NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Organizers held a ceremonial painting of the finish line in Central Park for the TCS New York City Marathon.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill also gave an update Wednesday on security plans for Sunday’s race, promising the marathon will be one of the best protected events in the nation.

“We’re ready for Sunday,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. “You know this is a national event. We’ve been doing this for so many years. I say come to the event, enjoy the event. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. It will be a safe event.”

Chief of Department Carlos Gomez says thousands of officers in uniforms will be lining the route from Staten Island to Manhattan.

“There are schools of officers in plain clothes that you will not be able to see, they will be mixing in with the crowds. These are officers that are specially trained,” Gomez said.

In addition, the NYPD will using heavy weapons teams that will be stationed throughout the route. Last year, 14,000 barricades and nearly 2,000 officers were used to protect runners and spectators.

WEB EXTRA: Marathon Race Info, Where To Watch

The race started in 1970 with 127 competitors running several loops around Central Park.

In the 1976 Bicentennial year, then-city auditor George Spitz and then Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton convinced Mayor Abe Beame that a five borough marathon would help the city’s image problem.

MORE: Restaurants Along The Route

“The city was in crisis, on the edge of bankruptcy, crime was hitting new highs. There were fires burning in the Bronx, it was a tough time,” New York Road Runners Chairman George Hirsch told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “I’m not sure he knew quite what he was agreeing to. I’m not even sure that we did and there was no talk what-so-ever about doing this a second year or that this became a permanent event in the city, and the first one was just a big hit right from the start.”

That race had just over 2,000 runners, mostly from New York.

This year’s race will have move than 50,000 competitors from nearly every country across the globe.


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