Painting the finish: TCS Marathon kicks off annual line painting ceremony for 50th anniversary

Ready, set, go! TCS Marathon is back for a five-borough run this weekend, starting with the finish line painting symbolizing the 26.2-mile trek.

The TCS Marathon is returning on Sunday, Nov. 7 and is expected to bring with it thousands of runners and spectators. But the process leading to the big day does not take place overnight.

Preparations began on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 3 with a ceremony consisting of marathon officials, members of the mayor’s office, top cop Commissioner Dermot Shea, and more with the formal painting of the finishing line in Central Park on 67th Street and West Drive.

Meb Keflezighi, Olympic medalist, former New York City Marathon Champion, and 2019 NYRR Hall of Fame Inductee. Photo by Dean Moses

“This year will also mark the 50th running of this iconic event. So, this is an exciting time for our organization, but more importantly an exciting time to demonstrate the strength and resilience of our beloved city. During the pandemic, we saw a lot of new runners take up the sport for the first time. Running provided solace and comfort and a return to normalcy for many people during these uncertain times,” CEO at New York Road Runners Kerin Hempel said.

Surrounded by freshly poured paint and brushes ready to use at what will mark the marathon’s finish line in Central Park, speakers took turns ringing in the occasion.

“The TCS New York City Marathon signifies the true accomplishment of overcoming hardship. This year’s marathon will show the toughness of New York, the grit of New York, the determination of New York, the courage of New York,” the first black race director, Ted Metallus said.

Race director Ted Metallus. Photo by Dean Moses

Concurring with this sentiment, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise also championed the marathon for its inclusivity, especially during a time promoting the city’s comeback story.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks with George Hirsch the chairman of the NYRR Board of Directors. Photo by Dean Moses
Painting the finish line. Photo by Dean Moses

“That’s important because people with disabilities are part of our society. And they are part of this marathon and it’s good to see that New York Road Runners has embraced people with disabilities. If you heard the language today, they’re talking about people of all abilities,” Calise said.

Following the speeches, the group clutched their paint brushes and began scrolling multicolored lines across the concrete within Central Park. Once the first marks of the finish line were made, Commissioner Shea announced that there is currently no credible threat against the event, but the NYPD will remain vigilant.

“We are going to have thousands and thousands of officers out there to make sure the runners and spectators are safe,” Shea said.

Commissioner Dermot Shea discusses safety. Photo by Dean Moses