One of the biggest anniversaries in the history of running will be celebrated on Sunday.
The New York City Marathon, the world's largest marathon, will be held for the 50th time. The top star is Ethiopia's running legend Kenenisa Bekele.
From 55 finishers to over 50,000 finishers in 5 decades
What began in 1970 with 127 starters and 55 finishers has grown in more than five decades to become the largest marathon event in the world. From 2016 to 2019, there have been more than 50,000 finishers at each of the New York City Marathons. On November 7, 2021, however, there won't be quite as many at the 50th anniversary. That's because the starting field has been limited to 33,000 runners for this year, many of whom registered won't be able to participate anyway due to travel restrictions. Nevertheless, it will be one of the biggest marathons since the beginning of the Corona pandemic.
2 top stars with question marks
The top stars at the 50th New York City Marathon are Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele and Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir. However, there is a big question mark behind both of them. Because the preparation for the marathon in the Big Apple was anything but optimal for the duo.
Only 6 weeks marathon break for Kenenisa Bekele
Kenenisa Bekele competed only six weeks ago at the Berlin Marathon, where he was the big loser with 2:06:47 hours as third. Bekele wanted to attack his personal best of 2:01:41 hours in the German capital and thus also the marathon world record of Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:39 hours), which is only two seconds faster. But the former world record holder over the 10,000 meters and the 5,000 meters caught a pitch-black day and ultimately even missed the victory in a defensive race. Now he wants to run to triumph in New York just six weeks later.
Dangerous outsider: Abdi Nageeye
The competition for Bekele to win the $100,000 prize is strong. Abdi Nageeye, for example, is at the starting line. The Dutchman impressed in the summer with an Olympic silver medal over the marathon distance. Even if his personal best of a modest 2:06:17 hours does not reflect his actual performance, he could be the big spoiler for Bekele in New York. In total, eight athletes are entered with best times under 2:10 hours.
Half marathon world record holder makes debut
Making his marathon debut is half marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie. The 25-year-old Kenyan became the first person in the world to run the half marathon distance in under 58 minutes at the Valencia Half Marathon in December 2020, clocking 57:32.
Strong women's trio
In the women's race, of course, reigning Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir is the top favorite. The Kenyan won the Olympic marathon in Sapporo three months ago with 2:27:30 hours, her best time is 2:17:16 hours. This also puts her at the top of the entry list in New York. Whether she is already fully recovered from the Olympic exertions remains the big question. In addition, there has never been an Olympic marathon champion who went on to win a fall marathon after winning the Olympics. So far, however, Jepchirchir had won every marathon race in which she had participated.
With the Ethiopian Ruti Aga (2:18:34 hours) and Helalia Johannes (2:19:52 hours) from Namibia there are two dangerous outsiders. Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh (2:20:51 hours), who is one of the fastest runners over the half marathon distance with a half marathon best time of 64:31 minutes, also has a good chance of winning.
Olympic heroine Molly Seidel at the start
Strongly represented is the American women's team, where, among others, Olympic hero Molly Seidel is competing. She ran to a surprising bronze in the marathon in Sapporo. Des Linden (2:22:28 hours), Kellyn Taylor (2:24:49 hours) and Sally Kipyego (2:25:10 hours) can also hope for top times for the USA.
New York City Marathon LIVE on TV and via Live Stream
The race will be broadcast live via Eurosport 2 (Germany, Austria), ESPN (USA) and Rai Sport (Italy).
Start list: New York City Marathon 2021 - Elite Men
Kenenisa Bekele - Ethiopia - 2:01:41
Abdi Nageeye - Netherlands - 2:06:17
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie - Eritrea - 2:07:11
Eyob Faniel - Italy - 2:07:19
Albert Korir - Kenya - 2:08:03
Noah Droddy - USA - 2:09:09
Mohamed El Aaraby - Morocco - 2:09:16
Jared Ward - USA- 2:09:25
Kibiwott Kandie - Kenya - Debut
Augustine Choge - Kenya - Debut
Teshome Mekonen - Ethiopia - Debut
Start List: New York City Marathon 2021 - Elite Women
Peres Jepchirchir - Kenya - 2:17:16
Ruti Aga - Ethiopia - 2:18:34
Helalia Johannes - Namibia - 2:19:52
Ababel Yeshaneh - Ethiopia - 2:20:51
Des Linden - USA - 2:22:28
Kellyn Taylor - USA - 2:24:29
Sally Kipyego - USA - 2:25:10
Molly Seidel - USA - 2:25:13
Laura Thweatt - USA - 2:25:38
Andrea Ramirez Limon - Mexico - 2:26:34
Haruka Yamaguchi - Japan - 2:26:35
Stephanie Bruce - USA - 2:27:47
Lanni Marchant - Canada - 2:28:00
Viola Cheptoo - Kenya - Debut