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2021 NYC Marathon: Live Updates From the Start Village

Annamarie Nix, 45, is running her 12th New York City Marathon, and has run more than 50 marathons in total. She recently moved to Houston, though she is originally from Brooklyn. 

“It’s a magical day. We’re back … couldn’t be more grateful for all the volunteers and this amazing race to be able to run in this city. It’s a magical day.”

Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Boris and Yelena Sobolev are volunteers in the start area. They’re a married couple from Staten Island and have been volunteering for six years. 

“Every year to see people, help them, it helps us as well,” Boris said. “They have so much energy you literally feel it in the air.”

Yelena said she was very upset when the race was canceled last year. “You get energized for the whole year — it’s amazing. You have to feel it.”

Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
Ashley Wong

Runners in 2020, when the marathon was canceled. This year’s runners will be required to wear masks in the start and post-finish areas, but not on the course.Credit…Johnny Milano for The New York Times

While this year’s race will be largely unchanged from previous years, runners and spectators will see some new precautions in place for Covid-19.

The field of 30,000 participants is about 40 percent smaller than the 2019 event, which saw a little more than 53,000 runners.

Runners must provide proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, or a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours of the race.

Race organizers have also taken several steps to reduce crowd sizes in certain areas, and are requiring masks in the start and the post-finish areas. Runners will begin in five different waves, one wave more than previous years, allowing more time for people to spread out along the route. Runners will also now be allowed to wear hydration belts during the race to limit crowds at water stations.

At the finish line, marathon staff members and volunteers will hand participants their medals and ponchos rather than draping them directly over their necks.

Awaiting the start of the women’s professional division in 2018.Credit…Joshua Bright for The New York Times

Here are the start times for each division:

  • 8 a.m. Professional wheelchair division

  • 8:22 a.m. Handcycle category and select athletes with disabilities

  • 8:40 a.m. Professional women

  • 9:05 a.m. Professional men

  • 9:10 a.m. Wave 1

  • 9:55 a.m. Wave 2

  • 10:40 a.m. Wave 3

  • 11:20 a.m. Wave 4

  • 12 p.m. Wave 5

Ashley Wong

Spectators cheered under the Queensboro Bridge in 2019.Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

There are few places without spectators along the 26.2-mile route. Here’s our full guide on where to watch the race, borough by borough.

If you’re looking for an easy transit option from across the city, go to the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, served by the B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains.

If you’re looking to make a big impact on the runners, go to the Bronx. The race’s 20-mile mark, around 135th Street and Alexander Avenue, is a notoriously challenging part of the race where runners may hit the proverbial “wall.”

If you’re the kind of person who likes a crowd to cheer with, First Avenue from 59th Street to 96th Street in Manhattan is always lined with spectators, especially with all the bars and restaurants on this part of the course.

Ashley Wong

A view from a media truck in the 2014 race.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

The marathon is broadcast live on ESPN2 nationally (8:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern time) and WABC-TV, Channel 7 locally (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern).

You can stream those broadcasts in the ESPN app nationally and WABC’s app locally.

The race is also broadcast on a variety of global networks, listed here.

Matthew Futterman

At the starting line in 2019. Tens of thousands of runners will repeat the ritual on Sunday.Credit…Joshua Bright for The New York Times

After a year’s hiatus, the New York City Marathon returns Sunday morning in plenty of its glory.

As dawn breaks, tens of thousands of participants will descend on Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and wait for the sound of the cannons that will send the fast and the slow, those on two legs, or one, or none at all, or in wheelchairs, over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge for the start of the 26.2-mile journey to Central Park.

Because of the pandemic, this 50th running of the marathon is a smaller affair than usual, with roughly 30,000 participants instead of the usual stampede of more than 50,000. But after a year when mass running events all but disappeared, that feels like a mere detail. A throng of humanity will once more venture through five boroughs, chasing a coveted finisher’s medal, in front of hundreds of thousands of family, friends and strangers, while trying to grasp something else as well — a New York that existed before that is slowly rising again.

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