Running Column 2009: Toughest Marathon

Running Column

Time was when the toughest thing about a marathon was running it, or training to run it.
But now, as the marathoning population continues to grow at a rate that even the continually burgeoning marathon calendar can’t keep up, entering a marathon may be equally as challenging. That’s certainly the case if the race is one of the “must run” events, like the Big Three of Boston, New York or Chicago or another popular marathon like Disney, Philadelphia, Marine Corps, or one of the numerous Rock ‘N’ Roll events. If you’ve always wanted to run the ING New York City Marathon, or if you’re a regular who runs it every year, get your mouse-clicking hand ready, as applications for the 2009 editions of the race will open on Thursday at noon at It’s a historic year as the race celebrates its 40th running. This year’s ING New York City Marathon will be on Sunday, November 1. “First timers and long timers alike won’t want to miss the 40th edition,” New York Road Runners CEO and marathon race director Mary Wittenberg said. “The marathon ‘class of 2009’ will be treated to an experience of a lifetime as we celebrate both our legendary champions and the nearly 788,000 participants who have crossed our finish line with a race week filled with unique events.” Applications for the lottery from individuals with a U.S. address will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 1, 2009, and results will be posted in mid-June. Applications from Entry fees for runners accepted through the lottery (as well as guaranteed entrants) will be $138 for New York Road Runners members and $171 for non-members. A record number of more than 105,000 people applied to the 2008 event, and the race hosted one of its largest fields ever with more than 38,000 finishers. Last year, more than $18 million was raised for charity, and the race’s economic impact totaled approximately $220 million. Organizers anticipate similar numbers this year, so it’s never too early to get your name on the list.
There are several ways to obtain a guaranteed entry to the race, either by meeting time criteria over a shorter distance race such as a half marathon, or by running nine NYRR events and volunteering at one (the last race to qualify for this year’s marathon was the Manhattan Half in January, but you can get a head start on 2010 by racing or working one of the almost weekly NYRR events now). Complete details on guaranteed entry are available at

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