The New York Marathon was born from humble beginnings – Daily Freeman
Last weekend, Sunday, November 6, the 51st New York City Marathon took off from Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.
The marathon is the largest marathon in the world, with nearly 48,000 finishers. It is one of the six major world marathons. These nearly 48,000 runners were some of the best marathoners in the world, along with your next door neighbor.
Participants come from all over the world and from all parts of the United States. Additionally, more than two million spectators line the streets of New York’s five boroughs. People describe the atmosphere as electric.
This running extravaganza had humble beginnings. He started in 1970 with 127 starters and 55
finishers completing the four loops of Central Park. Gary Muhrcke won this first edition with a time of
In 1976, New York auditor George Spitz proposed that, as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration,
the marathon is expected to cross all of the city’s five boroughs. This change of course was envisaged as a one-off agreement. There were 2,090 starters, including 88 women. At the time, this made it the largest marathon in the world and has since remained a five-borough marathon. Bill Rodgers bounces back from a disappointing run at the 1976 Montreal Olympics to win in 2:10:10. Miki Gorman would win the
women’s division with a time of 2:39:11.
I have a copy of the original 1976 race entry application. The entry fee was $3. To enter, all you had to do was send the entry form to New York Road Runners headquarters by October 20, just four days before the race. A room at the upscale Barbizon Plaza Hotel was $29 and a room at the West Side YMCA was $9. On the app there was a phone number for more information.
Imagine trying to run the marathon today four days early or being able to get someone on the phone to answer questions. The app stated: “Timekeepers will time finishers up to five hours,
but at four o’clock and twenty minutes, all guides, aid stations and police will be withdrawn from the
course.” The most significant statistic from the 1976 race was that women made up about 4%
of the field. In 2022, they were almost 50%.
Once again, Kenyan runners demonstrated East African dominance in the marathon by
take first place in the men’s and women’s races. Evan Chebet was the men’s winner in 2:08:41 and Sharon Lokedi won the women’s race in 2:23:23. The top Americans were Scott Fauble, ninth overall in 2:13:35, and Aliphine Tuliamuk, seventh in the women’s in 2:26:18.
The real story of the day was the weather. Temperatures were 20 to 25 degrees warmer than average. The humidity combined with the high temperatures in the 70s turned the race into a struggle to survive. Unfortunately, it was not a day to gamble or look for a personal best. Runners who went there crashed and burned.
A typical example was Daniel do Nascimento, an elite Brazilian marathon runner with a personal best of 2:04:51. He tried to ignore the conditions and quickly got out. He was on pace for the world record and had a big lead at one point.
Around the 20 mile mark he stopped, used a port-a-potty, ran some more, then crashed,
requiring medical attention. This year, crossing the finish line was a victory.
Some runners with local connections who took this victory were Gina Sando at 3:32, Owen
Harvey (3:41), Kent Rinehart (3:44), Liam Regan (3:54), David Roberts (4:10), Jennifer Colucci (4:10),
Charles Gassenheimer (4:21), Christopher Colucci (4:24), Karen Garner (4:30), Susan Baxter (4:31),
Anthony Ferreri (4:31), Jessica Dickinson (4:34), Dana Iannizzotto (4:35), Denise Iannizzotto (4:35),
Ricardo Castro (4:36), Nichole Brady (4:39), Dawn Scheele (4:50), Doug Needham (4:50), Jeff Wilson
(4:52), Kristina Vucetic (5:54), Brittney Kessel (5:55), Kelly Buchalski (5:59) and Jennifer Alnwick (6:45).
Accord’s David Roberts summed up the resilience, camaraderie and emotions of a shared journey
in a race report he sent me: “My time was 4:10:42. Wow, what a tough day. Brooklyn was so hot and
wet that it just sucked the life out of so many of us at the start of the race. Dizzy and starting to
throw up before the halfway point, my son Harry met me to swap water bottles, and his enthusiasm
allowed me to continue.
“The real change for me happened on the Queensboro Bridge,” Roberts added. “I walked the climb and met another runner. I told him I was going to retire at mile 16, where Alana, my wife, was waiting. He was like me – aiming for 3:25 but was going to finish, even if it meant walking the rest of the way I started to feel a little better talking to him, and we ran together on the bridge and really supported each other for the next 6 miles until he told me wave to continue. It was with his support that I was able to finish at all – a random guy who suffered like me. Every race has its story and its lesson – yesterday finishing was everything, and I had no never felt this feeling before.
