The iconic race is like a 26.2-mile block party through the world’s most diverse city
Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins once called the city “a gorgeous mosaic.” On the first Sunday in November, November 6, this year, the mosaic comes to life as millions of locals and tourists of all ages and accents line the city’s sidewalks to cheer the beautiful diversity that is the TCS New York City Marathon.
It’s that enormous cheering crowd that makes the New York race different from other marathons; it’s bigger, louder and more dedicated. New Yorkers seem to identify with this contest of human endurance—perhaps because just living here demands a similar kind of mental toughness. After all, on any given day, you’d be lucky to drive the marathon route, which winds through all five boroughs in two hours, ten minutes and thirty-four seconds, Kenyan Stanley Biwott’s 2015 finish time.
New York has also been a groundbreaker for marathons around the world. In this day of extreme sports, many people may not remember that in 1970, when Fred Lebow and the New York Road Runners inaugurated the New York Marathon, a humble 26.2-mile-run that consisted of four laps of Central Park, there was no Olympic Marathon for women. In fact, in that first race, there were no women among the 55 finishers. (In 2015, there were 49,595 finishers.) In 1976 the race moved to its tour of the city’s five boroughs and began to grow—and grow.
One great champion, Grete Waitz of Norway, who broke the women’s world record, winning the first of her nine titles between 1978 and 1988, not only won the hearts of New Yorkers, but also raised the profile of all women athletes.
Today, the TCS New York City Marathon course, a 26.2-mile block party through the world’s most diverse city, embraces the ambitions of athletes of all levels from more than 120 countries and all 50 states. It will include thousands of women, many runners eligible for Medicare, and many wheelchair competitors, both men and women.
The 46th running of the race will begin on Staten Island. When the gun sounds, the mighty Verrazano-Narrows Bridge quakes as the runners stampede into Brooklyn (miles 2 to 12). The halfway point is on the Pulaski Bridge as runners enter Queens. This is a key point in the race, both physically and psychologically. Four-time-winner (197i6-79) Bill Rodgers once called this “a critical point in the course—uphill onto the bridge and down into the city. Hills are where marathons are won and lost.”
During the 15th mile, runners head up a ramp to get on the Queensboro Bridge, which takes them to First Avenue in Manhattan. “When you come down into Manhattan,” Rogers recalled, “the crowd is unbelievable.” Many Manhattan residents gather along First Avenue for the first glimpses of the field as it heads north to the Bronx via the Willis Avenue Bridge, which takes runners briefly into the Bronx in the 20th mile. Runners then reenter Manhattan and head down Fifth Avenue to enter Central Park in the 23rd mile. Runners exit the park just after the 25-mile mark to run along Central Park South, reenter the park at Columbus Circle and finish approximately 600 meters later by Tavern on the Green.
The race will be broadcast live on ABC7, ESPN2 and is available globally in 175 countries and territories on Sunday, November 6. In the New York tri-state area, watch the broadcast live on race day on WABC-TV, Channel 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage starts at 7:00 a.m. The race will also be live on abc7ny.com and via the ABC app.
Outside of the tri-state area, watch live coverage from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET on race day on ESPN2 and via WatchESPN. Additionally, the race will be available in Spanish via ESPN Deportes+. Highlights will be broadcast on local ABC affiliates from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET (check local listings for other time zones).
This broadcast is available live on tablets or smartphones with the ABC app in New York and WatchESPN nationwide. Download the app in the App Store or Google Play store. Access to the ABC app and WatchESPN is available through participating TV providers.
International viewers can watch the broadcast from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET via a variety of global broadcast partners (international viewers should check local listings) or on abc7NY.