Runners await the blue start of wave 1. The three starting lines use the upper right (blue bib), upper left (orange) and lower left (green) of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge respectively. Athletes who have run more than fifteen NYC Marathons are entitled to a special bib that celebrates their achievement.
The start of the NYC Marathon is broadcast live worldwide to over 170 countries.
The start is preceded by a live performance of the national anthem of the United States, and is heralded by a cannon shot, accompanied by Frank Sinatra’s immortal rendition of “New York, New York”.
The Verrazzano Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. It is 4176 meters long and is by far the most demanding stretch of the entire NYC Marathon course. About 10km to their left as the crow flies, runners can admire the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan.
Marathoners with blue and orange bibs face the ascent of the Verrazzano Bridge. The two groups will merge in Brooklyn on Fourth Avenue. They will be joined, at a later time, by the runners who started with the green bib - running on the lower part of the bridge - who run about 5 kilometers along a different route.
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a highway bridge and unlike other New York bridges, it does not offer any pedestrian lane. It is possible to run it only on the occasion of the NYC Marathon when it is closed for the entire morning.
The upper level of the Verrazzano Bridge was inaugurated in November 1964. The initial project dates back to 1926. Over the years there had been much debate over the possibility of building a tunnel instead of the bridge. If this hypothesis had prevailed, one of the most evocative images of the entire race would never have existed.
The start in three colors and four waves, and the assignment of the bib tied to the history of the athletes allows runners to tackle the race at their desired pace from the get-go on the bridge.
The descent of the bridge brings runners to Brooklyn. Spectators are not allowed on any bridges along the route during the race. Athletes will have their first contact with the public once they leave Verrazzano Bridge.