Marathon’s Return Means a ‘Big Party’ for Some Local Businesses

By Chris Breslin

The 2021 New York City Marathon is on, and the Upper West Side is excited. For many years, the Marathon has been like a second New Year’s Eve for local businesses and restaurants, and, with the race being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, many were hit hard. The return of the Marathon this year will be a big boost for all of New York City. But, with the finish line at Tavern on the Green on West 66th Street, Upper West Side establishments especially will be filled with runners and their families celebrating the day.

“I am so happy the Marathon is back on,” said John Stavros from Eléa restaurant on West 85th Street. “It’s a great day for my customers and my employees. We always have big parties for the Marathon.”

Anna and Juanita, both managers at Café Luxembourg on West 70th Street, said, “We are looking forward to the Marathon this year. It will be a very busy and exciting day for us, especially after everything we have all been through this year.”

As usual, the Marathon will be run on the first Sunday in November — this year, November 7th — but, unlike in previous years, it will have 33,000 runners, instead of 52,000. This will be the 50th running of the race, which began in 1970 as a local event held completely within Central Park. In 2019, it broke the record to become the largest marathon in history. In 2020, it was forced to go virtual by the pandemic.

Runners affected by the 2020 cancellation are automatically eligible for the 2021 Marathon. (Complete eligibility guidelines here.) They must provide negative COVID-19 test results or proof of a complete vaccination series prior to running. They are not required to wear masks, The New York Times reported.

According to New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organization that owns and operates the Marathon, “runners who are traveling to New York are expected to adhere to federal, state, and local guidelines, including pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements. New York Road Runner’s guidelines will include social distancing, elimination of touchpoints, enhanced health and safety protocols, and testing and tracing.”

“I cannot tell you how excited I am for the city and for life itself to return to normal,” said George Hirsch, chairman of the board of NYRR. The Marathon’s primary sponsor is Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). “This is going to be a great day for all of New York and our guests who travel from all over the world to come and enjoy this very special day. We welcome them.”

“It’s a good thing the Marathon is back on. With people getting vaccinated, we are getting better. It is not over yet, but the Marathon will be a good path to getting back,” said Spyros Venduras, a retired restaurateur living on the Upper West Side.

Over at Malachy’s Irish pub on West 72nd Street, owner Billy Raftery said, “We are very happy about the returning of the Marathon and we are expecting a big crowd. Whoever doesn’t run can watch outside on our televisions. The pandemic shut us down the day before St. Patrick’s Day last year, so this is something we are very much looking forward to.”

“While canceling the race was the right choice in 2020, we are excited to welcome runners back to our beautiful city,’’ said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “New Yorkers worked hard to flatten the curve after the COVID-19 outbreak, and it is that work that allows us to be able to take this step in bringing normalcy back to our state.”

Having personally run the New York City marathon several times, I can say that Marathon Sunday in November is a day of great joy that is unique and special to the Upper West Side.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Carlos says:

      Looking forward to the return of the marathon – what a great NYC tradition!

      If they have had 52,000 runners and everyone who was signed up last year is eligible for this year, how will they get down to 33,000? I know there is a fair amount of attrition but that seems like a lot.

      • Wendy says:

        They were able to defer entry for three years

      • Rich says:

        I also believe that there won’t be a lottery this year and there probably isn’t anyone who time qualified in 2020 since there were no in-person races.

        Essentially, anyone impacted by cancellation in 2020, those who have 9+1 guaranteed entry from 2020, professionals, and those running for charities can run this year.

    2. PartyBoy says:


    3. Susan says:

      Yayyy! I can’t wait to return to the greatest city in the world to run this year. NYRR brought the registration numbers down from 52k to 33k by offering all of us who were previously registered to run in 2020 the option of deferring to 2021, 2022 or 2023. They did not guarantee us the year of our choice, but apparently, when they worked out the numbers, they could accommodate all runners who chose 2021. 🙂 That’s where the bulk of the runners came from, but then there’s also the charity runners, elites, etc. Can’t wait to come back, stay at the Beacon, eat all the good food from my favorite UWS places (hoping all are still in business!!) and enjoy my favorite week of the year. While it’s a second New Year’s eve for businesses, it’s like a second Christmas/birthday, and all the other best holidays wrapped into one for me!!

    4. Wijmlet says:

      too much, too soon