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NYC Marathon to implement health protocols for safe event, organizer says

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Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre and Zack Guzman spoke with New York Road Runners (NYRR) CEO Kerin Hempel about the health guidelines and logistical challenges organizers have tackled to ensure the safety of the 2021 New York City Marathon.

Video transcript

JARED BLIKRE: The TCS New York City Marathon is back. The largest marathon in the world celebrating its 50th anniversary after being postponed last year. 30,000 fans are expected to attend. And it is the signature event of the New York Road Runners Organization. And we happen to have the CEO of that organization with us, Kerin Hempel. Kerin, thank you for joining us. And there must have been some disappointment last year at knowing that it wasn't going to happen, that it might not happen in the coming year. But here you are, 50 years. What's the lay of the land here?

KERIN HEMPEL: Well, thanks for having us. We are so excited to prepare to welcome thousands of runners to the streets of New York on Sunday, November 7th for the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon. As you mentioned, our 50th running. So of course, coming out of last year and all the challenges globally and in our own city, being able to bring this back and feel that magic on the streets on marathon Sunday is something we're all really looking forward to.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, I mean, a lot of people are looking forward to. I'm going to be out there in Brooklyn, cheering the runners along. I've never run a marathon, but I have run a half, so. Actually, I've run two halves. I don't know if we can call that me running a marathon. I don't think so. But when you look at, I guess, the demand for all this, right, and we've talked about what has kept you from doing it in the past-- that would be COVID-- I mean, how are you kind of bracing for that as a lot of people are going to be there, like myself, cheering all this on? I mean, what are the concerns there?

KERIN HEMPEL: Well, I'm glad to hear you'll be out there. You know, the Marathon Sunday is New York City's one of our biggest block parties that really brings together communities and neighborhoods all across the five boroughs. So we're really excited to have people out there and to cheering all of the great accomplishments of our runners. So obviously, this year, we're putting in a lot of health and safety protocols, especially for our participants. And along the course, we've also ensured that we have extra space for our spectators and that we've been doing a lot of work to ensure their safety.

But in terms of our runners, we really added layered mitigation, whether it's face coverings in crowded areas like the start and finish, ensuring that we're screening for vaccinations and negative COVID tests, increasing our cleaning protocols, and ensuring that, again, we're limiting our touchpoints. So we're really-- we've been putting on events for the past over a year since September 2020, smaller events, as we've worked to build up and make sure all of our plans are in place for this big event.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and, you know, you're talking about some of the safety precautions that you're taking. And this is a business news show, and we talk about a lot about supply chain constraints and bottlenecks. And I'm just wondering, any logistical issues with getting the people there or the materials, everything down to some of the beverages that you have to supply some of the contestants, and, I guess, the audience as well, the fans?

KERIN HEMPEL: Yeah, I'm happy to report now, though, there were some nervous moments of both of our medals and also our ponchos that our finishers received, we were making sure that all of those got loaded off in time, which they have, but we were also affected by those supply chain elements. But we're excited that we do have all of our supplies ready to go, and we're a few days out. And we are happy to report that no snafus there.

ZACK GUZMAN: I mean, obviously, the excitement here is palpable. I can feel it. And I know there's a lot of things going on in New York all the time, but what has you most excited as you kind of prepare for this and look forward to the race this weekend?

KERIN HEMPEL: Well, beyond my role here, it's really as a New Yorker to be able to see and celebrate and have this event that really brings together so much of what's great about New York, the different neighborhoods overcoming adversity, the resilience of our city. In so many ways, the marathon is much bigger than running and much bigger than our sport.

So, excited for this event for it to be on the streets of New York to celebrate alongside everyone and really to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our participants who have been training so much throughout the pandemic and also having had to forego other events over the past year and a half. It's really a great time for the running community to come together.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, it's exciting for everybody, the spectators as well. You know, you don't even need to go out there and run. It does make you want to run, though, so I won't say that. But a shout out to our own Yahoo Finance's Brooke DiPalma going to be running it on behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So we'll give her a shout out. And she's been working hard, but congrats again for getting this out there and a lot of reasons to go watch. Kerin Hempel, New York Road Runner CEO, thanks again for joining us. Appreciate it.

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