NYC Marathon: Live and in Your Living Room
By Barbara Huebner—On November 4, running fans will get a chance to witness the drama of the world's biggest marathon—the ING New York City Marathon—as it unfolds live on ESPN. The telecast marks the return of the marathon to live national TV for the first time since 1993, when fans across the country saw Uta Pippig of Germany win her first U.S. marathon (she'd go on to win three straight in Boston) and the epic battle between American Bob Kempainen and Mexico’s Andrés Espinosa (Espinosa won).
“Short of my first SportsCenter, I have never been more excited about any assignment I've had here at ESPN,” said anchor John Anderson, who will deliver play-by-play. “The New York City Marathon is a 26.2-mile finish line. From gun to tape it's non-stop exhilaration with support from the entire city. I've run the marathon and nothing ever hurt better in my life. It doesn't matter if you're in the lead or in 47,358th place, the crowd treats every runner the same—like a champion."
ESPN co-host Hannah Storm added, "There is perhaps no sporting event in America more closely attached to its neighborhoods and city—while at the same time being an instantly recognizable international event—than the New York City Marathon. It's a part of the fabric of this great city and I'm thrilled to be involved in the broadcast of such an iconic sporting event."
Storm and Anderson will be joined by analysts Carrie Tollefson and Tim Hutchings and reporter Lewis Johnson. Tollefson is a 2004 Olympian and five-time NCAA champion in track and field and cross country. Hutchings, who finished fourth at 5000 meters in the 1984 Olympic Games competing for Great Britain, and Johnson, an All-American in track, both covered the 2012 Olympic Games.
“This has been a very special year for marathon running and I’m incredibly excited about assisting with the ING New York City Marathon broadcast,” said Hutchings. “Conditions for the men’s and women’s marathons at the Games in London were very similar to what will likely be faced in New York: a challenging but quick race route, no pacemakers, warm weather and deafening crowds. In the Olympics, those conditions proved to be a great leveler and that unpredictability makes for enthralling racing. Giving national coverage to one of the world’s most stunning races is what the ING New York City Marathon needs and deserves in the USA, and I know that [race director] Mary Wittenberg and her team are poised to take the race to a new level.”
For Tollefson, the race brings back warm memories: As a child in Dawson, MN, she recalls watching the race on TV with her father, John. “We had church, and then we had the Marathon,” Tollefson said. “Now, over the years being able to watch the sport up close and know what goes through the mind of an athlete, even having trained with some of these women, it will be fun to bring a different perspective. I know the passion and the drive and the ups and downs that go into this race.”
More than 47,000 runners, including 2012 U.S. Olympians Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Amy Hastings and Janet Bawcom, as well as 2012 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia and bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang of Kenya are expected to be on the starting line.
Nationally, the telecast will be available on ESPN2 and on computers at WatchESPN.com. ABC will also present an abbreviated, two-hour national broadcast. Locally, New Yorkers can watch the race on ABC7 and 7online.com. This is the first year of a five-year television package.