CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (PIX11) — Runners from all over the world are converging in New York City to compete in one of the most famous marathons. The celebration is on as the NYC marathon returns to its pre-pandemic level this weekend.

It’s been called the biggest and longest block party in New York City.

The TCS New York City Marathon is back to full capacity, back to its pre-pandemic level of 50,000 runners through all five boroughs in this 26.2-mile trek.

And some runners clearly just can’t get enough. This will be 58-year-old Joann Alicea’s 20th NYC marathon.

“There is nothing like it on this earth,” Alicea told PIX11 News. “The love is amazing.”

In the opening ceremony called the Parade of Nations, there were thousands who are running for so many poignant reasons.

Costa Loannou is one of them. The marathon falls on the exact day that his 9-year-old daughter Joanna died four years ago from SUDEP, or Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

“It’s going to be a tough day,” Loannou told PIX11 News. “My wife and kids find this time of year difficult. I haven’t trained, so that push will be Joanna,” he added.

Members of the Rudin family have been running the marathon for more than 40 years and are one of the earliest sponsors.

This year there is a concern because the temperature may be record-breaking in the 70s:

“It’s going to be tough. They have to drink a lot,” William Rudin told PIX11 News. “I keep texting friends to make sure that they drink and keep up their pace.”

Kenny Lloyd of Harlem said he’ll keep hydrated as the 32-year-old runs his first marathon as a third-generation long-distance runner.

“It’s about finishing and celebrating my story,” Lloyd told PIX11 News. “Remembering my grandfather running and watching dad run the marathon.”