Crowds clutter marathon but not enough to spoil it

Updated: November 4, 2013, 4:08 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Bill Cecil chose one challenging race to be his first marathon.

Not only is the New York City Marathon daunting enough, the potential for problems was high on Sunday, given the record numbers that participated a year after there was no race.

Looking back on it, though, Cecil is one thousands who battled the crowds and the clutter and has mostly positive stories to tell.

"It was crowded on the 59th street bridge where it seemed at times that everyone was walking and you couldn't get through them," he said. "Other than that there was plenty of room for everyone."

Road Runners club president Mary Wittenberg agrees. A day after a record 50,740 people started the race, including the 1 millionth in the race's 33-year history, Wittenberg was all smiles. In fact, nearly everyone finished with over 50,000 people completing the 26.2-mile course.

"We had a simply amazing week and weekend and day yesterday," Wittenberg said at a press conference. "From the beginning, our measure of success was going to be smiling faces on the streets and at the finish line, and we saw an abundance, I would say, in both cases, more than we've ever seen before."

Marathon officials implemented a new plan this year to space out the crowding. They broke up the runners into four waves with different start times. Runners were also limited in what they could run with to cut down on the clutter.

"It really helped manage crowd flow," Wittenberg said. "We're happy how both these worked out."

The only real logistical nightmare seemed to be leaving the park after the race where it took some people an hour to get out of Central Park and reunite with their families.

The New York Road Runners club reported no major injuries Sunday, although with 50,000-plus runners, there were sure to be an assortment of aches and pains Monday. Many runners came to the Marathon finish on Monday to take photos, get their medals engraved and most importantly stretch and take care of those pains.

Security was a big concern leading up to the race after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April.

From bomb-sniffing dogs to officers with automatic weapons, there was a much greater police presence along the course to keep the runners and fans safe. Security was tightest at the start and near the finish line, where garbage trucks blocked entry to Central Park and everyone had to walk through numerous check points to watch the end of the race.

The NYPD doesn't give out crowd estimates, but said Monday that they had no security incidents to report.

Actress Pamela Anderson, competing in her first marathon, tweeted after the race a photo of her laying in bed with the image captioned "Ouch!" It showed the 46-year-old former Baywatch star, who completed the race in 5 hours, 41 minutes, with huge bags of ice on her leg. She also had a foam roller at her side which is used for sore muscles.

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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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