A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 12, 2004
New York City Marathon
The New York Marathon (started in 1970) has grown into one of New York City's greatest sporting events. It's usually won by some runner from not from New York, but whatever.

New York Road Runners

Founded in 1958 with 47 members, New York Road Runners (NYRR) has grown into the world's foremost running organization, with a membership of 40,000. NYRR conducts more than 100 events each year, including races, classes, clinics, and lectures. In addition, the NYRR Foundation creates school-based running teams through Running Partners, a youth development program serving schools with few or no recreation programs.

Headquartered in a townhouse at 9 East 89th Street in Manhattan, NYRR is both a national and international athletic organization as well as a local clubhouse, with the mission of promoting the sport of running for health, recreation, and competition. NYRR membership supports this mission and provides numerous benefits, including discounts on merchandise, classes, and race fees (including the ING New York City Marathon), and a subscription to New York Runner, our quarterly magazine.

History of the
New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, in 1970, had 55 finishers and a total budget of $1,000. From this humble beginning, the race has grown to become a weeklong, worldwide celebration. On the guest list: 35,000 athletes, 12,000 volunteers, thousands of city employees, more than two million spectators lining the course, and tens of millions more television viewers around the globe, joined together by friendship, sport, and human potential.

In 1976, to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial, the marathon moved from the confines of Central Park to the streets of New York City's five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. In the months leading up to the first five-borough race, nobody was exactly sure WHAT would happen. Even Frank Shorter, who had won the Olympic marathon gold medal in 1972 and the silver in '76, admitted he only showed up to see if the police could actually clear the streets. They did, and Shorter joined 2,089 others on a tour of New York City, eventually finishing second to Bill Rodgers.

The field continued to grow in size and diversity. More than 9,000 entrants participated in Grete Waitz's world-record race in 1978, and nearly 27,000 crossed the finish line in 1995. In the few years since the race's first official wheelchair division in 2000, the ING New York City Marathon has grown to become one of the most competitive wheelchair marathons anywhere in the world. In 2001, less than two months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the marathon became a race of hope and renewal for participants, spectators, and all New Yorkers, and patriotism ran high as the marathon hosted the men's and womens USA Marathon Championships.

13 September 1970, New York Times, pg. S25:
Husband-Wife Teams Entered
In Marathon Run Here Today


Nearly 200 entrants were expected to show up in Central Park at 11 o'clock this morning for the running of the firswt New York Marathon.

Under the auspices of the New York City Department of Recreation and the Road Runners Club of New York, the marathon will be run ovcer a carefully laid out 26-mile-385=yard course in the park, beginning and ending at Tavern on the Green.

Since the race has been sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union, women are not allowed to compete officially. But Fred Lebow, one of the co-directors of the marathon, was not discouraging women from running in the race and he promised prizes for all finishers. Applications were still being accepted this morning at $1 an entry.

"We're giving out 10 watches, 35 beer mugs, and everyone who finishes will receive a commemorative medallion," said Lebow, an executive with Taylor Knits, who became interested in running two years ago when Mayor Lindsay closed the park to auto traffic and opened it to cyclists and joggers.

Posted by Barry Popik
Sports/Games • Sunday, December 12, 2004 • Permalink

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