On Saturday, October 29, the 12th Annual UlsterCorps Zombie Escape took place at the Williams
Property of the Lake project in Rosendale. Williams Lake is perfect for a Halloween-themed event with its grotto, tunnels, and wooded trails. The Zombie Escape consisted of a 5k run, a 2k hike, and a 1k run for the kids.
Around 250 adults and young people took part. All participants received finishing medals, t-shirts and the rewards were replica coffins with a pumpkin and a skeleton inside. The top men were 15-year-old Eric Brener (24:03), Will Cutrone (24:05) and Ricardo Castro at 24:48. The top three women were 14-year-old Abby Brenner (24:20), Erica Eppolito (26:05) and Jennifer Bernard (26:34).
The Zombie Escape is UlsterCorps’ biggest fundraiser and the event raised $10,000. UlsterCorps would like to thank the Williams Lake Project for opening their property to the community.
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and aside from family gatherings, it’s the biggest racing day in America. The first Turkey Trot took place 125 years ago in Buffalo. Today, more than one million people participate in turkey trots across the country. Turkey trots range in size from hundreds to over 25,000.
Locally, we have four large turkey trots ranging in size from a two-mile run to 25 km (15.5 miles). All
four are the morning of Thanksgiving Day, November 24.
• Kingston: The Kingston Junior League sponsors a turkey trot which consists of a 5k run and a two mile run/walk. It begins at Dietz Stadium in downtown Kingston and ends at Forsyth Park. For information and online registration, visit the league’s website at Kingston.jl.org. Registration day begins at 8:00 a.m. at Stade Dietz. The 5 km and the two miles leave at 9 a.m.
• New Paltz: The New Paltz family presents their 19th annual 5k turkey trot and mash for kids
Potato race. It’s all centered on the Water Street Market in New Paltz. For all information and
online registration, go to www.newpaltzturkeytrot.com. Registration day starts at 8
The kids’ run is at 9:00 a.m. and the 5k starts at 9:30 a.m. The course is a USATF-certified 5k, with half of the run on the paved Plains Road and the return via the unpaved trail Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The 5k is timed and has prizes in several categories.
• Rhinebeck: in Rhinebeck, from the First Baptist Church, at 9 Astor Drive, the annual meeting is held
Ferncliff Forest Turkey Trot 5k. This event has six starting waves starting at 8 a.m., each starting five
minute intervals. The first 550 participants receive T-shirts. Additionally, there are awards for the top three finishers in age groups from under 10 to over 70. The 5K is an out-and-back race on Montgomery Street and Mount Rutsen Road. For more information, visit the website
• LaGrangeville: The Mid Hudson Road Runners (MHRRC) hosts the region’s oldest turkey trot, dating back over 50 years. It also features the longest distance. The MHRRC Turkey Trot has four races: a children’s one-mile run, a two-mile run/walk, a five-mile run and a 25 km (15.5 mile). The 25k starts at 8:30 a.m., the 1 mile at 8:45 a.m., the 5 mile at 9:15 a.m. and the 2 mile at 9:30 a.m. This event often attracts over a thousand attendees. For all information, visit the MHRRC website at mhrrc.org.
As winter approaches, the racing calendar dwindles. However, there are a few races coming up in
On December 4, the 39th Annual Reindeer Ramble 5K, hosted by the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster
County, takes off from its downtown Kingston campus. For more information, visit ymcaulster.org.
On December 3 in Wappingers, the MHRRC hosts the 41st Pete Sanfilippo Holiday Run. This event has a
five mile and one mile race for children. This long-running regional race is well organized and uses the Knights of Columbus Hall for pre- and post-race festivities. For more information, visit runsignup.com and search using the name of the run.
December 31 is the date of the legendary Viking Run in Rosendale. This six-mile race has the reputation
to be uphill in both directions. For more information and to register, visit zippy-reg.com.
If you want motivation or companionship to run and help you through the dark and cold of winter, check out
on these three regularly scheduled group races. On Mondays join the Onteora Runners Club
Monday moderate run. This four to six mile race takes off from Dietz Stadium at 5:30 p.m.
On Wednesdays there is a tempo race using the track or “bowl” at Dietz Stadium. Warm-up starts at 6 p.m.
with a faster run at 6:25 p.m. Then, on Sunday at 11 a.m., Keegan’s Army hosts a 5k run starting at
Keegan Ales on St. James Street.
All these workouts/runs are open to everyone. I hope to see many of you at the races and in training.
Steve Schallenkamp has been active in area running circles since 1966 as a runner, race director, volunteer and coach. He is a member of the Onteora Runners Club and President of the Shawangunk Runners Club.