The TCS New York City Marathon kicked off without a hitch on Sunday as thousands turned out to watch the runners and cheer them on, waving signs and balloons as well as shouting names of loved ones as they sped by.
“It’s great to celebrate as a community. It feels hopeful,” said Upper East Side resident Jennifer Rothberg, 34, who stood along First Avenue, near 86th street. “It’s great to come together, almost like a small town.”
Specators stationed along First Avenue cheered on the 50,000 runners, many wearing matching T-shirts or holding signs, including several asking the marathoners to run for beer. People shouted names as the race progressed.
Kayla McCaffrey, 28, was tracking her sister’s progress on Sunday. McCaffrey ran the marathon herself two years ago.
“I’m almost jealous,” said McCaffrey, who lives on the Upper East Side. “It’s the best, it’s thrilling to see someone you know. I was anxious for her this morning.”
After the finish line, she said, there will be lots of Champagne.
“This is an iconic New York race and I love that the city kind of shut down for something positive,” she added.
In Brooklyn, many gathered near the corner of Fourth and Atlantic avenues, erupting into spurts of cheering as groups of runners moved through. Top 40 hits blaring through loudspeakers lent and air of celebration to annual run.
“I feel like it just defines the spirit of New York,” said Jessica Hopkins, 28, an occupational therapist from Boerum Hill. “I think it’s amazing they run through each borough.”
Because every borough is so culturally unique, she added, it’s “like running through the world.”
Frank Zimmel, 43, from Long Island, was tracking his brother’s progress on the marathon’s app with his 7-year-old son perched on his shoulders.
“You put your mind to anything, you can do anything,” Zimmel said. “He trained really hard for this and I’m glad he’s fulfilling a goal. It’s a good example.”
Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Kenya’s Mary Keitany were the top finishers of the annual marathon. Ghebreslassie, the youngest man to win the race at 20 years old, finished the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 51 seconds.