NYC Marathon Runners (Image via NYC Parks)
This Sunday, the TCS New York City Marathon will once again feature over 40,000 runners, along with a countless number of Gatorade cups, filling the 26.2 mile route across all of the cities boroughs. The marathon is the largest in the country, with thousands of spectators along the marathon route, and millions of people watching at home. The event is one of the biggest in NYC, with a storied history we covered and updated for this year’s marathon. However, the historical relationship between NYC and marathons has its origins long before the current incarnation started in 1970. Beginning in the early 1900s, marathons have been events that have captured the attention of New Yorkers. For a look back, we present a timeline of the major marathons held in NYC before the birth of the current NYC Marathon.
Johnny Hayes (Image via DCTKD)
The first marathon to take place in the NYC area happened in November, 1907 and was won by a Bloomingdale’s employee named John J. Hayes, also known as “Johnny.” The 25 mile “marathon” took place in Yonkers, with Hayes training on the roof of the store he worked for, on a path made for him by the company. One year later, in London, Hayes would go on to win the Olympic gold and set the world record. He was the first and only Olympic gold medalist to enter into the marathon until 1972.