The five boroughs transformed into a runner’s paradise Sunday, as more than 50,000 took to the streets for the beloved ritual that is the New York City Marathon.
An estimated 1 million spectators lined the route, cheering enthusiastically for family, friends and even strangers, as the runners set off from Staten Island and wound their way through Queens, up First Avenue in Manhattan, into the Bronx, and back down to the Central Park finish line.
Temperatures in the 50s made for a perfect day for professional and amateur runners alike, as well as the crowds who brought noisemakers, homemade signs, music and their loud voices.
“Everyone has a common goal and everyone loves the community. We celebrate them,” said Pat Miller of Westchester, who was cheering on her son Jonathan, 38, of Brooklyn.
Two Kenyan runners — Mary Keitany, 33, in an unofficial time of 2:24:25 and Stanley Biwott, 29, in 2:10:34 — took the top spots in the professional category for the 45th annual race. Ernst Van Dyk, 42, of South Africa, won the men’s wheelchair division, while Tatyana McFadden, 26, of Maryland, won in the women’s division.
Along the race route, through neighborhoods of brownstones, tenements and high-rises alike, revelers held signs, rang bells and called out to the runners with words of encouragement. Live music blared and some in the crowd still donned Halloween costumes.
A group of 12 friends and family gathered in Long Island City to watch runners Emily Pierce, 27, of Arizona, and Greg Anderson, 28, of Queens.
Anna Pullaro, 26, of Astoria, who was tracking their progress on the route via a smartphone app, said, “We try to come every year. We love the excitement.”
The race is one of the premier running events in the world and attracts athletes who want to take in the city asphalt. Some fans of the race, who came from across the globe, enjoyed hopping all over the city to catch their loved ones.
“We saw him in Brooklyn and now we’re trying to catch him here and then we will meet him somewhere in Central Park at the end,” Lucas Strauss, 20, of Berlin, said of his father, who was among the runners.
Jamie Arroyo, 39, a Boston firefighter and Ridgewood native, eagerly wanted to take on the Big Apple challenge, according to his wife Charima, 39.
“This is where he grew up. If he was ever going to run a marathon, he said he wanted to do it here first,” she said as she waited with her two sons and Jamie’s relatives at the 17.5-mile mark on the Upper East Side.
“It is a dream to be here with so much emotion from the public,” said Yolanda Guiterrez, 28, of Galicia, Spain. “New York really came out and pushes us to the finish.”