L.A. Marathon director prepping for 2016 Olympic trials, possible 2024 bid

December, 23, 2014
Dec 23
LA MarathonAP Photo/Reed SaxonL.A.'s marathon course could act as a showcase for a possible 2024 Summer Olympics bid.
As Los Angeles begins work on a potential bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Asics L.A. Marathon CEO Tracey Russell and other organizers are already preparing for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon on Feb. 16, 2016.

The course design for the trials has not been finalized, but may be revealed by the March 15 running of the 2015 LA Marathon. It is expected to be a criterium-style course with a two-mile first loop and then four six-mile loops run central to downtown Los Angeles.

“We originally wanted to do a course that would emulate [the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janiero], but as of a few months ago they did not have anything finalized,” Russell said during a recent conversation with ESPN.com. “We debated waiting for them or moving forward. With a major city like Los Angeles, we wanted to get all of the necessary approvals with plenty of time for athletes to come in and run some of the course.”

United States Track and Field and L.A. Marathon organizers decided to move forward and design a course that appeals to athletes, spectators and television. The course will feature Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984.

“It’s being designed where we can showcase our runners and showcase our city,” Russell said.

(Read full post)

As Baylor runner Annie Dunlap approached the finish line at the recent NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, she knew she was in trouble.

Her legs turned to rubber. She wobbled. She fell. She got up and fell a second and then a third time.

“I was just trying to get back up and finish, and I couldn’t,” said the freshman. “The only thing going through my mind was getting back up again.”

As she fought to rise after her third fall, teammate Madie Zimmerman stopped and pulled Dunlap to her feet. Zimmerman then supported her as they walked side by side toward the finish. After a few yards, Minnesota’s Kate Bucknam –- who’d never met either Baylor athlete -– veered over, put Dunlap’s arm over her shoulder and helped Zimmerman get Dunlap across the line.

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BadwaterDavid McNew/Getty ImagesThe Badwater 135 ultra race will return to Death Valley National Park in 2015 after a one-year hiatus.
After a year away from Death Valley National Park, the Badwater 135 ultramarathon appears headed back to its roots.

Chris Kostman, race director and founder of AdventureCorps, which puts on the Badwater 135 and other endurance events, announced in a news release Sunday that the 135-mile race will be held July 28-30 of 2015 “on the traditional route from Badwater to Mt. Whitney.”

Last year’s race was held outside the park when the National Park Service imposed a moratorium while it conducted a safety review of such events in Death Valley.

Instead of beginning at the traditional starting point of Badwater Basin (282 feet below sea level) within the park and ending at Whitney Portal, the 2014 race began in Lone Pine, Calif., but had the same finish.

Runners were disappointed in 2014, and the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce also voiced displeasure at lost revenue and not having input into the park’s decision process.

When the safety review was completed this fall, rules were adopted by the park to ban athletic events after 10 a.m. between June 14 and Sept. 9.

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Next Wings for Life relay set for spring 2015

November, 5, 2014
Nov 5
Coolboy NgamoleCraig Kolesky for Wings for Life World RunCoolboy Ngamole was part of a successful debut for the Wings for Life relay last summer.
By almost any measure, the inaugural Wings for Life World Run in May was a hit.

It drew more than 35,000 participants at 34 venues across the world, and runners said they loved the quirky format in which there was no finish line. Runners ran as fast and as far as they could before being passed by the “Catcher Car” that started 30 minutes after the runners.

Plus, the event raised $4.1 million for the Wings for Life foundation and medical research for spinal-cord injuries.

So, when the second annual event is held on May 3, 2015, there will be few changes. The race format, the Catcher Car and the simultaneous start (7 a.m. EST) across the globe at 35 venues on six continents will be familiar.

“Why change perfection, right?” says Zoltan Polgar, the race director at Sunrise, Fla., one of three U.S. race venues in 2014 and one of three North American sites in 2015, along with Santa Clarita, Calif., and Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border, about 30 minutes from Buffalo, N.Y.

Details of the 2015 race were announced Wednesday on the event’s website (wingsforlifeworldrun.com).

Polgar said the event will be tweaked in slight ways to respond to participants’ feedback. There will be more music and entertainment at venues, and the courses will be straighter, with fewer twists and turns.

