The Unlikely Sponsor Behind the New York City Marathon

TCS pours tens of millions of dollars into global marathons every year. That few know what it does or its Indian origins is by design.

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Peres Jepchirchir is seen winning the Professional Women's Division during the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon on November 07, 2021 in NYC (Bryan Bedder/New York Road Runners via Getty Images)

Isha Banerjee


November 3, 2023


6 min

After talking to a doctor about some health concerns, Natarajan Chandrasekaran began going on long walks. In the ensuing months, he found a life-changing passion for not just walking but running. In 2008, at age 44, he ran his first marathon. Looking to do more, Chandrasekaran also convinced the company he worked at, an IT company headquartered in Mumbai, to invest in marathons. 

For Chandrasekaran, the lessons he learned from running apply everywhere. “To succeed, you will need tremendous willpower, perseverance,” he said in a 2022 talk. “And you require a certain rhythm and pace to keep going.”

Today, Tata Consultancy Services, which goes by TCS, sponsors marathons around the world, from London to Mumbai to Amsterdam. But the biggest marathon with its name is happening this weekend. The New York City Marathon, held every first Sunday of November, is now in its 53rd year. Starting in 1970 with only 55 runners crossing the finish line, today, it is also the world’s largest, with over 50,000 participants this year. Despite TCS planning to pour hundreds of millions into marathons, however, few know what the company does or about its Indian roots. Experts, though, say this is intentional.

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