The world’s biggest marathon is up and running again!
The New York City Marathon will make its triumphant comeback Sunday with roughly 30,000 athletes from across the globe after the race was canceled last year due to COVID-19, organizers said Wednesday.
Runners will pound the pavement through all five boroughs to mark the 26.2-mile event’s 50th year — which city officials hailed as a sign the Big Apple is sprinting full-speed toward pandemic recovery.
“It really feels like we’re coming back as a city when we have this New York City Marathon,” MTA acting president and race sponsor Craig Cipriano said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
To celebrate the return of the time-honored race, officials painted a blue finish line in Central Park as they outlined plans for the massive gathering.
“When you run a marathon, you feel there is nothing that you can not do,” said Surya Khan, chairman of the tech firm Tata Consultancy Services North America, which is sponsoring the race.
“With every step you take, you build on that belief. This Sunday, it is not that we are just celebrating the return of the marathon, and the 50th year of the running, but we are also celebrating the power of belief,” he said.
The marathon — which is the world’s largest and generally draws about 50,000 runners — was canceled in June 2020 amid coronavirus safety concerns. It was replaced with a “virtual” marathon, disappointing endorphin junkies and spectators alike.
Previously, the only other time the marathon was scrapped was after Hurricane Sandy slammed the city in 2012.
This year’s race starts in Staten Island, then zigzags north through Brooklyn and Queens before heading west across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and the Bronx before looping back down to Central Park.
NYPD officials said the department will use on-the-ground staff along with hundreds of cameras and bomb-sniffing dogs to keep runners and spectators safe.
“We have over 600 cameras along this route, monitoring events and recording them [along with] dogs scanning the perimeter,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea added that NYPD staffing issues due to vaccination mandates won’t likely impact the event.
“They are negligible in the grand scheme of things. It will be fine for this detail,” Shea said.
“We think we’re in good shape. We’re all looking forward, as we said, to the marathon coming back. We’re going to have thousands and thousands of officers out there making sure that their runners and spectators are safe,” he said.