Six Decades of New York Road Runners History 2010-Present

Shalane Flanagan during the NYC marathon

In 2018, NYRR is celebrating 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running. This month, we’re recapping the 2010s, a decade that’s been filled with innovation, inspiration, and celebration.

2011: A Virtual Training Program Is Born

In 2011 New York Road Runners partnered with RunTrix to launch NYRR Virtual Training, a customized online plan for runners of all abilities that dynamically adjusts as training ramps up and fitness increases. Several years in the planning, the program was an immediate hit, with 640 signups in its first month; to date approximately 30,000 people have used it to train for the TCS New York City Marathon, the United Airlines NYC Half, and other races around the world. Virtual Training offers a personalized ecoaching option that draws on the expertise of NYRR’s professional coaching staff to provide one-to-one feedback and guidance to keep runners healthy and on track to meet their race-day goals.  

2012 Marathon Is Cancelled Following Hurricane Sandy

The 2012 New York City Marathon was cancelled for the first time in the event’s history due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. On Marathon Sunday, NYRR and our partners joined thousands of marathoners to help with cleanup efforts in Staten Island, Far Rockaway, and elsewhere. NYRR made a financial donation to support recovery efforts and over the following year continued to support revitalization initiatives throughout the affected areas, including bringing support to businesses in Lower Manhattan at the 2013 NYC Half and to Coney Island at the 2013 Brooklyn Half.

2014 New York City Marathon Embraces a New Partner and Celebrates a Milestone


In a multiyear deal launched in 2014, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) became the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon and the first year-round premier partner of New York Road Runners, which enabled large-scale growth and innovation across the organization. The partnership reflects TCS’s and NYRR’s joint commitment to health, wellness, and communities, carried out through support of youth and community running programs throughout NYC and around the country. Solutions including the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services help make our race the most technologically advanced in the world. A global leader in IT services, consulting, technology, and digital services, TCS has more than 400,000 employees worldwide.

The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon celebrated the event's one-millionth finisher, 40-year-old Brooklyn mother of two Katherine Slingluff, who enjoyed a photo-op with race champions Wilson Kipsang, Mary Keitany, Kurt Fearnley, and Tatyana McFadden—as well as lifetime New York City Marathon guaranteed entry. The TCS New York City Marathon remains the largest marathon in the world, with 50,773 finishers in 2017.

Michael Capiraso and Peter Ciaccia Take the Reins

Capiraso (left) and Ciaccia (right) welcome Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson (center) to the TCS Run with Champions at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. 

In May 2015, after 10 years of leading NYRR, Mary Wittenberg stepped down and Michael Capiraso and Peter Ciaccia took over the leadership of the organization—Capiraso as president and CEO and Ciaccia as president of events and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.

Capiraso, who was promoted from the position of chief operating officer, took on the management of marketing, business development, legal affairs, youth and community services, philanthropy and development, administration, finance, IT, human resources, and strategy, planning, and operations. In his role he exemplifies New York Road Runners’ mission to help and inspire people through running and has committed NYRR to making a bigger impact on youth, communities, and athletes of all abilities. To that end, NYRR has expanded its free running and fitness programs in schools and neighborhood parks, serving 267,000 youth nationwide. The organization has also created new opportunities like Global Running Day and the Million Kid Run, launched in 2016. An avid runner, Capiraso completed his 26th consecutive New York City Marathon in 2017.

Ciaccia, who had been NYRR’s chief production officer and the technical director of the TCS New York City Marathon, became the leader of event development and production, broadcast, media relations, public affairs, professional athletes, volunteer and community engagement, youth events, and athletes with disabilities. He is driven by a commitment to deliver the best possible experience to runners, fans, and communities through NYRR’s events. During his tenure, the number of race finishers has grown 40%, spearheaded by the growth of races such as the United Airlines NYC Half, the Popular Brooklyn Half, and the TCS New York City Marathon—the largest marathon in the world. He has led NYRR and the running industry worldwide through the Run Clean initiative and helped grow the Abbott World Marathon Majors into the world’s preeminent marathon organization.

After 18 years of service, Ciaccia announced last month that he will retire following the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon on November 4. Jim Heim, Senior Vice President, Event Development & Production at New York Road Runners and Technical Director of the TCS New York City Marathon, will take over as Race Director upon Ciaccia’s departure.

NYRR Open Run: Free Runs for All in Parks Across NYC

In June 2015, NYRR Open Run launched at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx to bring free community runs and walks to parks across NYC. Open Run, which now serves 15 parks in all five boroughs, relies on volunteers in each home park community to check in, time, and score the runners and marshal the courses. To date, more than 10,000 people of all ages and abilities have participated in Open Run.

Global Running Day Spreads Running Around the World

In 2016, Global Running Day evolved from National Running Day, a celebration of running that was created by NYRR and running industry partners nationwide in 2009. The idea was simple: to celebrate the joys of running and to inspire other to get moving. Global Running Day 2018 is Wednesday, June 6, and everyone is welcome to join the celebration. For information, check out; for events in NYC, which include the celebration of NYRR’s 60th anniversary, visit our website.

NYRR Run Clean Takes an Antidoping Stand  

2016 saw the launch of NYRR Run Clean, an antidoping initiative with the goal to “celebrate the union of competition and individual achievement while working to ensure that runners compete in a healthy and fair environment.” Through education, testing, and advocacy, Run Clean is committed to fostering a healthy environment for runners to compete on a level playing field. Since 2002 NYRR has worked with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to keep races clean and fair for all competitors. Run Clean expands these efforts to secure a future where everyone runs clean.

Building New Spaces for Youth and Community Fitness

Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson helps  break ground at a brand-new playground at CS 154M.

