What to Know
- After being canceled last year, the New York City Marathon is back -- with some changes.
- While the ongoing pandemic canceled last year's marathon, this time around, COVID-19 safety protocols will take center stage.
- The first NYC Marathon was held in 1970 with just 127 runners. In 2019, it ballooned to more than 50,000 runners. This year’s race is scaled back -- to about 30,000 runners.
After being cancelled last year, the New York City Marathon is back -- with some changes.
Last minute preps for this year's marathon, which will kick off Sunday at 8:30 a.m., is generating a buzz in the Big Apple.
New Yorkers and tourists are grateful to have a city tradition back in person after taking a pause last year due to the pandemic.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
"I have a lot of friends who are running in it and they’re excited," Jack Mara, an Upper West Side resident, said.
"This year’s marathon will show the toughness of New York, the grit of New York, the determination of New York," Ted Metellus, TCS NYC Marathon race director, said.
While the ongoing pandemic canceled last year's marathon, this time around, COVID-19 safety protocols for runners include:
- Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of race day;
- Face coverings at the start and in the post-finish area;
- More start waves to space apart the runners;
- Hand sanitizing stations;
- This year, runners will be allowed to wear fuel and hydration belts to avoid crowding at water stations;
- Additionally, runners will have to make an appointment to pick up their race materials in order to ensure social distancing.
Some New Yorkers are still wary of holding a group event in the middle of a pandemic.
"[I'm] a little bit [concerned about safety]. A little. But hopefully everything will be okay," Connie, an Upper East Side resident, said.
Others feel safe knowing the event is outdoors.
"I think being outside, most of the time they’re spread somewhat apart at least- so I think it’s great," Barbara Von Zerneck, an Upper West Side resident, said.
The first NYC Marathon was held in 1970 with just 127 runners. In 2019, it ballooned to more than 50,000 runners. This year’s race is scaled back -- to about 30,000 runners.
The NYPD says there are no credible threats to the race, but there will be many layers of security from the blocker cars on the perimeter, of which there are hundreds, to the NYPD's Bomb Squad and Radiation Detectors Response teams, Intelligence Bureau, and Counterterrorism, according to NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller.
"We’re going to have thousands and thousands of officers out there making sure the runners and the spectators are safe," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
"It’s a wonderful event," Von Zerneck said. "New York loves it. A great event. Very glad to see it back."
"I think it’s just amazing. I’m from Italy, actually, and I’m a student here and it’s so exciting. The whole city is like super excited, just can’t wait to see it," Maria Giovanna, of Midtown Manhattan, said.