The 50th Anniversary of the New York City Marathon

Serena Carpino, Staff Writer

On November 7, 2021, participating runners and their supporters gathered in New York City for the world-famous NYC Marathon. It was the 50th anniversary of the race, and the event marked a return to normalcy for the city.

Similar to other marathons held during the pandemic, the number of runners was considerably smaller than usual. There were only 30,000 registrants, compared to the normal 55,000 participants. The race organizer, the New York Road Runners, did their best to ensure the safety of runners and spectators by ensuring proper social distancing guidelines along the course route. They also required runners either to provide proof of a covid vaccination or a negative Covid PCR test within 48 hours of the race. 

The 26.2 mile NYC Marathon route includes a wide variety of city landscapes throughout the five boroughs. The race begins on Staten Island, and runners face their first challenge when crossing the windswept Verrazano bridge into Brooklyn. After making their way through Brooklyn, the runners cross the halfway mark on the Pulaski bridge, entering Queens. After racing 2.5 miles in Queens, the runners enter the Bronx for a relatively short time, spending only about a mile and a half of the race in the Boogie Down borough. Once they cross into Manhattan, the runners have only 5 miles left to run. This stretch is one of the most difficult in the race, with runners facing a mile-long uphill along Fifth Avenue. Once they finish making their way up Fifth Avenue, the runners have only 3 miles left in the course.

Albert Korir and Peres Jepchirchir won the men’s and women’s races, respectively, making history with a Kenyan sweep. Albert Korir ran a time of 2:08:22, securing a spot in the top 20 runners with the fastest times in the race’s history. Peres Jepchirchir ran the third-fastest time in NYC Marathon history, with a time of 2:22:39. She was also the first woman to win a major marathon after winning an Olympic gold medal, having won the Tokyo Olympics Marathon in the summer of 2021. Manuel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race with a time of 1:31:24 and finished over 6 minutes ahead of David Weir, who took second place. Madison de Rozario won the women’s wheelchair race in 1:51:01; almost three minutes before second placer Tatyana McFadden crossed the finish line. 

As it is one of the major world marathons, the New York City Marathon has always attracted a few famous names, and this year was no exception. For example, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton finished in just under four hours and was met by her parents: former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, at the finish line. 

The next NYC Marathon is already scheduled for November 6, 2022, and although turnout was lower this year, many runners are eager to sign up once the registration window opens in January and spectators are excited to watch.