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DDC and the NYC Marathon

Approximately 50,000 people from 130+ countries participate in the New York City Marathon. The route is 26.2 miles through the city’s five boroughs. The start of the marathon is in Staten Island, and participants begin the race by crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn. Runners continue on city streets through Brooklyn, into Queens, cross briefly into the Bronx, and finish in Manhattan’s Central Park.

The NYC Department of Design and Construction assists with the City’s preparation for the race, in coordination with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). DDC safety professionals in the agency’s Office of Construction Safety and Office of Quality Assurance survey the marathon route twice in October, weeks before the race, to get the city’s roads ready for thousands of runners.

Carlos Ortiz using a computer and a map of marathon route

Executive Director Carlos Ortiz coordinates with the NYC Department of Transportation. The 26.2-mile marathon route crosses into the Bronx.

The DDC marathon safety teams drive the race route to identify road hazards that could impede or possibly harm a runner. The DDC safety teams work in pairs, each assigned a specific section, and together they will survey the streets of the entire marathon route covering all five boroughs. These professionals check the roadways for potholes, uneven road surfaces, road plates, construction activity, containers, and any obstructions. They photograph and document each hazard and its precise location, and provide this information to NYC DOT so that it can be corrected before the race is run on the first Sunday in November. The efforts by the teams of the Office of Construction Safety and Office of Quality Assurance help to keep marathon participants safe.

DDC surveyors examining the route and discussing potential hazards

DDC safety teams document all potential hazards before the race. They work in pairs, each assigned a specific section of the route.

The agency has been performing these surveys for more than two decades, and DDC safety professionals identify about 100 potential hazards each year. Runners don’t see this behind-the-scenes preparation, but the work of DDC safety professionals ensures a successful race through the five boroughs of New York City.