Some argue it’s time to make changes to the world’s largest marathon.
Due to it’s difficulty and slow times, many world-class runners skip the ING New York City Marathon, opting instead to try their hand on fast, flat courses like London or Berlin.
Deena Kastor did it. “It was a choice not to do New York and try to go somewhere and run fast,” said Kastor, who planned to race in New York this year but withdrew when she learned she was pregnant.
The Chicago Marathon’s race director, Carey Pinkowksi, has alluded to the appeal of his race’s fast course. “You can see a point at an athlete’s career where it just makes sense to bring them to our event,” he said. “Tsegaye [Kebede] and Sammy [Wanjiru] wanted to run fast and they wanted to meet each other, so I think all those factors complemented their decisions to come here.”
But recruiting world-class talent to run a slower New York course is just one factor in play. With 120,000 runners applying for just 45,000 bibs, there’s also justification to make course adjustments to accommodate higher participation.