Just hours after announcing the The New York City Marathon was still scheduled, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office announced late Friday afternoon it had been canceled. This is the first time the race has not been run since it began in 1970. This includes the 2001 race in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy.
Bloomberg had said as recently as early Friday afternoon that the marathon, scheduled to start Sunday morning, would go on and serve as a demonstration that the city was recovering from the storm and moving forward. The marathon had been rebranded the “Race to Recover.”
But other elected officials from around the city said holding it so soon after a major storm and holding the race Sunday could drain resources from the city’s recovery efforts.Several city officials also said it was insult to hard-hit residents still cleaning up and worried that it would get in the way of recovering from a storm that killed at least 41 people in New York City alone.
This front page of the New York Post further highlighted the misuse of power:
“Those generators could power 400 homes on Staten Island or the Rockaways or any storm-racked neighborhood in the city certain to be suffering the after-affects of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday morning,” the Post thundered in a Friday editorial.
This image has been circulated media outlets this week:
In addition, the leader of the Police Benevolent Association said the department was stretched too thin to facilitate what he called “essentially a citywide party.”
It is unfortunate that there have been many runners who have flown internationally to compete in this famous race only to have it canceled on them, but it truly would cause more negative feelings than positive.
The marathon, Bloomberg said, would “give people something to cheer about in a week that’s been pretty dismal.”
This sentiment has received overwhelming backlash from critics in the media as well as local lawmakers.
“Score one for sanity. Let’s continue to focus on rescue, relief, repair efforts,” tweeted New York State Sen. Liz Krueger, who represents Manhattan’s East Side, after the announcement to cancel the race.
On the lighter side of this matter, I think that it is a good thing for one less than obvious reason. During the day of the race, participants in the New York Marathon ride the subway for free (a fact that I learned from watching How I Met Your Mother). Since full service to the subway hasn’t been restored yet, think about all of the awesome places you are missing out on.
The current plan is for the race to be held in the spring. Race organizers have said that anyone who signed up to race Sunday will be registered for the next one.