Andrew Beyer's column of Nov. 14, "Marine Race Needs Civilian Expertise," concerning the Marine Corps Marathon, contains destructive innuendoes to the New York City Marathon.

The column states that the New York City Marathon is a "media spectacular" and implies it is designed as a "show-biz production with big-name athletes" rather than an event to promote general physical fitness.

Our media exposure is a credit to an event that epitomized the fitness of the more than 14,000 runners who ran it in 1980 -- and this is not just the elite, who represent only less than one-half of a percent of the finishers. The event is designed as a mass-participation marathon, and it is run by four-minute and 10-minute milers alike. In fact, the number of the latter far exceeds the number of the former. Our marathon is unique in that it is a marriage of both an elite and a people's race.

We have spend 11 years building an accurately measured course, with water stations and times at each mile, and refreshments for all the runners. This event is one of more than 100 races our club holds throughout the year, plus a Run To Work Movement, sports medicine and health seminars and ecology and community involvement projects.

The New York City Marathon incorporates all of these events, and it is a shallow analysis indeed to dismiss it as frolic and show-biz event.