The New York City Marathon has become the world's biggest and most popular 26.2-mile road race. (Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe) http://www.amny.com/secrets-of-new-york/secrets-of-the-new-york-city-marathon-1.9555299 The TCS New York City Marathon has come a long way since 1970. https://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.11012119.1478270712!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.jpg sports Secrets of the New York City Marathon Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx & Manhattan By Tara Conry Updated November 4, 2016 10:51 AM The TCS New York City Marathon has come a long way from its first running in 1970 to become the world's biggest and most popular 26.2-mile road race. From hand-me-down trophies and shenanigans on the course to celebrity participants and superhuman feats, here are 14 fun and surprising facts about the marathon in honor of the big race. Credit: Getty Images / Scott Gries It puts you on Ryan Reynolds' level Ryan Reynolds completed the marathon in 2008 in 3 hours and 50 minutes. And the list of celebrities who have completed the course goes on. Keep this in mind the next time you're playing that "six degrees of separation game." If you've previously participated in the race, know you are just 1-degree apart from Reynolds. Credit: Getty Images / Darrell Ingham Getting lost is possible It happened to elite runner German Silva, of Mexico, in 1994. Silva was in the lead when he made a wrong turn on Central Park South during the final mile of the marathon. He was supposed to continue west to Columbus Circle, but veered into the park instead. After 12 strides in the wrong direction, he realized his mistake, turned around and chased down Benjamin Paredes, who had taken the lead. Silva still won with a time of 2:11:21. Credit: Getty Images / Mark Mainz Diddy gave up sex for it While preparing to run the marathon in 2003, rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs told USA Today that his training regimen included 15-mile runs, anti-inflammatory drugs, a strict diet and no sex for two weeks. "I'm abstaining from sex," Combs said. "My hormones are raging ... but it's for the kids." Combs was running on behalf of three charities benefiting children, and raised $2 million. He also accomplished his goal of beating Oprah Winfrey's Marine Corps Marathon time of 4 hours and 29 minutes. Credit: Getty Images / Dimitar Dilkoff There's a 'Rocky' tradition around Mile 9 If runners start to feel like they're "getting strong now" around Mile 9 in Brooklyn, it might be because of the Bishop Loughlin High School band. Every year for the past 35 years, the group, dubbed "the original Marathon band," has been there playing the "Rocky" theme song, "Gonna Fly Now." They play it over and over again until every runner has gone by. Credit: iStock Bring on the carbs To help marathon runners fuel up for the race, the official Marathon Eve Dinner hosted by New York Road Runners serves 5,000 pounds of whole wheat pasta and 2.25 metric tons of rigatoni. Come hungry. Credit: iStock Would you run for a recycled trophy instead of cash? The total prize for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon was $705,000 with the men's and women's champions each receiving nearly $100,000. But in 1970, the winners went home with inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies instead. Although considering the fee to enter the race in 1970 was only $1, those prizes aren't too bad. Today the registration fee is around $250. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton Runners are heavy drinkers Aid stations throughout the 26.2-mile course are equipped with 62,370 gallons of water and 32,040 gallons of Gatorade. Oh, and 2.3 million paper cups, which will have to be picked up after runners toss them to the ground once their thirsts have been quenched. Credit: Newsday / Viorel Florescu No one is excluded from the race Vietnam veteran Bob Wieland lost both of his legs in 1969 to a mortar mine, but that didn't stop him from completing the marathon in 1987. It took Wieland about 98 hours, but he completed the 26-mile course by walking on his hands. Credit: Garth Vaughan People have said 'I do' on the course During the 1993 marathon, one couple from Chicago stopped at Mile 8 for more than just a water break. Tom Young, 32, donned a top hat and tuxedo while his girlfriend Pam Kezios, 31, wore a veil and white dress, as the pair got married on the course. After exchanging vows, they continued with the race. Credit: iStock It helps provide clothes for the needy Many marathon runners show up to the start village in Staten Island wearing layers of clothing they know they are going to discard either minutes before the race or a few miles in as their bodies warm up. Even though they never see the clothes again, volunteers collect it and give it to Goodwill. In 2013, they donated 26 tons of clothing. Credit: Getty Images The marathon was canceled in 2012 -- the first time in its history The 2012 marathon was scheduled for Nov. 4, but on Nov. 2, organizers canceled it because of Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on the city. Said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the time: "While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort...We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it." (Pictured, a woman slated to run in the marathon, spent the day delivering aid to affected Staten Island residents.) Credit: University of Central Missouri 'The Knitter' holds one of the oddest records The marathon has seen its fair share of record-breaking athletes, but one runner participating in the 2014 race may hold one of the oddest records. David Babcock, a professor at the University of Central Missouri, broke the Guinness World Record for longest scarf knitted while running a marathon. He first achieved the record in October 2014 while running the Kansas City Marathon, and then broke his own record while running in New York that same year. Credit: UPI, 1979 It helped change running for women When the marathon debuted in 1970, the Amateur Athletic Union barred women from running 26.2-mile distances. But according to Runner's World magazine, the race's founder Fred Lebow ignored the rules and actively recruited females. He also may have helped orchestrate a protest at his own race in 1972. By then, the AAU was letting certain women run provided they didn't start with the men, so Nina Kuscsik, pictured above, and five other females running New York that year did something profound when the starting gun went off. They sat down. Credit: John H. Cornell Jr. Humble beginnings More than 50,000 participants and millions of spectators participated in the 2015 marathon, but the first running of the race in 1970 had only 55 finishers. Back then, the course didn't span across the city's five boroughs, but rather runners had to complete loops within Central Park. By the 1977 marathon (pictured) it was a five-borough race. Credit: Getty Images 2008 was a deadly year The 2008 marathon (pictured) was marred by the death of three participants. Carlos Jose Gomes, 58, of Brazil fell unconscious after completing the race in 4:12:15. An autopsy revealed he had a pre-existing heart condition and died of a heart attack. Staten Island's Joseph Marotta, 66, also died of a heart attack hours after completing the race. And Fred Costa, 41, from Cincinnati, Ohio, collapsed at the marathon and died several days later from a heart attack. Previous Secret Next Secret Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.