Registration (via the website) will be $30 per person through December, with the price going up to $50 after Jan. 1. Organizers say 100 percent of fees go toward research. Runners must be at least 16 (down from a minimum of 18 last year).

The average distance run was 9.3 miles before being passed by the catcher car. The overall winners in the first event were Lemawork Ketema of Ethiopia (men), who ran 46.4 miles in Austria, and Selvikag Molvik (women), who did 32.4 miles in Norway.

2014 NYC Marathon is the largest in history

November, 3, 2014
Nov 3
NYC MarathonAP Photo/Jason DeCrowMore than 50,000 runners crossed the Verrazano-Narrows bridge to start the New York City Marathon.
The 2014 New York City Marathon had 50,564 finishers, the New York Road Runners announced Monday, making it the largest marathon ever.

Last year's New York City Marathon set the previous record for the largest field in history with a total of 50,266 finishers. That 2013 total eclipsed the previous record -- from New York in 2011 -- by more than 3,000 after the 2012 race was cancelled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Only 305 of the 50,869 runners who started on Staten Island did not make it to the finish line in Central Park. Compared to other marathons, New York City has a high finish rate.

New York also hit another milestone during Sunday's race when its one-millionth finisher crossed crossed the line. Katherine Slingluff of Brooklyn completed her race in 4:43:36.

Here is a look at the largest fields ever at each of the five most popular marathons in the world.

  • New York City: 50,564 (11/2/2014)
  • Chicago: 40,802 (10/12/2014)
  • Paris: 38,690 (4/07/2013)
  • London: 36,672 (4/22/2012)
  • Boston: 35,868 (4/15/1996)

New Yorkers extend winless run at NYC Marathon

November, 2, 2014
Nov 2
Deba BuzuneshAlex Goodlett/Getty ImagesThe Bronx's Buzunesh Deba (second from right) finished a disappointing ninth Sunday.
NEW YORK -- Plenty of New Yorkers run in the New York City Marathon.

They just don't win it.

They don't even come close. In Sunday's 2014 marathon, no local runner was near the top of the leaderboard in either the men's or women's races.

Birhanu Dare Kemal, who was born in Ethiopia but lives in Manhattan, was the top New Yorker in the men's race, finishing 13th in 2:18:22, more than seven minutes behind winner Wilson Kipsang of Kenya.

[+] EnlargeKeflezighi
Alex Trautwig/Getty ImagesMeb Keflezighi (left) of California was the top American finisher on Sunday.
Buzunesh Deba, another Ethiopian from the Bronx, finished a disappointing ninth in the women's race. Deba finished in second place in both 2011 and 2013, leading for much of the race last year, and organizers were hoping that Sunday would be her chance to win it -- and end the local drought.

It wasn't. Deba fell out of the lead group after about 20 miles, and her time of 2:31:40 was more than six minutes behind winner Mary Keitany of Kenya.

The Kenyans win every year, don't they?

Well, not every year, but Kenyans have won the past three men's races and the past two women's races. The only American champion in the past 32 years was Meb Keflezighi, who won the men's race in 2009. Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea but moved to California as a child and became an American citizen, finished fourth in Sunday's race.

New York race organizers consider Keflezighi to be one of their own. He has run the New York race nine times, and always professes his love for the city and the race. But they would love to have someone who actually lives in New York win the race, even once.

No one has, at least not since the New York City Marathon became a five-borough event in 1976.

"It would be fantastic," New York Road Runners president and race director Mary Wittenberg said this week. "For years, we dreamed of an American winning in New York. Now we dream of a New Yorker winning in New York."

At least a few Americans made it into the top 10 finishers in the men's race. Besides Keflezighi, Ryan Vail was ninth, and Nick Arciniaga was 10th.

"I'm proud we have three Americans in the top 10," Vail said. "I think we redeemed ourselves a little after last year, when I finished 13th and I was the top American."

As for New Yorkers, there was Kemal finishing 13th, Negash Abebe Duki finishing 18th, Harbert Okuti finishing 19th, James Kelly finishing 28th and Jerry Faulkner finishing 29th. In the women's race, besides Deba, there was Kate Pallardy, who describes herself as a "vegan athlete and stay-at-home NYC mama," who finished 20th.

