New York City Marathon 2011 Preview: Opening Ceremonies

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 07: Competitors cross the finish line to complete the 41st ING New York City Marathon on November 7 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The ING New York City Marathon will hold a special opening ceremony on Friday, Nov. 4, including a Parade of Nations and Hall of Fame Presentation. On Saturday morning, runners can participate in the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K.

On Nov. 6, 2011, the 42nd annual New York City Marathon, sponsored by financial conglomerate ING, will send thousands of men and women sprinting across the five boroughs for a chance to be a part of history.

But that doesn't mean you have to wait until Sunday morning to enjoy the festivities.

The ING New York City Marathon will hold a special opening ceremony on Friday (Nov. 4) featuring the Parade of Nations, "designed to celebrate and recognize the global running community and showcase runners from around the world in a cultural parade across the marathon finish line."

And that's not all.

Later that evening, fans can experience the inaugural Hall of Fame Presentation followed by a fireworks display and pre-marathon dance party sponsored by Poland Spring.

Here's a rundown from the official website on what to expect from the opening ceremony and beyond, which begins at 6 p.m. ET in Central Park:

• Special performance by AntiGravity
• Parade of Nations featuring delegates from more than 75 countries, Achilles International, and Team For Kids
• Pro athlete appearances
• A “New York, New York” sing-along led by Gary Russo, the “Second Avenue Sinatra”
• Abebe Bikila Award presentation
• NYRR Hall of Fame “First Class” inductions
• Ceremonial “first finish” featuring a very special surprise guest!
• Poland Spring Presents the Marathon Fireworks
• Live entertainment from On the Move Entertainment’s Synergy Group

The opening ceremony is free and open to the public.

Just make sure you don't dance the night away, because Saturday morning (Nov. 5) at 8:30 a.m. ET is the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K, a 3.1 mile "flat and fast course" open to the public with proceeds benefiting the Central Park Conservancy.

It's a great way to get a taste of the marathon without huffing and puffing across 26 miles of pavement.

As a special incentive, all participants will be entered into a sweepstakes that will award five winners a non-complimentary but guaranteed spot into the NYC Marathon for 2012.

Between the opening ceremony, the Saturday morning run and the actual marathon, New Yorkers have a pretty busy weekend ahead of them.

For a closer look at our ING New York City Marathon preview and event thread click here.

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