Larry Trachtenberg took a 50-year-hiatus before returning in 2021 for the 50th NYC Marathon

NEW YORK CITY -- Larry Trachtenberg ran the first New York City Marathon in 1970 when he was just 16 years old.

This year, he returns for the 50th running with the distinction of being the only competitor from year one to compete in 2021.

Trachtenberg hoped to run with lifelong friend and running partner, Jim Eisenberg, whom he met at Princeton decades ago.

The two had a plan years in the making to run the 50th race together. Then, life intervened.

"About four years ago, he was in this horrific accident on a beach in Australia," Trachtenberg says. "Somehow a wave came that he didn't see, and now he's a quadriplegic."

Trachtenberg may not cross the finish line next to his old training partner, but Eisenberg will be there with him in spirit as he winds 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City.

And if Eisenberg's spirit isn't enough motivation for Trachtenberg, his old friend will be there in person, on the sidelines, cheering him on.

"It gives me more of a reason to run it," Trachtenberg says, "I'll be thinking of people like Jim."