Viewpoint: Why They Should Cancel the NYC Marathon

Allowing it to continue means hundreds of workers will have to focus on a road race instead of the more immediate needs of a city crippled by Hurricane Sandy

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Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

Runners make their way through Queens during the 2011 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, 2011

History is full of uplifting, utterly improbable tales of sports teams and athletic events lifting up communities — even whole nations — devastated by loss or reeling from upheaval. Hollywood, of course, does this based-on-true-events genre as well as anyone, with movies like Invictus, We Are Marshall and countless others celebrating the enduring ideal of the inspirational underdogs. Then there are those unforgettable, heart-stopping moments in one’s own life (Mike Piazza’s monumental home run against Atlanta at Shea Stadium in 2001, in front of 40,000 disbelieving fans just 10 days after 9/11, for instance) when the world of sports seems the only realm capable of awing and uniting us at the same time.

Maybe this restorative element of sports is at least part of what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had in mind when he recently announced that despite the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in all five of the city’s boroughs — and New Jersey, Connecticut and a dozen other states — the Nov. 4 New York City Marathon will go ahead as planned.

(MORE: Live Updates from Sandy’s Aftermath)

That’s right. With three dozen New Yorkers killed (and scores of others from the Caribbean to New England dead or missing) and the likelihood of the discovery of more bodies still high; with millions of people in New York and the tristate region without power, heat or, in many cases, fresh food; with the city’s subways, buses and roadways in a state of schizoid paralysis; with the estimated bill for the cleanup and recovery from the devastation soaring toward $50 billion over who knows how many years and how many cost overruns, delays and disruptions; and finally, with a city of 8 million people still grappling with the emotional, psychological and financial body blows it’s endured over the past several days, Bloomberg thinks the road race should go on.

“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on [this race],” Bloomberg said at a news briefing on Oct. 31. “We have to have an economy … It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind.”

(MORE: A City of Light and a City of Darkness: How Sandy Created Two Manhattans)

Yes, of course, the marathon — in a normal year — pours an estimated $340 million into the city. In an economy as battered and fragile as ours has been for the past several years, that kind of number is hard to ignore.

Then there’s what might be called the emotional argument. Bloomberg used it in his briefing, insisting that those New Yorkers killed by Sandy would want us all to go on, to push up our sleeves and spit on our hands and, for their sake, get back to the noble work of … what? Hosting a marathon? Less than a week after they and scores of others died? Sorry, but that sort of reasoning is specious, at best.

Some who support keeping the marathon on schedule this year will no doubt point to, again, 2001, reminding us that after 9/11, the marathon went on as planned. Compelling as that might be, the 2011 marathon was not only run two months after the World Trade Center attacks, but it also took place in a city that was — physically, at least — unscathed beyond the appalling, gaping wound in Lower Manhattan.

(MORE: The Race Goes On: Despite Floods and Crippled Transportation, NYC Marathon Will Proceed as Planned)

But beyond all of the touchy-feely notions about whether or not the marathon should go on, Bloomberg’s decision not to cancel the race is, ultimately, a profound and irresponsible error in judgment. Inviting tens of thousands of people, many from out of town, to run through the streets of New York less than a week after the biggest Atlantic storm in history raked the city and leveled entire neighborhoods means that hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of cops, emergency and hospital personnel, sanitation workers and others who are needed right now to continue the recovery effort — and, in all probability, to save lives that are still in the balance — all of these men and women will have to spend precious hours concentrating on a road race instead of the critical needs of their fellow citizens. Yes, the marathon runs so smoothly every year thanks to thousands of volunteers, but that hardly negates the fact that city services are, to a greater or lesser extent, involved in its often thrilling annual triumph.

At the very least, the marathon can and should be postponed for, say, one month. After all, the race’s organizers themselves take great (and rightful) pride in stressing how nimble they are when dealing with even colossal obstacles. In the end, it makes no difference — no difference at all — if the marathon goes off without a hitch. But what if one person dies because a great city’s already strained, compromised resources are diverted from a more urgent task at hand?

