New York City Marathon goes virtual for its 50th running

NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) — Sunday would have been the 50th running of the New York City Marathon, but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic — many athletes as well as fans didn’t give up and honored the event virtually.

“The NYC Marathon went virtual this year, but its spirit remained the same. No matter how great the challenge, we all have it in us to not just finish but finish strong. That’s a message we need this year more than ever,” tweeted Mayor Bill de Blasio Sunday afternoon, with a photo attached showing a contestant running to the finish line where the mayor and other staff stood wearing masks.

As one of many marathons to offer a virtual form due to the impact of the coronavirus, runners could sign up to complete a 26.2-mile route of their choosing within a two-week span for this year’s New York City Marathon.

More than 28,000 runners from 130 countries and all 50 states signed up for the race, according to New York Road Runners, the organization that puts on the annual marathon. About 21 percent of those runners were based in the New York metropolitan area.

“Many New York runners tackled the beloved route separately,” reported the New York Times on Sunday.

Although they could not run across the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, site of the customary start, they could follow the course down Fourth Avenue and Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, over the Queensboro Bridge, through Manhattan and the Bronx, and hurl their bodies over the “finish line” in Central Park, it added.

The New York City Marathon is an annual competition that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 53,508 finishers in 2019 and 98,247 applicants for the 2017 race.

It is organized by New York Road Runners and has been run every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012, when it was cancelled due to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, and 2020, when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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