The New York City Marathon: A 26.2-Mile Fashion Show That Made a Sound
It starts with a bang, then builds to a fever pitch, and before you know it, you’re feeling the burn. It’s all part of what New York City Marathon founder Doug Eller experienced the first time he took his team of runners out for one of his signature marathons. Eller was training to run from the Bronx River to the finish line of the first marathon to be held in the new stadium in September of 1978, known as the New York City Marathon. He was one of the many runners who took the subway to the Stadium and walked the short distance to the finish line, one of a select few who completed the 26.2-mile race without taper-and-restart.
“I was hooked,” Eller said. “But you couldn’t go out there and do a marathon by yourself, you had to go out there and have a team to support you. We did it as an organization, and so it became a big event for us as a city; an event to have the marathon run on a Sunday morning.”
Eller and the rest of the team was determined to put in the work to make this a special event to the city, and with that commitment, he helped to create one of the most memorable marathon races that we’ll ever see. The organization that he founded in 1978 is a legacy that has been passed down through the generations, and it’s one that’s continued to grow and grow into a family-friendly marathon.
Today, it’s the longest-running marathon in the world. It started in 1975 in a stadium in New York, and in 1978, the race was moved to what is now called the New York City Marathon. Originally, it was a 100-kilometer run, but today, the race is made up of three different distances: 42 kilometers (26 miles), 26.2 kilometers (15.5 miles), and 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
While those running the marathon today might be familiar with the classic New York City Marathon, what was the race like back then?
“You were out by the time you got there. You didn’t have to wait for the light to change,” said Mark Micallef