That was it for local highlights, in a race that drew 50,881 runners.

Goucher struggles: Kara Goucher, the Queens-born runner who was hoping for a 2:28 finish in her return to marathon running, had trouble with Sunday's strong winds and ran a disappointing 2:37:03. "I got in a little over my head," said Goucher, still trying to come back from a foot injury. "I hit the wall for the first time in my career, and really struggled."

Celebrity athletes hit the streets at NYC Marathon

November, 2, 2014
Nov 2
HoustonDavid Dow/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Knicks' Allan Houston was part of an NBA relay team at the NYC Marathon on Sunday.
NEW YORK -- Billy Demong made it through 26.2 miles. Then he tried to walk one block.

Maybe you know the feeling (or maybe you don't). But Demong wasn't just another runner among the 50,000 or so who ran Sunday's New York City Marathon.

He's an Olympic gold medalist. He was the first American to win Olympic gold in a Nordic event, when he won the 10-kilometer large hill event at the Vancouver Olympics.

You might remember him. He's the one who proposed to his girlfriend in front of his teammates and coaches right after the medal ceremony.

Now he's the one who ran a respectable 2:33:05 Sunday in his first marathon -- and celebrated by trying to walk a block to the subway.

[+] EnlargeDemong
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsBilly Demong says Sunday's marathon was the most fun he's had in an athletic event since winning Olympic gold in 2010.
"It was all I could do to make it to the 66th Street stop," Demong said. "I couldn't even make it down the steps, so I waited for the elevator. It could have been the slowest elevator in the world and I was still going to wait for it.

"I tried to run 10 steps on the subway platform and I almost fell down."

It was a feeling like he had never had before, through all his races and competitions.

But that was kind of the way all of Sunday went for him.

"It was awesome," Demong said. "This may sound ridiculous, but that might be the most fun I've had in an athletic event since Vancouver. We came off the Verrazano Bridge and onto Fourth Avenue, and people started yelling my name."

He loved it. He loved every bit of it.

He even loved the end, even when he was trying to walk and his legs didn't want to go.

"It was awesome," he said.

Other names you know: Demong wasn't the only athlete from another sport who gave the marathon a try. Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki finished in 3:26:33, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber finished in 5:14:37.

Barber ran in support of New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation, as did Sabathia's wife Amber and New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire's wife Alexis.

There was also a relay team of former NBA stars, with Dikembe Mutombo running the final leg.

"It was like a dream come true," Mutombo said. "After running on a basketball court for so many years, it was good to be outside and running."

The NBA group, which also included commissioner Adam Silver, Chris Mullin, Albert and Bernard King, Allan Houston and Charles Oakley, finished the course in 4:48:09, achieving its goal of breaking five hours.
videoThere were 50,881 runners at the starting line of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, and Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany emerged victorious, fighting through strong winds to give Kenya a sweep of the elite races.

The wind kept the races tactical, each winner lurking back in the pack in the early miles before pulling away late. Both races came down to a two-person duel with Keitany outkicking compatriot Jemima Sumgong by just three seconds (2:25:07 to 2:25:10) and Kipsang's late sprint defeating Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia by 11 seconds (2:10:55 to 2:11:06).

The main talking points of the day:

Key numbers: 43, 31
The temperature was 43 degrees and there were sustained winds of 31 miles per hour as the women left the starting line at 9 a.m. Kipsang and defending champion Geoffrey Mutai had talked of breaking the course record earlier in the week, but even before the race went off, it was clear that record attempts would have to wait.

The wheelchair race was moved up three miles because of safety concerns over the gusts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and Mutai said the wind had a big effect on his strategy.

(Read full post)

Crunching the NYC Marathon numbers: Toughest miles, boroughs and bridges

November, 1, 2014
Nov 1
New York City Marathon, First AvenueAP Photo/Kathy KmonicekThe "wall of sound" along First Avenue helps give marathoners a statistical boost.
The New York City Marathon is Sunday. The folks at Strava, a GPS tracking service for runners and cyclists, collected data from more than 44,000 runners on the New York City Marathon course between 2009 and 2013.

