ING New York City Marathon 2008 Adds Wave Starts + Automated Recording of Mile Splits

08/12/2008 - 17:20

August 12, 2008 from press release (New York, NY) In the most significant logistical changes to the race since 2001, the ING New York City Marathon 2008 will feature wave starts and automated recording of all runners' split times for the final 10 miles, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg. The 39th running of the ING New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 2.

The new start plan, with revised start times, has runners crossing the famed Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn in three waves, each utilizing all three existing start lines. The professional men�s field will start with the first wave of the open field at 9:40 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than in previous years. The two additional waves will follow at 10:00 and 10:20. (As in the past, the professional women�s race will start separately, before the mass starts; this start will take place at 9:10 a.m.) Race organizers expect that runners in each wave will clear the start in no more than six minutes, a dramatic improvement from previous years.

In addition to improving the flow of runners across and off of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the new system will alleviate choke points along the course and at the finish. Key areas that should see an ease in congestion are mile 8�where the three starts converge at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the post-finish area in Central Park.

The last major change to the logistics of the five-borough race came in 2001, when the course was altered to enter Central Park at 90th Street.

This year's changes are being made to improve runner satisfaction and enhance the runner experience, and with an eye to the future, according to Wittenberg.

"On race day, it's all about the runners," Wittenberg said. "This move will improve the overall quality of the race experience and further add to the magic of running New York."

Revisions to the runner baggage collection at the start will now see baggage assigned to transport vehicles by bib number to coordinate with new wave starts. In past years, baggage collection was organized according to last name.

In a second new enhancement for 2008, race organizers will track splits of all runners for the race's final 10 miles, beginning at mile 16 when runners exit the Queensboro Bridge onto First Avenue in Manhattan, until mile 26, within sight of the famed finish line at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Split times will be captured via the ChampionChip system and will be logged on NYRR's athlete tracker application.

"Our intention in the future is to provide a complete scorecard of 26.2 miles for every runner, and this is a big step toward reaching that goal," Wittenberg said.

The marathon received a record number of nearly 105,000 applications in 2008. A starting field of approximately 39,000 is expected for this year�s race. In 2007, the ING New York City Marathon put up record numbers from start to finish: More than 100,000 people applied, and 39,265 started the race, the largest marathon field in history; 38,607 finished the marathon, also the most ever.

This year's race will continue to feature more than six hours of television coverage, including five hours of local coverage on WNBC in the tri-state area and a one-hour national highlight show on NBC on Sunday afternoon.

Time Start 7:30 a.m.
Early Start, Athletes with Disabilities 8:35 a.m.
Wheelchair Division 8:50 a.m.
Handcycle Category 9:10 a.m.
Professional Women 9:15 a.m.
Foot Locker Five-Borough Challenge 9:40 a.m.
Wave 1
Blue Start including professional men
Orange Start Including sub-elite runners
Green Start Including local competitive runners
10:00 a.m.

Wave 2
Blue Start
Orange Start
Green Start
10:20 a.m.

Wave 3
Blue Start
Orange Start
Green Start

New York Road Runners
New York Road Runners is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008. NYRR is dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and responding to community needs. Our road races and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together with our magazine and website support and promote professional and recreational running. A staff of more than 100, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR�s home base in New York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park, have given many of its events iconic status, attracting the world�s top professional runners. Our youth programs provide running to 30,000 schoolchildren in New York City and around the country who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities. For more information visit

The ING New York City Marathon
The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world�s great road races, drawing more than 105,000 applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and more than 300 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the some 750,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime. For more information, visit .

World Marathon Majors
The ING New York City Marathon is one of five events in the World Marathon Majors series that showcases the sport�s top athletes and awards an unprecedented $1 million champion�s prize. The WMM series also includes the Boston Marathon, the Flora London Marathon, the real,- Berlin Marathon, and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For more information, visit

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