During 2016 TCS New York City Marathon week, NYRR broke ground—literally—by launching a new partnership with the Trust for Public Land. Through an initial pledge of $1 million, NYRR supported the construction of playgrounds at three New York City public school sites: CS 154M in Harlem, PS 120 in Flushing, Queens, and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.

A year later, again during 2017 TCS New York City Marathon week, NYRR helped open the brand-new playground at CS 154M with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by a finish-line tape breaking with Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson on the playground’s running track.

The partnership will continue with ongoing support from NYRR and plans to refurbish playgrounds in all five boroughs over the coming years.

The 40th Running of the Five Boroughs

At age 20, Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (left) became the youngest men’s runner champion in event history.

On November 6, 2016, the TCS New York City Marathon celebrated the 40th running of the five-borough course. To mark the occasion, New York Road Runners commissioned Dutch artist Remko Heemskerk to design an original piece of work, which could be purchased as a limited-edition print.

The 2016 event emphasized the city’s diversity and the race’s legacy. The 1976 New York City Marathon took place in a time when the city neared bankruptcy, and the route was devised to unite neighborhoods from Bay Ridge to Mott Haven. (Read more: The Race That Changed the Face of Road Racing)

With a record 51,394 finishers, the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon was the world’s largest marathon ever, with a number of notable performances adding to the day’s excitement. Mary Keitany of Kenya won her third consecutive TCS New York City Marathon title, becoming the first woman to three-peat since Grete Waitz of Norway won five straight races from 1982 to 1986. At age 20, Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the youngest men’s runner champion in event history. Americans Abdi Abdirahman and Molly Huddle each finished third, marking the first time since 1989 that an open-division American man and woman reached the podium in the same year. Tatyana McFadden of the United States won her fourth straight New York City Marathon in a row, completing her fourth straight “Grand Slam” of major marathon victories in Boston, London, Chicago, and New York City.

Doors Open at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub

In January 2017, NYRR brought to life its mission to help and inspire people through running with the opening of a new community running space on West 57th Street in Manhattan. In its first year, the NYRR RUNCENTER served as a venue for 235 free events, including yoga classes, panel discussions, pro athlete appearances, book clubs, and group runs.

In addition to serving as a meeting spot for runners across NYC’s five boroughs and a convenient place to shop for shoes and gear while picking up race materials, the NYRR RUNCENTER is also home to the 1 for You 1 for Youth shoe donation program that benefits youth runners in New York City and nationwide. When you purchase a pair of shoes at the NB Run Hub, New Balance will donate a brand-new pair to a kid in our youth programs.

The Brooklyn Half Becomes the Largest Half-Marathon in the U.S.

Finish line at the Brooklyn Half

A total of 27,447 runners crossed the 2017 Brooklyn Half finish line, making it the largest half-marathon in the United States that year. The course took runners through the heart of Brooklyn, beginning near the historic Brooklyn Museum and continuing over the hills of Prospect Park and down Ocean Parkway to the finish line on the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk. (Read more: The Brooklyn Half: A Hip History)

The 2018 Popular® Brooklyn Half, despite soggy conditions, had 25,346 finishers, making it the largest half-marathon in the U.S. so far this year.

Rising New York Road Runners Launches in NYC and Across the County

Jenny Simpson and youth runner on back of the pace truck for the marathon

Five Rising New York Road Runners Youth Ambassadors served as Grand Marshals at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.

Rising New York Road Runners, a new approach to free youth fitness focused on physical literacy and long-term athlete development, launched with the start of the 2017–2018 school year. NYRR youth programs serve nearly 267,000 youth nationwide, including 134,000 within New York City.

Read more: At 53, NYRR’s Rachel Pratt Is Still Reaping the Rewards of an Active Childhood

Rising New York Road Runners offers a year-round schedule of free youth events in which participants are grouped into stages based on their age and fitness level and take part in several fitness activities before their running event. At the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, more than 3,000 students participated throughout race week at the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by Tata Consultancy Services, the TCS Run with Champions, and the Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon. Five Rising New York Road Runners Youth Ambassadors—one from each NYC borough—served as Grand Marshals in the lead vehicle on race day, accompanied by Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador and Special Advisor Jenny Simpson.

Read more: How Jenny Simpson Fell in Love with Running--and Made It Last a Lifetime

An American Champion at the TCS New York City Marathon

Shalane Flanagan had made her marathon debut in New York City in 2010, finishing second. In 2017 she returned to the Big Apple looking to claim her first Abbott World Marathon Majors title. Competing against a field that included three-time defending champion and world record-holder Mary Keitany, as well as two-time world champion and 2010 New York City Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat, Flanagan took the lead on Fifth Avenue. She never relented as she raced through Central Park to break the tape in 2:26:53, becoming the first American woman to win the race’s open division since Miki Gorman in 1977.


Meb Keflezighi Runs Final Professional Marathon in New York

Meb running his last pro marathon

Another U.S. legend, Meb Keflezighi, completed his professional running career with an 11th-place finish at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. After making his marathon debut in New York City in 2002, and becoming the first American man in 27 years to win the race’s open division with his 2009 victory, Keflezighi ran his 11th five-borough race—his 26th marathon as a professional—in 2:15:29.

A New 13.1 Through NYC

NYC Half over the bridge

In its 13th year on the NYRR calendar, the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half presented runners with an entirely new course. The updated route began at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, crossing the Manhattan Bridge into Chinatown, before running along the FDR Drive, moving through Midtown and Times Square, and finishing in Central Park. The new route allowed for an expanded field of participants, as a total of 21,957 runners crossed the finish line—surpassing the previous event record by more than 1,100 finishers.

Authored By:

NYRR Staff

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