6. Nine Out of Eleven
The late, and most definitely great, Grete Waitz set her first world record (of many) when she ran the NYC Marathon for the first time in 1978. She ran the marathon 11 times after that, and in 1988 won her ninth NYC Marathon and the title of the most marathon wins ever.
5. Four-Day Finish
In 1969 Bob Wieland was declared dead (mistakenly) after stepping on a mortar mine while serving in Vietnam. Seventeen years later he became the first person without legs to finish the New York City Marathon. He finished in about four days, using only his arms. He inspired amputees all over the world, but he probably would have finished quicker without the inspired fans stopping him along the route.
photo by The New York Daily News
4. Everyone's Invited
When the NYC Marathon humbly launched in 1970, it consisted of four loops around Central Park. In 1976, at the rise of the running boom, founder Fred Lebow boldly decided to take the marathon to the streets of NYC, emcompassing all five boroughs. The success of this change thrusted the New York City Marathon into the spotlight and "launched road racing into the fastlane of fitness," according to New York Road Runners.