This year's New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 03, 2018 04:56 PM

Thousands of runners will hit the streets on Sunday for one of the preeminent sporting events in the world — the 2018 New York City Marathon.

The race, which started with just 55 participants way back in 1970, has grown to a massive scale, and an estimated 55,000 runners are expected to pound the pavement come Sunday morning.

If you’re planning to catch the 26.2-mile marathon from the comfort of your own home, you can tune on ESPN 2 or watch on the network’s website and app. If you’re in the New York tri-state area, you can simply turn to ABC 7 to watch.

Athletes with physical impairments (many of whom will use wheelchairs and handcycles) are scheduled to hit the route at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the first wave of runners at 9:50 a.m., the second at 10:15 a.m., the third at 10:40 a.m. and the last at 11 a.m.

If you don’t know what all the excitement is about, or simply need a refresher about why the NYC Marathon is such a big deal, here are five things to know about world-famous race.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea in the 2016 NYC Marathon
| Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

There’s a Large Sum of Money on the Line

NYC Marathon runners aren’t just competing for a medal and a pat on the back — there are hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs for the top place finishers.

The winners from both the male and female divisions can earn $100,000, with second and third earning $60,000 and $40,000, respectively. In all, there is $825,000 worth of guaranteed prize money for the athletes.

Shalane Flanagan crosses the finish line in the 2017 NYC Marathon
| Credit: Seth Wenig/AP

Last Year’s Winners

During the 47th New York City Marathon, the men’s group was dominated by Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, while Shalane Flanagan of the U.S. took home first place in the women’s division. Flanagan’s win was historic, as she became the first American woman to win the marathon in over four decades. Both Kamworor and Flanagan, who is an Olympic silver medalist, will be racing again this year.

Celebrities Will Be Running Too!

If you look closely at the tens of thousands of participants making their way through New York City, you have a good chance of catching a celebrity or two. Actress Teri Hatcher, former NFL player Tiki Barber, Olympian Erin Hamlin and celebrity chef Dan Churchill have already announced they will be running, according to Runner’s World.

Runners Go Through All 5 Boroughs (and Leave Quite the Mess)

In its infancy, the NYC Marathon was held entirely within Central Park. But in 1976, the race expanded to include all five boroughs, and Sunday’s race will begin on Staten Island. Runners will then make their way through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and, finally, to Central Park in Manhattan.

As the runners travel through the city, its estimated that they will leave nearly 26 tons of clothing on the ground, all within the first few miles. Fortunately, thousands of volunteers have been recruited to help retrieve the clothes and donate them to charities.

Runners From Ethiopia and Kenya Have Dominated the Event for Years

According to the New York Daily News, runners from Ethiopia and Kenya (like last year’s winner Geoffrey Kamworor) make up nearly all of the top 50 fastest times in the race’s history. The only exception? The 47th fastest time, which is held by Ryan Hall, an American. When looking at the top 100 fastest times, Kenyans hold 64 top spots while Ethiopians claim 34. Runners from the U.S. only appear twice.