The famous five boroughs of New York City host the course of the New York City Marathon, held every year on the first Sunday in November.
Starting on Staten Island, the athletes cross over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn, then continue up through Queens before turning west after 15 miles of racing to cross the East River and Roosevelt Island via Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan.
Turning north they make their way up First Avenue to The Bronx. Shortly after the 20 mile mark the competitors turn west and then south to run down the famous Fifth Avenue to finish the marathon distance of 26.219 miles (42.195 km) in Manhattan's Central Park.
Starting with small beginnings in 1970 with only 127 competitors, the race was run entirely within the confines of Central Park. To celebrate the bicentennial of the United States in 1976, the proposal was made to run the race through the five boroughs and this has remained the annual course to the present day.
In 1978 the Norwegian Grete Waitz broke the women's world record for the marathon and she went on to win the race a further eight times. She completed her last New York Marathon in 1992 with her close friend and race co-founder Fred Lebow, who ran the race while in a period of remission from brain cancer. He died two years later in 1994.
A wheelchair and handcycle division was added to the race in 2002.
In 2012 the race was cancelled two days before the event, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Some of the entrants stayed on in New York to help with the clean up efforts.
The current course records are held by the Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai (2011) and Margaret Okayo (2003).
Now the most popular marathon on the planet, almost 100,000 runners are enrolled for the 2017 event.