YONKERS, N.Y. — The world’s second-oldest marathon will return to Yonkers on Sunday, with organizers hoping to attract a record-setting crowd.
The 87th running of the Yonkers Marathon and Half-Marathon will get under way at 8 a.m. Sept. 16. With a record crowd of 700 participants crossing the finish line in 2011, organizers are expecting an even better turnout this year.
“Our goal in 2012 is to keep growing the race, put together a great post-race party, learn a little, and maybe impress the city and our fellow runners a bit,” Steve Lastoe, founder of race producer NYCRUNS, said in a news release.
First held on Thanksgiving Day in 1907, the Yonkers Marathon is steeped in history. For years it served as an Olympic trials course, hosting running legends such as John Kelley and Ted Corbitt, NYCRUNS said. Today, the race is run on a United States Track and Field-certified route, with the full marathon serving as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
While the Yonkers race may not be as well-known as some others on the East Coast, the city fields an impressive course, organizers say.
“If Yonkers is the crown jewel of American distance running many consider it, it has often been a hidden gem and a diamond in the rough,” they write on the Yonkers Marathon website.
City officials said they are excited for this year’s event to kick off.
“Yonkers is proud to host this historic event once again,” Mayor Mike Spano, who will open the race, said in a statement. “It is our hope, with the help of NYCRUNS, that we will return this race to its original glory, making it a prominent event in the region.”
Runners will start the full and half-marathons at 8 a.m. in front of the Yonkers Riverfront Library in downtown Yonkers. From there they will head east, up Warburton Avenue into Hastings-on-Hudson.
After making a U-turn on Main Street, they will continue south on New Broadway, then onto Nepperhan Avenue, past City Hall and eventually to South Broadway. From there, another U-turn will bring them onto Valentine Lane, up Riverdale Avenue and back to Buena Vista.
Full marathon runners will circle the 13-mile course a second time, finishing the race just before they reach Yonkers Pier. Win or lose, all marathon and half-marathon participants will receive T-shirts and commemorative medals.
Afterward, runners and their families can cool down when NYCRUNS hosts a post-race party on the waterfront. Awards will be handed out, served with food and beverages and accompanied by live entertainment.
Race registration is open online and also will be available on-site the day of the race until 7:30 a.m.