With the NYC Half less than two weeks away, plans for unprecedented coverage are being finalized. Emmy Award-winning ABCTV 7 sports anchor Rob Powers and two-time Olympian Todd Williams are expected to lead the broadcast team on March 18 for two hours of live race-day coverage, NYRR Live is set to return, and NYRR News Service will offer daily news, features, and athlete profiles beginning today.
Highlighting the seventh-annual NYC Half will be a deep field of professional athletes, including 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon team members Meb Keflezighi, Kara Goucher, and Desiree Davila; two-time U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein; defending champion Caroline Rotich of Kenya; 2011 ING New York City Marathon women’s champion Firehiwot Dado and 2009 Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga, both of Ethiopia; and Kim Smith of New Zealand, who last year ran the two fastest half-marathons ever run in North America.
On race day, a two-hour live broadcast will begin at 7:00 a.m. EDT with a half-hour pre-race show before the runners take off at 7:30 a.m. Powers will anchor the broadcast, and Williams, the third-fastest American half-marathoner in history and still the U.S. 15K record-holder, will provide expert commentary. Reporters and cameras will be stationed along the course as well as at the start and finish.
The broadcast will air live locally on ABCTV 7, with the identical broadcast available online at www.7online.com and at tv.nyrr.org. It kicks off a five-year partnership between ABCTV 7/ESPN and New York Road Runners that will include live national coverage of the ING New York City Marathon for the first time in almost 20 years as well as a combination of live and tape-delayed coverage of other marquee NYRR events, such as the Fifth Avenue Mile.
Getting things under way during race week will be two 30-minute episodes of NYRR Live, at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16. Hosted by Powers and Williams, the shows will highlight interviews with top professional athletes and other guests, with 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson going behind the scenes to capture all the fun of race week. It can be seen on tv.nyrr.org.
Coverage isn’t the only aspect of the race that’s expanding: with race officials working closely with the city, a revamped course has allowed the field to grow from 10,000 runners to 15,000, and a new finish area near the South Street Seaport will accommodate more post-race festivities. The new course begins at West Drive near 64th Street, does a counter-clockwise loop in Central Park of about 10K (6.2 miles), then runs down Seventh Avenue before making a right on 42nd Street and another right onto the West Side Highway followed quickly by a U-turn to head south toward Lower Manhattan. Between mile 12 and mile 13, runners will take the Battery Park Underpass and emerge onto FDR Drive to finish near the Seaport. The Post Race Festival Presented by Poland Spring will feature entertainment by Irish rock band Black 47.
The race is expected to raise more than $4 million for charities.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg