I guess I spoke too soon this morning! After tons of criticism that this was not the time for a race, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called off the The New York City Marathon due to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
This is an historic move, the marathon has taken place every year since 1970, including the race in 2001 held two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Critics said that it would be in poor taste to hold a foot race through the five boroughs while so many people in the area were still suffering from the storm’s damage, and that city services should focus on storm relief, not the marathon. And I couldn’t agree more! After all, bodies are still being pulled from the debris and people are without power or food. I spoke to a woman today that had the daughter running and she was really concerned that runners would get booed. I don’t think she was too far from the truth, I think the city’s priorities should be with the victims, not the runners.
An article that I read on Forbes it’s pretty straight to the point:
The marathon will kick off in Staten Island where bodies are still being pulled from the rubble. The marathon is still a go, despite the fact that Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro is pleadingfor help from the Red Cross and other volunteer organizations. Where are the volunteers? Well, they are descending on New York City for a race that has been described in ordinary times as a “grueling feat of logistics.”
Last year, 8,000 people volunteered as part of the marathon, 4,500 pounds of pasta were served at the pre-race pasta dinner, 32,040 gallons of Gatorade were handed out, and 62,370 gallons of Poland Spring Water was made available to runners who splashed it on their faces while throwing 2.3 million cups on the ground. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that there might be some people who could use food and water in the wake of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the northeast in modern history.
And even more this marathon became a matter of controversy and the city was divided, which is the total opposite of what this event is all about! Here’s the statement from Bloomberg’s office:
The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.
We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event – even one as meaningful as this – to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead for participants.”
My heart goes out to all of who lives were deeply affected by this catastrophic storm. There is still a significant amount of work ahead to help families and individuals recover from the destruction of the storm. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give, please make a donation today to the Red Cross.