By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A limited field of 33,000 runners will return to the starting line for the 50th running of the New York City Marathon in November after it was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual event that draws thousands of cheering fans to the Big Apple will take place on Nov. 7.
“The New York City Marathon is a reminder of everything New Yorkers can accomplish with persistence, hard work, and community support,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
“As we build a recovery for all of us, there’s no better time to safely reconnect with the iconic events that make our city great.”
The 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race, typically the final of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors run each year, is hugely popular with amateur runners and professionals alike and saw a record 53,627 finishers in 2019, the last time it was contested.
New York Road Runners, which puts on the event each year, said runners will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a vaccine and must adhere to government guidelines around travel and quarantine.
Organizers plan to use “a controllable and scalable time-trial start format” to reduce congestion at the start and finish.
“While cancelling the race was the right choice in 2020, we are excited to welcome runners back to our beautiful city,” said governor Andrew Cuomo.
“New Yorkers worked hard to flatten the curve after the COVID-19 outbreak and it is that work that allows us to be able to take this step in bringing normalcy back to our state.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Pritha Sarkar)