#TBT: 10 Memorable NYC Marathon Moments

November 05, 2015 - By: Sarah Pease

The TCS New York City Marathon is the last race of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) for 2015. While this legendary race tests a runner’s athleticism, it also celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. So, for #TBT, we’ve compiled 10 of the NYC Marathon’s most memorable moments. We suggest playing “Chariots of Fire” or “Eye of the Tiger” in the background as you read the list.

10. A Race is Born Forty-five years ago, Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta held the
inaugural New York City Marathon. The course was entirely contained within Central Park, the entry fee was $1, and out of the 127 runners that started the race, only 55 finished!

9. Women Make Their Mark In 1972, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) believed women should only run 10 miles and be given a 10-minute head start. To protest, six women sat down for 10 minutes, and then started with the men. As punishment, an additional 10 minutes was added to their finish times.

8. South Africa Competes The end of apartheid signaled exciting new beginnings for South African athletes who had been barred from international sports competition for years. In 1992, Willie Mtolo became the first South African to complete and win the NYC Marathon.

7. Stars and Stripes Reign In 2009 Meb Keflezighi brought the red, white, and blue across the finish line to become the first American to win the NYC Marathon since Alberto Salazar in 1982. It is also the last time an American has won.

6. Slow, but Steady Sometimes, heart trumps hustle. Bob Wieland, a Vietnam veteran and double amputee, completed both the 1986 (98:48:17) and the 1987 Marathons (over 81 hours) by propelling himself with his arms.

5. Sandy Dampens Spirits In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, race officials and organizers made the tough decision to cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon for the first time in its history. All the supplies, including generators, food and water, were distributed to those in need.

4. Waitz Wins #9 When unknown Norwegian track runner Grete Waitz ran in the 1978 NYC Marathon (her first), she not only won, but set a world record of 2:32:20. In 1988 she won again for the ninth and last time.

3. From Miner to Marathoner During Edison Pena’s 69 days trapped in a Chilean mine, he ran six to seven miles as a way to survive and encourage his fellow miners. A month after his rescue, he ran in the 2010 NYC Marathon with a time of just under six hours.

2. Down to the Wire A runner winning by tenths of a second is common in track and field events, but in a marathon? That’s exactly what happened in the 2005 race when Kenyan Paul Tergat defeated South African Hendrick Ramaala by 0.03 seconds.

1. Fred Lebow Finishes Two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer, NYC Marathon founder Fred Lebow celebrated his 60th birthday by running in the 1992 race with Grete Waitz by his side—coaching him through the pain to finish the race in five and a half hours. 

Photo Credit: Shawn Powell, Instagram  


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