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PR- 316-03
November 3, 2003


Also Presents Crystal Apples To Top Finishers From New York City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today honored the male and female winners of the 34th ING New York City Marathon, and six other top finishers at a ceremony in City Hall. Keys to the City were presented to male and female winners Martin Lel and Margaret Okayo, Push Rim male and female winners Krige Schabort and Cheri Blauwet, and Hand Crank male and female winners Bogdan Krol and Helene Hines.  In addition, Crystal Apples were presented to the top male and female finishers from New York City, Kassahun Kabiso and Leteyesus Berhe.  The New York City Marathon’s difficult 26.2-mile course took nearly 35,000 runners through all five boroughs from the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge, through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and into Manhattan for the final push to the Central Park finish line.  More than two million people were on hand to watch the Marathon, making it the world’s largest spectator sporting event.

“I want to congratulate all the winners of the 34th annual ING New York City Marathon,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For more than thirty years, the best and the fastest have come from all over to compete in the “World’s Second Home,” and they have made the New York City Marathon one of the world’s premier sporting events.  The Marathon’s special character is derived from the blending of elite athletes and athletes with disabilities, with the almost 35,000 other competitors.  I applaud their dedication, determination and drive as well as the support of the more than two million spectators who lined the course.”

“The ING New York City Marathon was once again a thrilling event for competitors and visitors alike,” said Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba.  “The Marathon has such an enormous social, spiritual and financial impact on our city, and it presents a wonderful opportunity for New Yorkers to welcome our friends from around the world to the Big Apple.”

“The New York City Marathon is a monumental annual event which brings together people from all over the world of varying abilities,” said Matthew P. Sapolin, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “This year, nearly 300 athletes with disabilities participated in the marathon.  To these athletes, 26.2 miles was another challenge to conquer.  Honoring the winners at City Hall demonstrates our grateful recognition of all the competitors, and especially athletes with disabilities who participated in the world’s greatest marathon.”

Mayor Bloomberg recognized the achievement and inspirational performances of the following top finishers: 

Top Male: Martin Lel, 24 Kenya 2:10:30
Top Female: Margaret Okayo, 27 Kenya 2:22:31
Top Male Push Rim: Krige Schabort, 38 Cedartown, GA 1:32:19
Top Female Push Rim: Cheri Blauwet, 23 Menlo Park, CA 1:59:30
Top Male Hand Crank: Bogdan Krol, 47 Orneta, Poland 1:33:07
Top Female Hand Crank: Helene Hines, 55 Lido Beach, NY 1:49:13
Top Male NYC Resident: Kassahun Kabiso, 20 Bronx 2:28:17
Top Female NYC Resident: Leteyesus Berhe, 25 Bronx 2:48:22

Competitors come to New York City not only to test their endurance, but to also take advantage of all that the City of New York has to offer. The New York Road Runners Club estimates that the projected economic impact of direct and indirect spending by runners, spectators, the New York Road Runners, media, and sponsors will exceed $140 million this year. The marathon is estimated to generate about $7 million in total tax revenue for New York City.

“The economic benefits of the New York City Marathon are great for all of the City’s five boroughs,” said Andrew M. Alper, President, Economic Development Corporation.  “Tourism is one of our most important industries, and the Marathon is another great reason for people to visit New York City. The Marathon also helps our small businesses, which drive much of New York City’s economy. Hotels, bars, restaurants and retailers all profit from out-of-town visitors.”

“The ING New York City Marathon is a 26.2-mile block party that celebrates and unites our great and diverse City,” said Allan Steinfeld, race director, ING New York City Marathon; president and CEO, New York Road Runners.  “The Marathon could not take place each year without the cooperation of the Mayor’s Office and all the city agencies, along with 12,000 race-day volunteers.”

The first marathon was held on September 13, 1970, when New York Road Runners Club President Vince Chiappetta and entrepreneur Fred Lebow staged the event in Central Park. The 127 runners, who each paid a $1 entry fee, raced four laps around the Park with no water stops.  In 1976, the marathon became a five-borough marathon that showcases the City’s many and diverse neighborhoods.


Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Andrew Gould   (Sports Commission)
(212) 487-5665

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