central park

First NYC Marathon Winner Runs Original Course 50 Years Later

NBC Universal, Inc.

Decades after winning the first-ever New York City Marathon, Gary Muhrcke laced up his sneakers for one lap around the race's original course in Central Park.

Muhrcke, now 80, was the first of 55 runners to complete the inaugural run back on September 13, 1970. The first marathon drew only 127 runners.

50 years later the race attracts thousands of runners and just as many spectators, and its course winds throughout the city's boroughs instead of looping four times through Central Park.

"I can't believe the course was four of those laps," Muhrcke said after completing his lap. "That is not an easy course."

The former New York City firefighter was joined for the anniversary run by his 24-year-old grandson, Colin Kern. Together they ran the 6-mile loop Sunday morning.

Muhrcke's kept up his running amid the pandemic, returning frequently to Sunken Meadow.

"If I can inspire anyone to get off the couch, that's my goal in life," he said.

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