Here are some of the helpful and insightful tidbits of information they shared with us, in the form of a Q&A (for the full breakdown, check out this pdf):

Do nerves at the beginning of a race have an impact on early speed?

Prerace jitters are a real thing, and they impact the race: Athletes had a median max heart rate of 172 (compared with the race average of 165) in the first mile, the highest of the entire race.

Why is the first mile on the Verrazano Bridge the slowest?

The sluggish first mile pace of 8:49 min/mile is likely due to dodging other race participants and jockeying for position.

[+] EnlargeQueensboro Bridge
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty ImagesBeware the Queensboro Bridge, the slowest slog on the race at more than 10 minutes per mile.
After a slow start, when does a runner start to make up ground?

Athletes try to make up for lost time from mile 1 during mile 2 with a sub-8-minute mile pace (7:56 min/mile).

There are no spectators on the Queensboro Bridge, and it’s silent aside from the pattering of feet and heavy breathing. How difficult is it?

The Queensboro Bridge around Mile 16 is tough! Runners slow to an average pace of 10:08 while crossing it.

After that silence, thousands of fans cheer along First Avenue. Does a confidence boost exist from feeding off the crowd?

The "wall of sound" along First Avenue in Manhattan inspires many runners (miles 17 and 18) -- they’re also the last sub-9-minute mile splits of the race.

But how long does that runner’s high last before reality sets in?

The added boost from First Avenue doesn’t last much longer, as runners appear to “hit the wall” at mile 19 when the average pace rises above 9 min/mile.

Do runners at least finish strong?

Runners go for the photo finish in the last one to two miles of the race: The pace picks up significantly, and the median max heart rate increases to 169 (the second highest of the race; race average is 165).

Do most runners tend to negative split the race and run the second portion faster?

No, the first half of the marathon sees an average pace of about 8:24 min/mile, the back half is slower at 9:14 min/mile.

What are the fastest and slowest bridges?

The fastest bridge crossing by pace is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (8:13 min/mile). The slowest bridge crossing by pace is the Queensboro Bridge (10:08 min/mile).

What about boroughs?

The fastest borough for runners is Brooklyn (8:14 min/mile). The slowest borough for runners is The Bronx (9:32 min/mile).
Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey MutaiAlex Goodlett/Getty ImagesWilson Kipsang, left, and defending champ Geoffrey Mutai hope to break the course record in NYC.
Geoffrey Mutai won last year’s New York City Marathon in 2:08:24 in conditions similar to the windy weather expected for this Sunday's race. The two-time defending champion will be going for his third consecutive victory and wants to do it in course-record fashion.

His training partner and former World Record holder Wilson Kipsang is on-board for the record assault.

Mutai blamed a slow early pace for last year's time, which did not impress seasoned marathon observers.

“When the athletes are not cooperating, you can not run a good time,” Mutai said.

Mutai and Kipsang have not spent as much time training together as Mutai has with current world record holder Dennis Kimmetto, but Mutai and Kipsang are ready to work with each other in New York.

“I will follow him,” Mutai said. “There is no chance that we will leave each other. We will fight together."

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His Brother's Keeper

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30

Merhawi Keflezighi recalls Meb's Boston victory and discusses the trust factor in working for his brother.

NYC Marathon notebook: Tactics, weather among early talking points

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
Meb KeflezighiAP Photo/Seth WenigMeb Keflezighi is focused on tactics and finishing place than pursuing a course record.
The TCS New York City Marathon kicked off its opening ceremonies Thursday, welcoming the elite American runners to meet with the media. Tactics and weather dominated the talk among the marathoners.

Best of luck, Kenyans
Kenyan runners Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey Mutai have made known their intention of breaking the course record of 2:05:06, set by Mutai in 2011. American Meb Keflezighi’s personal best of 2:08:37 was set in April’s Boston Marathon, and Keflezighi will approach this race with the intent of winning at his own pace regardless of record chases.

“I wish them the best of luck with that wind,” Keflezighi said. “When I did what I did in Boston, I wasn’t doing something crazy. I just did what was common sense and smart racing. If they’re going for 2:04 or 2:05, I can’t do that at the New York City Marathon. I know better than that. I just have to go for place and hopefully improve on my time.”

