To help you sound like a New York City marathon savant, we put together this handy cheat sheet of fun marathon facts. Offer them up like off-the-cuff remarks as the estimated 47,000 runners fly by.
1. First marathon ever. It happened in 1970 with 127 runners, each of whom paid a one dollar entrance fee. The entire course was inside Central Park, so runners had to loop several times. We’re guessing some got dizzy, because in the end, only 55 runners crossed the finish line.
2. Motivating Moolah. The marathon will give away more than $650,000 in prize money this year. The male and female winners will get $130,000 each.
3. Oldest and youngest runners. Wesley Paul completed the race in three hours and 31 seconds in 1977, at age 8. This year Joy Johnson, age 84, will try to be the oldest female runner to ever finish the course.
4. She knows victory. The record for the most NYC Marathon victories goes to a female Norwegian runner (woot!), Grete Waitz. She finished in first place nine times.
5. This year’s favorite. Kenyan runner Mary Keitany is the hands-down female favorite this year. Her fastest marathon is 2:19:19, and experts are saying she’d have to have a very off day for another woman to win.
6. No shortcuts. Each year about 50 runners are disqualified for taking shortcuts.
7. Superlatives. In addition the being the biggest marathon in the world, many runners consider it the toughest course of the five World Marathon Majors (NYC, Boston, London, Chicago, Berlin) because of rolling hills, especially at the end of the course in Central Park. It’s also seen as the most international. Well, duh.