News08 Nov 2022

Heritage Plaque presented to NYRR at New York City Marathon


NYCM Race Director Ted Metellus, NYRR CEO Kerin Hempel and Tracy Sundlun with World Athletics Heritage Plaque

The World Athletics Heritage Plaque which was awarded to the New City York Marathon (NYCM) in 2021 to mark the 50th edition of the marathon, which helped establish and define the worldwide mass race movement, was officially handed over to the New York Road Runners at their Race Director Reception on Thursday 3 November 2022.

The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking.

The plaque was presented on behalf of World Athletics by Tracy Sundlun at a reception attended by a wide range of industry professionals. The venue was the Marathon Pavilion located adjacent to the NYCM finish line, in Central Park, in Manhattan, New York City.

Sundlun, a former Executive Director of TAC / USATF, men’s team manager for the USA from 2008 to 2018, and Chairman of the organising committee and race director of the 1987 Race Walking World Cup in New York, has been involved in all aspects of the sport for more than 50 years at an international level.

The plaque was handed over by Sundlun to NYRR CEO Kerin Hempel and NYCM Race Director Ted Metellus.

“Every big-city marathon, other than Boston, was inspired by the success of New York, and used New York as their template,” said Sundlun. “As the co-founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series (in San Diego), I was involved in creating and/or running more than 35 large city marathons and half marathons in 19 states, Washington DC, and eight other countries for 19 years … and our stated goal in EVERY city was to be their New York City Marathon! The New York City Marathon started the first running boom. It was the model for how to take our sport to the people.”

“This is a tremendous honour to receive this recognition,” said Hempel. “The plaque will be displayed at the Pavilion throughout race weekend including at our gala, and hospitality events before we move it to its permanent location at the NYRR RunCenter after marathon Sunday.”

The first New York City Marathon took place in 1970 and was held entirely in Central Park. There were just 127 entrants and only 55 of them finished. By 2018, the number of participants crossing the finish line was more than 55,000. Among the victors in the Big Apple have been Bill Rodgers, Douglas Wakiihuri, Paul Tergat, Grete Waitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, and Mary Keitany.

Chris Turner for World Athletics Heritage