Tag Archives: New York

New York facing challenges behind the scenes

Runners are hoping for better news in the 2013 ING NYC marathon.

Runners are hoping for better news in the 2013 ING NYC marathon.

We’re still four months away from a foot pounding Central Park in anger, but the 2013 ING New York City Marathon is already facing challenges behind the scenes. Fresh off the cancellation mismanagement in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last year, news is now surfacing that the race will be searching for a new naming rights sponsor and is struggling to fill charity entry allocations.

Following a decision to rebrand and move away from it’s Netherland parent-company, ING US will not renew it’s naming night sponsorship of New York and will withdraw from long distance running sponsorships in the USA, including races in Miami and Connecticut. They have been the primary sponsor of NYC since 2003. The New York Road Runners (NYRR) are reportedly seeking $10m a year for naming rights.

In another blow, it has surfaced that half of the more than 8,000 spots allocated for runners raising money for charities are not filled. It is speculated that the low uptake may be due to the mismanagement of last year’s race, fear following the Boston Marathon bombing in April and the fact that NYRR were behind schedule in allocating the charity spots, doing so only eight weeks ago.

The marathoning community, especially in the US, could certainly use a boost following the issues surrounding both Boston and New York so we hope that these are just minor glitches on the way to restoring the NYC Marathon back to its prestige of been the most desired race for marathoners.


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The 2013 elite marathon schedule

Tokyo will launch the 2013 World Marathon Majors

Tokyo will launch the 2013 World Marathon Majors

The year after an Olympics is always hard to follow, but a quick glance at the marathon calendar appears to have plenty to keep the interest flowing. The highlight will be the IAAF World Championships, held in Moscow. The women’s marathon will be on the opening day of the event, Saturday 10 August while the men will be on the penultimate day, Saturday 17 August.

In terms of the first main race of the year, Dubai will unofficially start off the year on 25 January, where it is expected there will be a cluster of super fast times similar to last year. For the formal World Marathon Major schedule however it will be a debut race to start off the year with the addition of Tokyo running on 24 February.

From there the calendar can be planned out as follows:

  • Boston Marathon, 15 April
  • Virgin London Marathon, 21 April
  • Berlin Marathon, 29 September
  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 13 October
  • ING New York City Marathon, 3 November

The big question will be which nation will dominate the 2013 marathon year? 2011 was so clearly owned by the Kenyans but 2012 saw Ethiopia claw back some ground.

2013datesThe World Marathon Majors last year still saw a strong Kenyan dominance with Wesley Korir winning Boston, Wilson Kipsang in London and Geoffrey Mutai running the fastest time of the year in winning Berlin while Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kebede won Chicago. There was no winner for New York with the race cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich scored the upset win at the Olympics.

On the women’s front Ethiopia took three of the five majors; Aberu Kebede winning in Berlin, Atsede Baysa in Chicago and Tiki Gelana running away with the Olympic title. For Kenya it was 2011-12 World Marathon Major winner, Mary Keitany, who won last year’s London Marathon and compatriot Sharon Cherup taking the honours in Boston.

In terms of standings in the 2012-13 World Marathon Majors title, both the men’s and women’s tables are evenly balanced.

For the men Ethiopia’s Kebede and Kenya’s Kipsang lead the men’s title on 35 points each, Korir is third on 26 points and Kiprotich and Mutai round out the top five on 25 points.

On the women’s side it is defending champ Keitany in the lead on 35 points and then five tied in second place on 25 points; Kenya’s Cherop and Priscah Jeptoo and three Ethipioan’s in  Baysa, Gelana and Kebede.

The attention may not be as singularly focused as the London Olympics last year, but 2013 is shaping up to be a great year in elite international marathon running!

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New York cancelled!

Eventually the debate got too much and the pin has been pulled on the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.

Despite the fact the marathon was not diverting public resources or hampering the recovery, the fact that it was just felt as inappropriate by much of the media and public has finally won out.

Earlier today the NYRR and Mayor Bloomberg issued the following statement:

The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled.While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm.

