About 50,000 runners started the New York City Marathon on Sunday — and they were the lucky ones. Only 17 percent of those who had entered a drawing that fills a third of the field were selected, and applications for those spots were up about 20 percent over the year before, according to race organizers.
But not every race is so popular. Road races have hit the wall. The number of finishers in events in the United States has fallen from a peak of about 19 million in 2013 to just over 17 million in 2016.