Blustery conditions are in store for Sunday morning, the forecast calling for winds between 15-25 miles per hour from the north-northwest.

Goucher welcomes the wind
Kara Goucher and coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs have set a 2:28 goal for Goucher's first marathon since the 2013 Boston Marathon. Shooting for a 2:25 performance would not be the best decision coming back from a several injuries. The windy conditions could play to her advantage and lead to a strong finish, though.

[+] EnlargeKara Goucher
AP Photo/Kathy WillensKara Goucher gave her all in NYC in 2008 and plans to finish strong this year.
“If everyone runs slow because everyone is afraid of the wind then I’m going to stick my nose in it and see what happens,” Goucher said. “I’m more concerned with the way I feel, the way I finish and the way I move forward from here.”

The conditions could be similar to Goucher’s marathon debut when ran 2:25:53 at the 2008 New York City Marathon.

“It was really windy here in ’08,” Goucher said. “I just tucked in behind Paula (Radcliffe) and used her as a block until she destroyed me. I’m welcoming the wind, because we’ve had an exceptionally windy fall in Colorado. It just adds to the strength element of the course.”

Most recently, Goucher finished sixth with a time of 1:11:39 at the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon.

Arciniaga's boost from Boston
Keflezighi will not be the only runner coming to the NYC starting line after a strong performance in Boston. Nick Arciniaga of Team RunFlagstaff Pro training group looks to build on his success in April.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Arciniaga said. “I was hoping for a good performance and I changed things up in my training over the past year. I wasn’t sure if those methods were going to work or not.”

Arciniaga ran a tactical race in Boston and finished seventh in 2:11:47, the second American across the finish line. He told reporters Thursday that if he can lower his personal best to 2:09, he would have a solid chance of making the United States Olympic team in 2016.

Puskedra and the Oregon Project
Luke Puskedra makes his marathon debut on the same course where his coach Alberto Salazar was once a three-time champion, but Salazar is holding held on to his tips and specifics of the course until closer to the race.

“I haven’t talked to him about the specifics of the course,” Puskedra said.

And given the inner workings of the Oregon Project -- runners train and race together at times, but that's where it ends -- Puskedra has not spoken with Olympic and world champion Mo Farah about the pros and cons gleaned from Farah's marathon debut in London in April. Puskedra doesn't even know much about Farah's marathon training, which included time in Kenya.

“I have no clue what Mo did in Kenya,” Puskedra said. “We’ll talk when we do training runs. The only time we’ll hear about the workouts is ... maybe when you’ve read an article sometimes.”

Puskedra noted that many of his workouts ahead of NYC were solitary.

Queens-born Kara Goucher reconnects with NYC three decades after her father's death

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
Kara GoucherAP Photo/Duluth News-Tribune/Clint AustinKara Goucher -- shown after winning the 2012 women's U.S. Half Marathon Championship in Duluth, Minn. -- had her ties with the Big Apple severed after the tragic death of her father.
NEW YORK -- Six years ago, Kara Goucher came to New York to run a marathon.

She came and she ran, and she ran well. The records say her 2:25:53 was the fastest debut marathon for an American woman, and the fastest time by an American woman in New York, and that her third-place finish was the best by an American woman in 14 years.

It was good, and it is a good running story, one worth telling now that Goucher is coming back from an injury and coming back to New York to run in this Sunday's New York City Marathon.

But this is so much more than a running story, so much more than a story about 26.2 miles.

[+] EnlargeKara Goucher
Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesGoucher catches her breath after her third-place finish at the 2008 NYC Marathon.
This is a story about family and a city, and about a star athlete whose ability to run has helped her connect to both. It's a story about the 32 years that have passed since a 4-year-old girl in Flushing lived through a family tragedy -- her father, Mirko Grgas, was killed by a drunk driver on the Harlem River Drive in 1982 -- and moved away to Minnesota to live with her grandparents.

And it's the story of how running a marathon has helped Kara Goucher return to her New York roots.

"I came here as a child, but I didn't -- I didn't get it," Goucher said Thursday. "Coming in '08 was great for me. It really was. It changed the way I looked at the city. I wanted to get to know the city whereas in the past I just didn't. There was no connection there."

