This Sunday, some 47,000 runners will cross the starting line in Staten Island for the New York City Marathon. Over several hours, they'll run 26.2 miles through the city's five boroughs before (hopefully) sweeping across the finish line in Central Park. The Big Apple's is the largest marathon in the world. Here, a brief guide by the numbers:
More than 130
Number of bands that will entertain runners and fans along the course
Number of years the New York City Marathon has been run
Number of runners that crossed the finish line the first year of the marathon, in 1970. That's out of the 127 runners who crossed the start line.
Number of applicants for this year's marathon
Number of applicants who were accepted this year, under the assumption that at least 10,000 would not follow through. Some runners enter via a lottery. Others get in through extremely fast times in other races. You can also score entry if you lose the lottery three years in a row, if you've run the race for 15 consecutive years, or if you've worked as a volunteer in a number of shorter local races.
Number of runners who could run the race if it were spread over two days, with a full marathon taking place each day. That's something the New York Road Runners, the organization behind the big race, is considering.
Entry fee for the race in 1970
Entry fee for this year. New York Road Runners members pay just $156.
Course record for the New York City Marathon. It was set by Tesfaye Jifar, an Ethiopian man, in 2001. The Berlin, Boston, London, and Chicago marathons this year have all had winning times well below 2:06:00. "Given the trend... and since the weather forecast for Sunday is calling for 'nearly ideal race weather' with a starting temp of 43 degrees and a finish temp in the low 50s with full sun and only a light breeze... Expect the ING New York City course record of 2:07:43 to go down," says LetsRun.com.
Average pace, per mile, for a 2:07:43 race
Number of men competing in this year's marathon who have ran marathons under 2:06:00. They are Gebre Gebremariam, Kenya, 27; Geoffrey Mutai, Kenya, 30; Tsegaye Kebede, Ethiopia, 24, Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya, 27; and Lilesa Feyisa, Ethiopia, 21. Kenyan Mathew Kisorio has never run a full marathon, but he completed the Philadelphia half marathon in just 58:46, so it's assumed he belongs in this group.
World record for a marathon on an official course. It was set in September by Patrick Makau of Kenya at the Berlin Marathon. The previous record was held by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia who ran 2:03:39 on the same course in 2008.
Personal best for Mary Keitany, the fastest woman in this year's field. The 29-year-old Kenyan is the world record holder in the half marathon. Last year, she finished third in New York. It was her first full marathon.
Number of times the late, great Norwegian Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon, the most times for any runner, male or female. Waitz passed away at the age of 57 earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.
Amount of time it took Bob Wieland, a Vietnam vet who'd lost both of his legs in an explosion in 1969, to complete the marathon in 1986. "His time would have been quicker if [the race director] had not asked him to pull off the course and sleep overnight in a hotel with about two miles to go so he could finish in the late morning in front of a few hundred people to better promote his achievement," says Dave Ungrady in The New York Times. The next year, Wieland finished in just over 81 hours, "probably a world record for improvement." Wieland didn't use a wheelchair but rather propelled himself forward by swinging his body between his arms. He wore leather chaps over his lower torso to act as a pivot.
Official time limit for the race
Sources: Associated Press (2), BBC News, Examiner, Guardian, Ingnycmarathon.org, International Association of Athletics Federation, Jezebel, LetsRun.com, Nycmarathon.org, New York Daily News, New York Times (2)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
Subscribe to the Week