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New York Marathon 1970 finishers to Be Honored

New York, November 1, 2021 – To mark the 50th running of the TCS New York City Marathon, several of the First Finishers from the inaugural 1970 race will be honored at the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines on Friday, November 5, and at the Marathon finish line on Sunday, November 7.

New York City Marathon First Finishers from Inaugural 1970 Race to Be Honored

The first New York City Marathon, organized by New York Road Runners, took place on September 13, 1970, in Central Park, with an entry fee of $1 and a budget of $1,000. Of the 127 registered runners, there were 55 finishers. The race ultimately expanded to all five boroughs in 1976. To date, the event has seen more than 1.2 million finishers.

“The TCS New York City Marathon has influenced and inspired so many people around the world for more than five decades, and to think it all started with 127 runners in Central Park is incredible,” said Ted Metellus, Vice President of Events for NYRR and Race Director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “We are honored to bring back some of the First Finishers from the 1970 race to have them with us on marathon day this year, and to honor them for being the first to take part in what has grown to become the world’s premier marathon.”

Former FDNY firefighter Gary Muhrcke was the first New York City Marathon champion, coming off the night shift at work to win the race. He still runs weekly in Central Park to this day, and his wife makes the laurels that the champions wear after their victories.

Larry Trachtenberg will be the sole runner from 1970 who will run in the 50th marathon. He was born and raised in Queens, and ran at Long Island City High School and regularly in Van Cortlandt Park, where he trained for the first marathon.

Joining Muhrcke and Trachtenberg in New York will be a number of other First Finishers from 1970, including:

– Arturo Montero – He came to the U.S. from Chile in 1960. He has run more than 100 marathons, 31 of them New York City Marathons (2016 being the last one). The 1970 race was his first marathon.

– Bill Newkirk – Born in the Bronx, he regularly ran around Central Park and met Fred Lebow during his runs. He has now participated in more than 20 marathons, including more than 10 New York City Marathons. He also helped NYRR by measuring courses with his friend, Ted Corbitt.

– Ed Ayres – After growing up in New Jersey, he ran the 1970 race with his brother, Glen; both of them finished in the top 10. He went on to start Running Times magazine.

– Gerald Miller – The oldest living First Finisher at 92 years old is originally from Queens and moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan after he got married. He heard about the first marathon at the YMCA. He has run more than 20 New York City Marathons and got his whole family into running.

– Jim Isenberg – He grew up in Boston and has run in more than 100 marathons, including the New York City Marathon four times. He ran for Princeton University and is friends with Larry Trachtenberg, who told him about the first marathon. He was a professor of physics and mathematics at the University of Oregon.

– Joe Martino – He took his first trip to New York as a teenager with Rick Sherlund, sleeping on a mattress the evening before the marathon at the local YMCA. He also ran the marathon in 1978 and became friends with two-time winner Tom Fleming.

– Moses Mayfield – He was the fastest African American marathoner in history at the time with a time of 2:24:29; he led the 1970 marathon for 24 miles of the race before being passed by Muhrcke.

– Ralph Garfield – Originally, from England, he came to the U.S. in 1961 and would regularly run in Central Park on the Reservoir. He has run 14 marathons (eight New York City Marathons) and still jogs/walks to this day.

– Rick Sherlund – At 16 years old, one of the youngest runners of the first marathon, he traveled to NYC with his friend, Joe Martino, to participate in the marathon. He ran the first 20 miles and then had a cream soda before cramping and having to walk the last six miles.

– Steve Grotsky – Originally from the Bronx, he was a fixture in the New York running scene; he went on to run for Princeton University and completed 50 marathons.

– Tom Hollander – He ran the marathon after graduating from high school in Connecticut, and ran again in 1977. In 1972, he won the Cherry Tree Marathon.

– Vince Chiappetta – Along with Fred Lebow, he co-directed the first New York City Marathon and is a co-founder of NYRR. He has run in more than 100 marathons.

– Nina Kuscsik – She changed the sport of running by breaking through the “Boys’ Club” barrier and changing the rules so they included women. She opened doors for future generations. While she did not finish the race, she is the only woman among the 127 entrants who ran in the 1970 New York City Marathon.