Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Jessica Derschowitz
October 05, 2015 AT 03:31 PM EDT

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.

Lee was recently named one of the honorees at this year’s Governor’s Awards. His next film, Chiraq, will premiere on Amazon in December.

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