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New York City Marathon 2012 preview: Race expected to go on as planned on Sunday

Despite Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City on Monday, New York City Marathon officials expect the race to go on as planned Sunday. The race has been run annually since 1970 and had over 40,000 participants in 2011.

Patrick McDermott

Since 1970, the New York City Marathon has become one of the most popular events in New York City, and one of the signature long distance racing events in the world. Despite Hurricane Sandy hitting the city on Monday, the race is expected to go on as planned this coming Sunday.

The marathon began under humble beginnings in 1970, when Fred Lebrow of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) organized the event, which saw just 55 of the 127 starters finish the 26.2 mile course. In those early years, the race was run on a loop around Central Park, until six years in, when Lebrow rerouted the course to be run through all five of New York City's boroughs. That route -- through all of New York City -- remains today.

And since its humble beginnings, the race has grown, with 40,000 starters entering the event in 2011. Included in that field was Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, who set a marathon record with his 2:05:06 time. Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado won the women's event in 2011 with a time of 2:23:15.

The marathon also added a wheelchair division in 2000.