The greatest marathon on the planet? Perhaps. The fastest? Definitely not. The most inspirational? Almost certainly. This Sunday sees the staging of the New York City Marathon, writes Chris Broadbent.
An epic journey covering the Big Apple’s five boroughs, the race attracts an enormous crowd of around two million spectators – the majority of whom enjoy the day in fully fledged party mode.
Always an event with a strong sense of heritage, its stock rose only further after the tragedy of 9/11 when the marathon came to symbolise the defiance of the famous city.
Thousands of British runners – and indeed runners from the four corners of the globe - are set to descend on New York for what will be the 46th staging of the race.
The annual event has taken place every year since 1970, bar 2012 when the after effects of Hurricane Sandy caused the race to be cancelled.
For the 50,000 runners set to take to the streets on Sunday, they are set for one of the loudest, most atmospheric and awe-inspiring experiences of their running life. I know, I have raced it. Once you have run the New York Marathon, nothing else quite compares.
I’d liken the experience to being a strange mix of feeling like you are running in the Olympics, at the Glastonbury Festival and on the Jerry Springer Show. It’s spine-tinglingly special with a course that cannot fail to inspire, it’s loud with bands galore booming throughout and the crowd are well, ever so slightly nuts!
It is thanks to New York that we have the London Marathon. After hearing of the tales of club mates from London-based running club Ranelagh Harriers who took part in the 1978 New York Marathon, Olympians Chris Brasher and John Disley decided to find out what all the fuss was about.
After taking part in the 1979 race, they were enthused and embolded to recreate the event in London. By 1981 the English capital had its own marathon and the rest is history. London Marathon is now one of the world’s greatest sporting events, but it will always owe a debt to New York – the brash, big brother of the big city marathon.