By ILYA KEYGEN
The eyes of the world will be on New York on Sunday for the running of the 45th New York City Marathon.
On Thursday, the opening press conference was held at the brand new marathon pavilion located near the finish line at corner of West 67th Street and Central Park West.
The press conference attendees included Police Commissioner William Bratton, and the grand marshal of the marathon, movie director Spike Lee.
“It is a great honor and a great surprise to be chosen as grand marshal,” said Lee, who is the first New Yorker to be chosen as grand marshal. “ I am representing the diversity of this great city.”
Lee paid his own tribute to the city and the event, which he said he has watched since the beginning in 1970, with a two-and-a-half minute video showcasing what makes this city great. The video, which Lee calls a love letter to the city, was scheduled for broadcast at the beginning of the coverage on Sunday morning.
Commissioner Bratton spoke the police effort to keep everyone safe. Some 1866 police officers were assigned to patrol the route, which runs through the five boroughs, with 13 different command posts and 14000 barriers.
“It is a celebration for us also,” said Bratton. “ People want to be here and they love it, it is an extraordinary event.”
Last year’s winners, Kurt Fearnley, Tatyana Mcfaddden, Mary Kietany and Wilson Kipsang, were on hand to receive their numbers for this year’s race.
Sgt. Neal Vespe was honored with the New York Police Department distinguished service award for leading the marathon motorcade for over 30 years. The athletes and guests also welcomed the youth runner’s ambassadors. Over 800 kids will run the last 1.8 miles of the race and finish on live TV.
The marathon was estimated to bring over $450 million in revenue to the city, according to the Road Runner CEO Michael Capiraso.
More than 50000 runners were expected to participate in this year’s race.