That 2008 marathon led to other races, with three top-six finishes at the Boston Marathon and an 11th-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics. Goucher isn't predicting a top finish Sunday, saying she's still working her way back from a broken foot and still building toward the February 2016 qualifying race for the Rio Olympics.

The injury cost time, and cost her a chance to run in New York last November. But the time off gave her a chance to reassess, a chance to reinvent and rediscover herself, as Goucher puts it. She comes back this year with a new sponsor and a new coach (Mark Wetmore, who was also her coach at the University of Colorado).

"I was very, very depressed that I missed [New York] last year," Goucher said. "But it's been a long time coming, and I always knew I wanted to restart here."

She's aiming to run 2:28, which she realizes won't be good enough to match that third-place finish from six years ago.

"I know there's women here who can run 2:22 or even faster on this course, and that's not the person that I am today," Goucher said. "I'm ready to run 2:28 on a good day, a good weather day."

[+] EnlargeBuzunesh Deba
Elsa/Getty ImagesBuzunesh Deba, born in Ethiopia but living in the Bronx, is among Sunday's favorites.
The fastest group of women includes Buzunesh Deba, who was born in Ethiopia but now has an apartment in the Bronx and considers New York home. Deba used to regularly train in Van Cortlandt Park, but spent most of the past year training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, instead.

The New York Road Runners, who put on the New York City Marathon, would still love to see Deba win Sunday, and would still claim her as one of their own. No New York City resident has won either the men's or women's marathon in the 40 years since it has been a five-borough event.

"It would be fantastic," said Mary Wittenberg, the NYRR president and the race director. "For years we dreamed of an American winning in New York. Now we dream of a New Yorker winning in New York."

Goucher, who moved away so many years ago at such a young age, may never consider herself a New Yorker. But in the six years since that 2008 debut, she has come to understand what the city is, and what it means to her.

"I love being here," she said. "And every year that I come back or every race that I come to do, I feel more connected. As an adult now, I feel more connected to my father and to all those things that I've missed out on."

Six years later, Goucher is back, to run another 26.2 miles. But really, she has come so much farther than that.

* * *

While Deba is given a real chance to win the women's race Sunday, this figures to be yet another year in which no local men finish in the top 10. Organizers say that Tesfaye Assefa Dube, another Ethiopian who makes his home in the Bronx, is probably the top New Yorker in the men's race. Dube was the top local finisher last year, running 2:22:38 and placing 19th.

Bill Bratton: No specific threats, but high security for NYC Marathon

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
Bill BrattonSeth Wenig/AP PhotoNYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton promised "a safe, happy and memorable event" this Sunday.
NEW YORK -- New York officials say they know of no specific threats against Sunday's New York City Marathon, but promised security protections that will be as strong or stronger than those in place a year ago.

"Security was ramped up significantly last year [after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing]," New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday. "We have kept that level of security, and then some."

In the wake of the Boston bombing, New York organizers put up more barriers last year around the finish line in Central Park. Runners also had to pass through magnetometers before the race began, and any bags were searched.

Bratton said that the intelligence community has not uncovered specific large-scale threats, but admitted that the recent attacks at the Canadian parliament building and against a New York police office in Queens serve as reminders of the danger of so-called "lone wolf" terrorists. Bratton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for cooperation from the public in alerting the police if they hear or see anything threatening.

About 50,000 runners are expected to run Sunday, in what continues to be the largest marathon in the world. Bratton said that more than 4,000 New York police officers will be involved in providing security for the event.

"We are very prepared," Bratton said. "We are very focused. ... We're in great shape for this event."

De Blasio once again sought to calm fears about the Ebola virus, and marathon officials stressed that while many African runners will take part Sunday, no one from any of the three West African nations hit by Ebola had applied to run in the New York City Marathon this year.

"I've said time and again to New Yorkers that there is no reason for alarm," de Blasio said.

De Blasio and Bratton met with other officials on Wednesday to review security plans, and to ensure that all were prepared to deal with anything that could go wrong. But both said confidently that they believe the marathon will go on with no issues.

"You will have a safe, happy and memorable event," Bratton said.

FanSpeak: NYC Marathon Pop Quiz

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30

Chris Chavez hits the streets of Manhattan to find out how much New York fans know about the NYC Marathon.