Security was a top priority Sunday at the New York City Marathon as 47,000 runners traversed the five boroughs in cool temperatures and a stiff wind from the north.
This year's race marked the return of the marathon after a one-year hiatus because of superstorm Sandy. It also comes just eight months after the Boston Marathon bombing in April, which killed three people and injured more than 260.
Spectators who came out to cheer on the some 47,000 runners were mindful of the significance of this year's race.
On Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, between Douglass Street and Degraw Streets, Chris Eagan, 62, held a sign urging on his daughter Kristy Eagan, 27, a third-year law student at Fordham University.
"The cancellation last year from Sandy and bombing in Boston -- this is an important year," said Eagan, who lives in Brooklyn. He is originally from Levittown and has watched the race nearly every year for three decades with his wife, Violet. "I think everybody wants to see this go off in a great way. This is a celebration for New York City," he said.
Runners had to file through a security checkpoint before the start. Blue police barricades blocked intersecting streets and police cruisers and ambulances were evident along the route.
The heavy security included a bomb-sniffing dog near the finish line, barricades around Central Park to limit entry points, bag checks and scuba divers in the waters. There are also about 1,500 cameras along the route, police said.
The first wave included wheelchair or disabled racers, followed by the professional women, professional men and recreational runners.
Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the elite men's race with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 24 seconds. and Priscah Jeptoo, also of Kenuya, won the elite women's race, passing the finish line after 2 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds.
American Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair division, completing an unprecedented "Grand Slam" of four marathons this year. Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men's wheelchair race.
The race also had its sideline festivities. The band Hell or High Water began its set with "Proud Mary" shortly before 9 a.m. as the wheelchair racers whizzed by. Guitarist Tom Wipf, 57, of Park Slope, said the group had played at the marathon for five years.
"We're glad to be back. We understood all the decisions that had to be made," he said of last year's cancellation. "We stay here until the very last runner goes by. Every single runner has some motivation -- whether they're running for a charity or a personal reason . . . it's powerful stuff."
At the 15-mile mark, Nandito Noor, 30, of Toronto, watched as the first wave of male runners strode by.
"Post-Boston, you have to come out to this," he said. "That's what running is about. Bringing people together."
Bronx resident Pedro Velez, 57, stood at mile 20 cheering on the runners. The school bus driver has finished running in ten NYC marathons and brought his medals as a sign of encouragement.
"The dream is to run in the New York City Marathon for all runners," Velez said. "It's like if you are Frank Sinatra and get to perform in Radio City Music Hall or Tito Trinidad and get to box at Madison Square Garden."