Athletes from around the world hit the ground running for the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 3. This is the first time in more than a year that runners have raced through the five boroughs. Last year’s marathon was canceled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. This year, a record 50,740 runners took part in the celebrated 26.2-mile race.
Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo, 29, won the title for the women’s race. She crossed the finish line at 2:25:07 and maintained an overall pace of 5:33 per mile. Jeptoo beat Bronx resident Buzunesh Deba with an impressive final kick. In 2011, the last time the NYC Marathon was held, Deba, 26, also finished second.
In the men’s race, Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai, 32, came in first at 2:08:24. He pulled away from his fellow countryman Stanley Biwott in the last few miles to take the lead. Mutai broke the course record in 2011. "To win this course twice, it's not easy," Mutai said. "For me, it's a glory."
Paralympic track medalist Tatyana McFadden, 24, won the wheelchair portion in 1:59:13 with a mile pace of 4:33. This was McFadden’s fourth win this year—she also won the London, Boston, and Chicago marathons. No other athlete has won those four competitions in a year’s span. She is the first person to complete a wheelchair marathon Grand Slam.
Marathon officials ramped up security efforts in New York for the 2013 race in response to April’s Boston Marathon bombing. Barricades blocked off much of Central park, and fans waited in bag-check lines to get in. Along with surveillance helicopters, about 1,500 cameras were installed along the marathon route to watch activity. Bomb-sniffing dogs were on site to alert police of any nearby danger. And scuba divers scanned bridges and shorelines to make sure they were safe for runners. Security was tight from the moment crowds arrived. But runners, professional and amateur, said they felt safe on the course.
On a day that normally fills the city with joy and celebration, the success of Sunday's New York City Marathon was also surrounded by feelings of relief and hope. To honor Boston victims, this year’s course lines included yellow—the color of the Boston route.
Near the NYC finish line, Ashley O'Brien from Brooklyn was ready with a bullhorn to cheer on runners. She got teary-eyed remembering the events of the past year.
"It's a nice time to all come back together," she said. "You still remember why it was canceled last year and you remember Boston. So it's a little bittersweet."