Brooklyn-raised filmmaker and quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee will lead the field at the 45th running of the world’s largest marathon
Lee, the New York University tenured film professor, writer, director, actor, producer and author, and iconic New York City figure will serve as the grand marshal of the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 1, it was jointly announced by Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, and Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
“I’m honored to represent New York City, the greatest city on Earth, at one of the world’s most recognizable sporting events,” said Lee, who grew up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. “When my kids were younger, on race day, we would walk outside of my 40 Acres and a Mule office right into the marathon crowd. There’s such a New York sense of community around the race. It’s New York City’s biggest block party.”
As the grand marshal, Lee will participate in raceweek festivities such as the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony presented by United Airlines, contribute to the live race broadcast on WABCTV, Channel 7 and ESPN2, and ride with Ciaccia, the race director, in the grand marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon route on race day.
“Spike Lee’s love for New York City, whether in the sporting arena or in the community, is unparalleled,” said Ciaccia. “As grand marshal, Spike will lead runners from over 125 countries and all 50 states on a one-of-a-kind tour through the neighborhoods of the five boroughs, from Staten Island to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, through Queens, up Manhattan’s First Avenue to the Boogie Down Bronx and into Harlem before finishing in Central Park.”
“When we looked at having a grand marshal for this year’s TCS New York City Marathon, we envisioned someone the world would immediately recognize as a sports enthusiast and quintessential New Yorker, and Spike was the perfect fit,” said Capiraso. “We’re honored to have Spike representing our runners, volunteers, spectators, partners, city agencies and staff at this year’s TCS New York City Marathon.”
As one of New York City’s most iconic personalities, Lee, the recent recipient of an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is a globally recognized figure, renowned for his film career and passionate support of all things New York, particular the city’s sports scene.
Lee will be the first New Yorker and the third grand marshal in the race’s 45-year history.
The marathon’s first Grand marshal was in 1979, when Czech running legend Emil Zatopek was given the honor. Zatopek still stands today as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, having won three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon.
In 2003, Grete Waitz of Norway became the marathon’s second grand marshal. One of the most celebrated marathoners ever, Waitz, a New York Road Runners Hall of Famer, won a record nine New York City Marathon titles.
The marathon will be televised live Sunday, Nov. 1, on WABCTV, Channel 7 in the New York tristate area, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A highlight show will air from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on WABCTV, Channel 7 and local ABC affiliates throughout the nation. Additionally, the race will be available live in Spanish via ESPN Deportes+ and internationally via a variety of global broadcast partners.
For the latest TCS New York City Marathon news and media information and to apply for a credential to cover raceweek and raceday, visit the NYRR online media center. Also, follow us on Twitter @nyrrnews. To join the social media conversation, search #TCSNYCMarathon.