“It’s the North Star,” Ted Metellus, the race director, said of the marathon’s significance (via the New York Times). “It’s the thing that says we’re back.”
Officials from the city and New York Road Runners, which owns and operates the race, agreed to reduce the size of the field to minimize overcrowding on the streets of the five boroughs as well as on the ferries and buses that take runners to the starting line in Staten Island. There will be a staggered start that will lengthen the race day and the street closures it requires. It is unclear how overcrowding by spectators who line the course will be managed.
Competitors, who will not be required to wear masks while running, must test negative for the coronavirus in days leading up to the race or show proof of full vaccination. The details of how and when those tests will take place and who will pay for them have not been determined. Metellus added that any of those conditions could change right up until the day of the race as organizers follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local authorities.
Because of the pandemic, the schedule of marquee marathons has been compressed into the fall, following the Tokyo Olympics marathons in the summer (Aug. 7 is the women’s race, Aug. 8 the men’s race).
The Boston, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo marathons usually take place from February through April. Instead, they’ll join autumnal races in Berlin, Chicago and New York. The Berlin race will take place Sept. 26, followed by London on Oct. 3, Boston on Oct. 11, and Tokyo on Oct. 17. The Marine Corps Marathon in the Washington area will take place on Halloween; the Los Angeles and New York races will both take place on Nov. 7.