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Princess of Asturias Awards

06/18/2014

The New York City Marathon, Prince of Asturias Award for Sports

The New York City Marathon has been bestowed the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

©FPA

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Josep Lluis Vilaseca i Guasch and made up of Jesús Álvarez Cervantes, Alejandro Blanco Bravo, Emilio Butragueño Santos, Óscar Campillo Madrigal, Miguel Carballeda Piñeiro, Marisol Casado Estupiñán, Josep María Casanovas i Punti, Joaquín Folch-Rusiñol Corachán, César González Antón, Gemma Mengual Civil, Javier Muñoz Gallego, Santiago Nolla Zayas, Juan Antonio Paredero Moreno, María Rodríguez Escario, Eduardo Roldán Oses, Amaya Valdemoro Madariaga, Emilio de Villota Ruiz, Theresa Zabell Lucas and Julián Redondo Pérez (acting as secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Bernardo Hernández González, General Manager at Flickr and Senior Vice President of Product Management at Yahoo, and Jury member for the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research.

The New York City Marathon is the most popular race of its kind (42.195 kilometres) held annually in the world. It is traditionally held on the first Sunday in November. It was founded in 1970 by Fred Lebow (1932-1994) and organized by the New York Road Runners, the club he was president of. Only 127 runners competed in the first race, paying a registration fee of $1. Only 55 competitors crossed the finish line after completing a circuit that consisted of several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park, on the island of Manhattan. Six years later, Lebow decided to redesign the course so that it traversed all five boroughs of the city, from Staten Island to Manhattan, through Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. He managed to raise participation to 2,090 athletes, including Olympic Marathon champion Frank Shorter, and to catch the attention of the media and residents, who lined the entire route to cheer on the runners. Since then, the New York Marathon –integrated in the World Marathon Major along with the Boston, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin and London Marathons– has grown steadily, becoming an athletics event of international scope in which more than 50,000 participants, including professionals and amateurs, currently cross the finish line.

With its course traversing the entire city, the New York City Marathon became an event which began to appeal to some of the top runners in the world at this distance due to bringing together sport, civic spirit and media coverage. In 1978, more than 9,000 runners competed in the race for the first time; a race in which the Norwegian long distance runner Grete Waitz set a new course record for women by completing the distance in 2 hours 32 minutes and 30 seconds. Waitz is also is the athlete to have won this race on the most occasions; nine times in all. In the 90s, African athletes began to come to the front and, in 1994, Kenyan Tegla Loroupe demonstrated with her first victory in the women’s category that African women runners were on the same level as men. This opened the gates for women to be invited to participate in other international long distance races. In 2000, the organization included an official wheelchair division, which over time has also become the most competitive race in the international arena at this distance and which also includes athletes using handcycles and those with other types of disabilities.

The growth of the New York City Marathon has led to popular participation currently being chosen via a lottery system among those enrolled. In 2013, more than 50,000 runners completed the race, making this the largest marathon anywhere in the world. The holding of the race is also accompanied by a week of events and exhibitions for runners, their relatives and those accompanying them. To achieve all this, the organization mobilizes more than 9,000 volunteers, who work during the activities leading up to the marathon and on the day of the race itself, standing along a course lined by more than two million spectators. The only cancellation in the history of New York City Marathon took place in 2012, following Hurricane Sandy, although thousands of people gathered in Central Park to run, thus reinforcing the symbolism of this test. The next race, which was won in 2013 by Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo, will take place on 2nd November this year.

According to the Statutes of the Foundation, the Prince of Asturias Awards aim “to reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. As part of this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports shall be conferred on those “whose lives and work are not only examples to others, but who have also contributed in an extraordinary manner through their efforts to the advancement, nurturing, fostering or dissemination of sport”. 

This year a total of 22 candidatures from Andorra, Belgium, Egypt, Japan, Lebanon, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, The Philippines, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Spain ran for the award.

This is the seventh of eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year, in what is now their thirty-fourth edition. The Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts went to American architect Frank O. Gehry, the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was conferred on French historian and Hispanist Joseph Pérez, the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities went to the Argentinian-Spanish cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, Quino, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research was jointly bestowed on chemists Avelino Corma (Spain), Mark E. Davis (USA) and Galen D. Stucky (USA), the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature went to Irish writer John Banville and the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation was conferred on the Fulbright Program for educational and cultural exchange.

Each of the Prince of Asturias Awards, which date back to 1981, comprises a diploma, a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Awards, an insignia bearing the Foundation’s coat of arms, and a cash prize of 50,000 euros. The Awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony presided over by HRH The Prince of Asturias.

Previous award winners

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