The 2008 ING New York Marathon, v.39, the race begins, by Larry Eder


The elite women's race start is twenty minutes away, and the media room is full. I arrived in the Tavern on the Green about eight in the morning, with a beautiful day dawning, cool weather and some great race stories among the thousands of competitors.

Welcome to the 39th ING New York City Marathon!

Fred Lebow's spirit continues to be part of this marathon. One of my favorite stories was from 1986, when I met one of the early sponsors of the marathon. The spokesperson told me that Fred had come to them, asking for $5,000 in the early 1970s, talking about a city wide marathon. The sponsors thought the garment salesman from Romania was a) eccentric, b) or just plain crazy.

In 1976, after the Montreal Olympics, the five borough race began. Bill Rodgers won that race in 2:10:55, as part of vindication for his tough race at the Montreal Olympics. Frank Shorter ran second in New York, and the race was on! Lebow had attracted sponsors and runners to a five borough race and putting New York at the forefront of the city marathon craze.

Mary Wittenberg started the elite race for women, with 42 women, representing 13 nations and with sixteen Americans in the field. Paula Radcliffe has taken the lead
at the beginning, with Kara Goucher next to her and Geta Wami nearby. How does one defeat Paula Radcliffe? Well, several athletes will try and do that for the next two plus hours.

Note, the open field starts in thirty minutes. Strong wind on the course so far....temperature is close to freezing, the athletes are tucking in to stay out
of the wind, except for Radcliffe...actual temperature is 40 degrees, and Tegla
Laroupe did not start due to illness. encourages you to check out the sites of Shooting Star Media, Inc.: American Track & Field (, Athletes Only (, California Track & Running News (, MIssouri Runner & Triathlete (, Latinos Corriendo(, Coaching
Athletics Quarterly (, and USATF Fast Forward ( All of the above magazine websites can be found at (

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