Saturday, November 5, 2011

The numbers behind the NYC Marathon

   45,000 runners
+ 26.2 miles
+ 5 boroughs
+ 32,000 gallons of gatorade
+ 1 Sunday in November
= 1 NYC Marathon

Occasionally my two loves (running and data) come together in perfect harmony. This weekend is one of those times. In honor of the ING New York City Marathon, here are some eye-opening stats about the race.

Who's running:
In 2011 the race is more than 350 times larger than it was its inaugural year. In 1970, according to marathon organizers, "127 runners paid the $1 entry fee to NYRR to participate in a 26.2-mile race... Fifty-five runners crossed the finish line."

On Nov. 6, 2011 officials expect 45,000 runners to toe the starting line. To put that in perspective, there will be one NYC Marathon runner for every resident of Olympia, WA (or Harrisburg, PA - for those in the eastern time zone).
Of those 45,000 runners:
  • The sex ratio is 1.63:1.00 (62% men / 38% women, which is similar to the 2010 average for marathons nationwide which showed a 59/41 split)
  • One third are between the ages of 40 and 49.
  • The oldest male entrant is 87. The oldest female is 84.
Course info:

  • The race's 26.2 miles traverse all five of New York's boroughs.
  • The highest elevation along the course (approx 260 feet above sea level) occurs in the first mile, on the Verrazano Narrows bridge.

Who's making it happen:
  • More than 150 New York Road Runners staff work year-round on the marathon.
  • There are more than 8,000 volunteers for the event.
  • 130 bands will serenade the runners.
  • The week before the race, 100 people worked to clean up the post-snowstorm debris in Central Park that was blocking the race course.
Hydration and fuel:
According to Wolfram|Alpha "to help energize and hydrate the runners before the race begins" organizers will provide runners with:
  • 42,000 Power Bars
  • 90,000 bottles of water
  • 45,000 cups of coffee
On the course, there will be:
  • 62,370 gallons of water
  • 32,040 gallons of Gatorade
And with all that hydration (plus race-day nerves), expect long bathroom lines:
On Sunday, more than 1,600 portable toilets will be available for the runners. That works out to about one port-o-potty for every 28 runners, but you know the lines will be longer than that!

Data Sources:
ING New York City Marathon website
Running Trip "NYC Marathon by the numbers"
Running USA Annual Marathon Report (2011)
The Weather Channel

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