Marathon Sunday 2006

Sunday, November 5th, 2006 | All Things, Events, NYC History, Sports

The New York City Marathon — since 2003, known as the ING New York City Marathon via a corporate sponsorship deal with the New York Road Runners — is held on the first Sunday in November. The race has been run has been run every year since 1970.
The first marathon had 127 runners participating in a 26.2-mile race that looped several times within Central Park. That year 55 runners crossed the finish line. In 1981, the course was redrawn to direct the 2,090 runners through all five New York City boroughs — a tradition which continues to this day.

In 2005, a record 87,625 people worldwide applied to run. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is limited to around 37,000 entrants, who are chosen largely by a random lottery system in June, with preference given to previous participants. NYRR members can also gain guaranteed entry by winning one, or completing nine, scored, qualifying races in the previous year, or by meeting qualifying time standards for a marathon (2:55:00 for men; 3:23:00 for women.)

In 1970, the entry fee for the marathon was $1. It has since been raised to $80-164 (based on residency and NYRR membership status), plus a $9 processing fee. Other costs include the mandatory ChampionChip scoring device ($35) for all entrants not already in possession of one.

The ChampionChip is a miniature transponder encased in a waterproof glass capsule, used for participant timing, identification and registration. It is the chip used in the biggest running events in the world (including the New York City, the Boston and the Rotterdam marathons) and a wide range of bicycle races, in-line skating and cross country events. The basis for the ChampionChip system is the radio-frequency- identification system (RFID) from Texas Instruments. This is the same technology that is also used for security locks in cars, admission control in buildings, credit card payment systems (MasterCard’s contactless PayPass and Chase’s blink card) and, it seems eventually for the NYC subway pass system.

Of course, the most famous runner in this year’s field of 38,368 starters was the 1999-2005 Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. Sunday morning’s television coverage followed the elite men’s and women’s runners and had one “Lance cam” fixed on Armstrong throughout the race.

I made my way to Central Park, near the 26 mile mark, to cheer on the finishers.


NYC Marathon

The crowd was in fine form, cheering away, and shouting encouragement by name to the runners who had identification emblazoned on their shirts. Go, “Mr. Awesome”!



I had just missed the winners by the time I arrived, but then came the announcement over the loudspeaker. Lance Armstrong had entered the park! An audible buzz of excitement shot through the crowd. Minutes went by, and then I heard the distant rumbling cheer. Closer, closer…


There he is…

Lance Armstrong

…and there he goes.


I stayed on for an hour more, to cheer on the rest of the field, most of whom looked remarkably spry, for having just run 26 miles.




Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia repeated her 2005 NYC Marathon win in 2:25:05. Marílson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil won the male race in a time of 2:09:58, becoming the first winner from South America. (Armstrong finished 856th with a time of 2:59:36 in his first marathon.)

This year’s race had 37,954 finishers, the most ever — representing a 98.9% completion rate. Phenomonal.

Free Hugs

There are 4 Comments ... Marathon Sunday 2006

November 14, 2006

Maybe someday.

November 14, 2006

Me too. Let’s set a date of 2012, shall we? You, too VIP.

November 15, 2006

Hmm.  For first-time and “casual” marathoners, the New York City Marathon Official Training Program builds from a 20 mile-a-week base to a peak of 40 miles a week.  Is there a “New York City Marathon Official Training Program” training program?

November 18, 2006

I treat this picture of Armstrong as his signature/autograph. Well done. 🙂 Thx.

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