2021 New York Marathon: Start Times, Route Map, Celebrity Runners & More


After a long year without a marathon, the New York Marathon returns triumphantly on Sunday, November 7.

About 30,000 runners have registered to sweat, hurt and push their legs to the max on the 26.2-mile course that crosses the five boroughs. The race begins in Staten Island and passes through Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx before ending in Central Park in Manhattan.

Runners have been waiting for Sunday’s race for two years, since 2019, as last year’s race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The last time a New York City Marathon was canceled before that was in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy.

While this year’s race will be largely unchanged from previous years, runners and spectators will see new precautions in place for Covid-19.

Conditions for Sunday look like perfect race weather, with a forecast for partly cloudy skies and temperatures reaching 40 degrees in the morning.

Ted Metellus, the race director, compared the feeling of celebration of this year’s marathon to the 2001 race, which took place shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The field size that year was also smaller and had fewer international athletes, he said, but large numbers of New Yorkers came to the race to shout their support and cheer on the city as ‘she was returning to a sense of normalcy.

“It was a time when the city came out and showed tremendous appreciation,” said Metellus. “So many thanks, so many welcome feedback. I have a feeling that there will be a similar feeling this year in 2021, considering what we all went through last year. “

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s race.

  • 8h00 Professional wheelchair division

  • 8:22 Handbike category and some disabled athletes

  • 8:40 Professional women

  • 9:05 am Professional men

  • 9:10 a.m. Wave 1

  • 9:55 a.m. Wave 2

  • 10:40 a.m. Wave 3

  • 11:20 a.m. Wave 4

  • 12h00 Wave 5

The 26.2 mile race begins at Staten Island and turns north through Brooklyn and Queens. Runners then head west across the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan, north into the Bronx, then return to Manhattan to finish in Central Park.

If you’re looking for an easy transit option through town, go to the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, served by trains B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

If you’re looking to make a big impact on runners, head to the Bronx. The 20 mile mark of the race, approximately 135th Street and Alexander Avenue, is a notoriously difficult part of the race where runners can hit the proverbial “wall”.

If you’re the type of person who likes to cheer a crowd, First Avenue from 59th Street to 96th Street in Manhattan is always crowded with spectators, especially with all the bars and restaurants on this part of the route.

  • 9:30 a.m. Male professional athletes in wheelchairs

  • 9:40 a.m. Professional wheelchair athletes

  • 11:05 Professional women

  • 11:15 a.m. Professional men

  • From 11:55 am Pavers throughout the day

The field of 30,000 participants is about 40% smaller than the 2019 event, which saw just over 53,000 runners.

Runners must provide proof of at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of the race. Vaccination data for this year’s runner list is still being compiled, said Stuart Lieberman, spokesperson for the New York Road Runners, which host the marathon each year.

Race organizers have also taken several measures to reduce crowd sizes in some areas and require masks in the start and post-finish areas. Runners will start in five different waves, one more wave than in previous years, giving people more time to spread out along the course. Runners will also now be allowed to wear fuel and hydration belts during the race to limit crowds at water stations.

At the finish line, marathon staff and volunteers will hand participants their medals and ponchos rather than draping them directly over their necks.

The marathon is broadcast live on ESPN2 nationwide (8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST) and WABC-TV, Channel 7 locally (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST).

The race is also broadcast on a variety of global networks, listed here.

The United States Women’s National Football Team has several former Olympic gold medalists and World Cup winners, including Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Leslie Osborne and Kate Markgraf.

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is a veteran marathoner who will compete in his seventh New York Marathon in person. Model and activist Christy Turlington is also a seasoned marathoner and will be participating in this year’s event.

Broadway actress and Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara; Grammy-winning musicians Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons; as well as several stars of the “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” franchises, including Tayshia Adams and Matt James, are also among the celebrities in the running.

Alexandra E. Petri contributed reports.

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