional race over the 42.195 kilometers since Miki Gorman in 1977. In 1977, Miki Gorman was the last American to reach the finish line at the New York Marathon. 40 years later, her Shalane Flanagan did it. Behind her was the Kenyan Mary Keitany (2:27:54) and Mamitu Daska from Ethiopia (2:28:08) to the finish. Keitany had won the last three races.

In the men's race, 24-year-old Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor also scored his first win. He, like Flanagan, received $ 100,000 in prize money. The Half Marathon World Champion of 2016 crossed the finish line after 2:10:53 hours. Kamworor prevailed ahead of Kenyan Wilson Kipsang (2:10:56). The former world record holder and Berlin winner had won in 2014 in New York. The third was the former Boston winner and World Cup second Lelisa Desisa from Ethiopia (2:11:32).

Flanagan's emotions were already in the face before the finish line. "It is indescribable. This is a moment to absorb and keep, Flanagan said. This is the moment that I've dreamed of since I was a little girl. This is her first and last victory in a marathon race. Flanagan had considered the end of her career in the event of success before the run in New York.

It was Flanagan's biggest win since winning the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. At the 2014 Rio Olympic Games, she finished sixth.

In 2010 she made her marathon debut in New York, where she finished second. In the run-up to this year's competition, she had stated that this could have been her last race over a distance in a win. 2.5 million viewers followed the 47th edition of the running event along the route.

Besides the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, it is one of the largest running events in the USA. In 2006 it joined with the London Marathon and the Berlin Marathon to the World Marathon Majors.

It is the most participant-rich marathon in the world. In 2014, with 50,530 finishers, a participation record was set at a total of 50,896 starters. It was a small event in Central Park with a few hundred runners till 1976. It extended to all five boroughs in 1976 to mark the 200th anniversary of US independence. This has been so successful that it has been taking place every year since then. In 2012, it got canceled due to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy two days before the start.

Held in the first years in mid-September, it took place from 1976 to 1985 at the end of October. Since 1986 it has his date today, except for 1993 and 1995, when it took place on the second Sunday in November. The event got awarded the 2014 Prince of Asturias Prize.

The NYC Marathon goes from Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island via Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. It follows to Manhattan, till the destination of Central Park. Because of a large number of participants, it starts in four waves with 30 minutes distance. In each wave, there are three starting lanes, which are finally united at mile 8 (12.9 kilometers). The professional runners start before the main waves with participants in the wheelchair. The professional runners start at the top of the first main wave.

Participants have to reach the highest point of the track, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge with a span of 3 km. Then they go through Brooklyn, where between mile 4 and mile 8 on 4th Avenue is almost straight ahead. On the Pulaski Bridge, on the ramp to the half-marathon point, it goes to Queens. This part of the city leads to the Queensboro Bridge which leads to Manhattan and First Avenue.

There it goes about 5.5 km north and over the Willis Avenue Bridge in the Bronx. After over a mile, it's over the Madison Avenue Bridge. And then back to Manhattan through the district of Harlem on to Fifth Avenue. Now participants walk along the Museum Mile of New York to the east side of Central Park.

Runners walk along East Drive in the park near the Guggenheim Museum. Until they leave the park for a short time and walk across Central Park South. Here a crowd of spectators is the main attraction. Then they head back to Central Park at Columbus Circle, heading for the Tavern on the Green. 12,000 helpers are on duty to look after the more than 50,000 runners.

In total there are five bridges to cross on the track. It is a demanding marathon compared to the ones in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt or Cologne. In the first marathon on September 13, 1970, out of 127 participants, only 55 reached the finish. The low share of finisher persisted for several years. Only since 1979, 90% and more of the registered runners come to the finish.

The number of participants continued to rise. In 1971 there were already 245 runners at the start, in 1974 then already over 500. Until 1975, the marathon took place in Central Park, where four laps got completed. In the run-up to the marathon in 1976, a proposal was to march through all five districts of New York City.

The chosen route resembled in basic features of today. The change brought an increase in attendance from 534 to over 2000. Despite the fears, there were no negative incidents. Besides the positive response in the media, the popular vote received a lot of attention. So, the route remained in the following years.

The number of participants increased. In 1979, more than 10,000 runners were in the finish for the first time in 1985, then over 15,000. In 1987, over 20,000 runners reached their destination for the first time. In 1997 they passed the 30,000, in 2009 the 40,000 and in 2013 the 50,000. The audience response increased.

In 1992, a separate track for wheelchairs and handcycles got introduced. Until 2002, the run had several sponsors but did not carry a sponsor's name in the title. The most successful participant was Grete Waitz, who won from 1978 to 1988 in each. In the years 1981 and 1987 she did not take part, and in 1990 she finished fourth. She also participated in other races of the New York Road Runners (NYRR). In 1992, she ran for the last time in the marathon.

The most successful male runner is Bill Rodgers, who finished fifth in 1974. He then won four times in a row from 1976 to 1979. After disagreements over prizes and sponsors, he no longer participated in New York. Alberto Salazar and Paula Radcliffe are participants who have won more than twice.

Many celebrities have used the New York City Marathon so far for an appearance. Lance Armstrong ran his first marathon in 2006 after retiring from cycling. In 2013, Pamela Anderson took part in aid of an earthquake relief organization in Haiti. Ever since Fred Lebow's days, a carbohydrate-rich dinner has taken place on the eve of the marathon.