The sentiment appears to be justified with a number of runners on social media claiming that they felt worried that runners could be targeted but pleasingly most entrants have taken the news in their stride. There is acknowledgement of why the decision had to be made and most entrants now are choosing between staying in New York and volunteering to help with recovery work, or boarding planes and finding alternative races to enter – the Indianapolis Marathon being the most likely. Some of the commentary from Twitter can be found below; don’t forget to follow us @Mintervals

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Where in the world…

While Kenya and Ethiopia are rightfully seen as the global powerhouses in the marathon world, some quick analysis of the elite fields for this year’s ING New York City Marathon shows just how diverse the sport it.

The latest publicly available list of the elite fields has 45 men and 43 women listed. This is made up with runners from 21 countries. Not surprisingly given it is a US event, but Americans make up 24 of the 45 men and 20 of the 43 women.

Ethiopia and Kenya are next on the number of entrants, with eight and six respectively, but as NYRR spokesman Richard Finn told ESPN, the New York field is not assembled based on trying to break world records or on one or two big names headling the event.

‘We look at an athlete with an unusual story or fantastic personality, even if she is not the fastest. That athlete is more interesting to a general audience, and helps us promote our marathon and the sport.”

The international flavour well and truly flows through into the general public field, with entrants running from 125 countries in last year’s event. It is hard to tell if the fall out from Sandy will impact the number for this years event, but it can be assumed that the city that hosts the United Nations will still do a great job of representing many of them in the NYC Marathon.

It is true that as you get down to the pointy end of the race, the diversity is limited with the top ten men coming from just five countries, four of them Kenyans. The women’s field is more varied, with the top 10 representing eight countries, the only multiples been two entrants each from Kenya and Ethiopia.

While this sort of analysis will have no bearing on who will be the ultimate winner come race day, it is interesting to see the make up of the elite field for a race like this. It wil be just as interesting to compare the make up of the finishing order by country, for both the elites and generally field.

One thing that can be assured though is that the flags of the world will be on display come race day!

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Sandy cramps but not cripples ING NYC Marathon

Anyone who has attended a coordinated running event, whether it is a major city marathon, a local free five-kilometre parkRun or a race of any size and complexity in between, would know that these affairs don’t happen by themselves and require a massive amount of organisation. They need the help of local governments or councils, they need medical staff, they need emergency services and they need volunteers.

So imagine what is going through the mind of the organisers of the ING NYC Marathon four days out from the race and only hours after Hurricane Sandy has blasted New York, flooded streets, closed subways and stretched emergency and government resources.

The organiser of the ING NYC Marathon, New York Road Runners (NYRR) President Mary Wittenberg, issued a heartfelt and well measured statement today:

This is a very challenging time for the people and City of New York. The City is rightfully focused on assessment, restoration and recovery.

At NYRR, we stand with our City agency partners and support their efforts. The Marathon has always been a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this City.

NYRR continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation. We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events.

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has declared that the marathon “will go on as normal, as of now”. NYRR will reportedly work with the local government officials to determine the impact of flooding and damage and assess what race modifications may be necessary in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
In addition to the sheer logistics of organising the event on the day, thousands of entrants and their families and friends are stuck in the chaos resulting from the cancellation of more than 16,000 flights nationally due to Sandy. For many, the marathon will have begun long before the official 26.2 miles kicks off. Even the elite athletes are caught up in the delays, with organisers rescheduling flights in order to ensure they can attend. Sadly for some runners though, the disruptions have meant the end of the race before a step is taken.
In addition to flight dramas, flooding in the subway will further hamper transport options for those who do make it to NYC, and historically 25,000 entrants travel on the Staten Island Ferry to get to the start line. These complexities mean that while the race may still go ahead, it is likely to be a significantly smaller field than usual.

Further information will be provided closer to the event, including any potential changes to course. It is important to note that the marathon course itself does not pass through Lower Manhattan, which experienced the most flooding and power outages. We certainly hope that the event can be run smoothly and entrants can put their months of training to the test.

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