ING New York City Marathon is renowned for its enthusiastic and extremely plentiful crowds of spectators. Despite the enormousness of the city, the first Sunday of November is always ‘Marathon Sunday’, and 2 million New Yorkers leave their Sunday doings and head out to cheer the runners, listen to the 100 live bands and suck in the ebullient atmosphere. The hailing onlookers line the whole course from the start on Staten Island, over Verazano-Narrows Bridge to the sound of Frank Sinatra singing ‘New York, New York’ and into Brooklyn and Queens. Then the route goes over Queensboro Bridge for a roundtrip on Manhattan and a short stop in the Bronx before reaching the finish outside the famous restaurant Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Along the way, runners will witness the cultural diversity of New York’s neighbourhoods and pass five more or less famous New York bridges. The marathon course makes up a great sightseeing tour and runs through parts of the city that many tourists would otherwise never have seen. The bridges on the route provide superb views but also add some inclines to the course. The Verazano marks the highest point with just over 80 metres/250 feet, but this bridge is right at the beginning, when energy is still intact and the field is probably too crowded to get some speed going, anyway. Queensboro Bridge after 24 kilometres is also known to be pulling some teeth, as well as the final and rather hilly 4-5 km in Central Park.
The next New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday November 2, 2008.