50 Years in the Making
By: Monica Ahuja
The TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) New York City Marathon is a tremendous human tenacity and determination exhibition. It is also a demonstration of humanity’s love for continuity and tradition, as it has now been half a century since the first marathon, with the 2021 marathon being the 50th.
The first marathon took place in 1970. The official marathon website states that the marathon in 1970 had “an entry fee of $1 and a budget of $1,000”. There were only 127 runners that year, and the race was held solely in Central Park.
Since 1970 several things have changed, including the route of the marathon. According to the TCS NYC Marathon site, the “course [now] runs 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of NYC.” It began at Forts Wadsworth in Staten Island and ended in Central Park, Manhattan.
After disappointment resulting from the cancelation of the marathon in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC conducted this year’s marathon with the pandemic in mind.
According to ABC7 NY, the New York Road Runners, a non-profit organization that leads the TCS Marathon, released safety measures to be followed.
It includes either proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing, regular cleaning and sanitation, mask requirements at selected points, a reduction in the number of participants and onlookers, limiting contact by pre-checking bags a day before, and more.
In this year’s marathon, multiple races are specific for different groups. In this year’s general race for runners, there were 24,948 finishers.
Meanwhile, the wheelchair race had 32 finishers, and the handcycle race included 38 finishers. The ages of the finishers ranged from 18 to 83, while the ages of the participants in the 2021 race ranged from 18-89!
Not only does the marathon include people of all ages, but it also includes participants from a global population. The winners for both the professional men’s and women’s races were Albert Korir and olympian Peres Jepchirchir; both are from Kenya.
Furthermore, the winner of the women’s wheelchair race, Madison de Rozario, hails from Australia. And the four-time winner of the men’s wheelchair race, Marchel Hug, is from Switzerland.
To physically prepare for the marathon, the New York Road Runners offers several training programs and regimens. You can also prepare on your own to run the full marathon, but it is essential to make sure that you are engaging in the necessary diet and training required to run because you can easily hurt yourself in the process.
Although the marathon occurs in New York City, it is genuinely an international spectacle that unifies people through their dedication to running, and more importantly, their enthusiasm to run alongside each other.
Regardless of context or reason, nearly 30,000 people chose to come together this November collectively to execute their commitment, to help New York City take the next step towards its new normal, and to raise money for charity. The marathon has again shown us the impact of human willpower, connectivity, and how the marathon can better ourselves and each other.