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How the NYC Marathon Works

        Adventure | Marathons

NYC Marathon Results
Paula Radcliffe
AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File
Paula Radcliffe leads a pack of elite women across the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in 2008. She has won the race three times.

Winning the NYC Marathon brings with it fame. It also banks some serious coin. The purse in 2010 topped $800,000 with the winner of the men's and women's open division taking home $130,000 ($200,000 if he or she is a previous winner) [source: ING NYC Marathon].

Prize money is distributed through the various divisions for different places. For instance, the top 10 finishers in the men's and women's open division get paid. Here's how it breaks down:

Open Division

 Prize Money
 First $130,000
 Second $65,000
 Third $40,000
 Fourth $25,000
 Fifth $15,000
 Sixth $10,000
 Seventh $7,000
 Eighth $5,000
 Ninth $2,000
 Tenth $1,000
 Total $600,000

[source: ING NYC Marathon]

In addition to a nice payout, the top three men and women in the open division as well as the first place male and female finishers in the wheelchair division, take home the prestigious Samuel Rudin Trophy presented by the Rudin family and a silver tray designed by Tiffany & Co. Other top finishers receive awards, too.

Runners may receive time bonuses as well. A sub-2:07:30 time will net the men an additional $70,000, while for women, a sub-2:22:00 time garners the same bonus. Time bonus money is paid out in declining increments all the way down to $5,000 (2:11:30 for men and 2:29:00 for women) [source: ING NYC Marathon].

Norway's Grete Waitz won nine races from 1978-1988 and remains the most decorated runner in NYC Marathon history. American Bill Rogers holds the mark for the most wins on the men's side with four while Tesfaye Jifa of Ethiopia holds the record for the fastest time having run the race in 2:07:43 in 2001 [source: Encarta].

Great Britian's Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder who set the mark with a 2:15:25 in the London Marathon in 2003 is the most accomplished marathon runners ever. She's won the race three times and is the only woman to post three sub 2:18:00 times. Her time of 2:23:09 in 2007 is the race record for women [source: Encarta].

Several celebrities have run the NYC Marathon. Actors Edward Norton and Ahthnony Edwards long with musician Alanis Morrisette completed the race in 2009 while actor Ryan Reynolds ran it in a respectable 3:50:29 in 2008 [source: Freydkin]. Actress Katie Holmes walked the race in 2007 and musician Sean Combs is also a NYC Marathon alumnus, having completed the race in 2003.

While winning the race is realistic for world class marathoners, just finishing is an accomplishment. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen. In fact, some participants have even perished in the race. In 2008, two runners died from cardiac arrest in the hours following the race [source: Robinson, Wilson and Litsky]. Two others fell out after suffering heart attacks during the same race but were revived before being taken to the hospital.

If you'd like more information on distance running, take a look at related articles in the next section.