Spike Lee has been named the grand marshal of this year’s New York City Marathon, race officials announced Monday.
The filmmaker, a native New Yorker and famously avid sports fan, is the first New Yorker and only the third grand marshal in the race’s 45-year history.
Lee, who grew up in Brookyln’s Fort Greene neighborhood, said in a press announcement that he was “honored” to be a part of the annual event.
“When my kids were younger, on race day, we would walk outside of my 40 Acres and a Mule office right into the marathon crowd,” he added. “There’s such a New York sense of community around the race. It’s New York City’s biggest block party.”
Lee will take part in race-week festivities, including the opening ceremony, and will ride in the grand marshal vehicle along the 26.2-mile route during the race itself on Nov. 1.
“When we looked at having a Grand Marshal for this year’s TCS New York City Marathon, we envisioned someone the world would immediately recognize as a sports enthusiast and quintessential New Yorker, and Spike was the perfect fit,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.