Perhaps Michael Bloomberg can live with that risk. As a man and as a mayor, though, he will be diminished by having taken it.

(PHOTOSThe Toil After the Storm: Life in Sandy’s Wake)

MORE: In the Eye of the Storm: Capturing Sandy’s Wrath

61 comments
brooklynite4321
brooklynite4321

Sorry, but I have a hard time worrying about the thousands of runners who might be "inconvenienced" if the marathon is postponed. Does anyone honestly believe that the race this year is going to have a significant impact on the local economy, relative to the inconceivable destruction and loss of life that NYers are STILL grappling with? As for those folks here questioning whether the writer of the editorial or those who agree with him are "real new Yorkers" -- here's a clue: Real New Yorkers take care of their own first, before pulling on their shorts and running around the city. Got it?

TurtleRunner
TurtleRunner

Did no one in New York and New Jersey know that this hurricane was coming?  It was on the new constantly for days before is made land.  Listening to the news now, it sounds like no one in the Tri State area had food, blankets, water, gas, or anything else in their homes.  I realize this is a terrible tragedy, but for Pete's sake, stop the whining.  People are always looking for a hand out in America.

Americantwins
Americantwins

@TurtleRunner 

Are you for real?  People lost more than food and gas.  People lost their homes and their lives.  Unfortunately, it would have been nice to see other states coming to our aid after all the times throughout the years we have come to the aid to others during disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.  So before you call anyone whiners, try looking in your own backyard.  I assume you were planning on running in this marathon.  I'm sure your money will be refunded.  Is running in this marathon more important to you rather than letting New York concentrate on putting all their energies into getting their residents back in their homes and on their feet.  You can still come to NY and tell the people who lost homes and are staying in the hotels to get out so you can have a place to rest before a race.  Have you seen Staten Island?  I dare you call them whiners to their faces.  You are NOT a TRUE AMERICAN.  Only true Americans are there for their fellow citizens during a natural disaster.

TurtleRunner
TurtleRunner

@Americantwins

I feel terrible for everyone that this storm has affected.  Everywhere.  Because the NYC Tri State area is so populated, it takes a lot of aid to get to all of these people.  I honestly think the Mayor of NYC should have cancelled this Marathon, but he didn't.  So why complain about it.  As for Staten Island, maybe if that Mayor didn't slam the Red Cross, the aid would get there a little faster.  I'm sure if people don't donate to the Red Cross, as he suggests, that will slow things down even more. 

Tripletdad
Tripletdad

As a marathoner I am amazed that anyone would put their deisre to complete this Marathon above the needs of the people of the area.  The services required to support a marathon will take away from those in need, and a true runner who has put in the time and effort to train would want the logistics required to be put where it is needed.  I would call on all of my fellow runners to NOT run this race.  There is always another marathon, these people are suffering a once in a lifetime event.

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@Tripletdad What are the numbers of these services that will take away from people in need?  How exactly does this cause a strain, other than just saying it causes a strain?  I have a hard time believing, that with all the media attention we are receiving in NYC right now, that el Bloombito, as questionable as his decisions can be, would actually take NYPD personnel of search and rescue efforts, leaving them short-staffed so they could close the roads for the marathon.  Please, actual proof, numbers would be nice of how this effects storm relief, instead of hearsay and hysteria from people not even living here.  That wasn't meant to be rude, sorry.  It's just getting frustrating.

Tripletdad
Tripletdad

@BrooklynRunner11215  BrooklynRunner surely if you have been involved in any marathon you have seen the infrastructure required and the manpower whether paid or volunteer that it takes to host such an event.  I never mentioned search and rescue efforts, or pulling staff away from those tasks.  Sorry you are getting frustrated but in my heart I can not imagine anyone pulling one hour away from relief efforts.  It's not hearsay or hysteria, just common sense.  I also agree with you about the other events this weekend ie football, basketball.  I, like you, have contributed to helping the impacted area out.  I live in south Georgia and we are very familiar with the impact of storms such as these.  I could not imagine us running a marathon in Jacksonville, New Orleans, or Savannah only a few days afterwards.   Best regards from one runner to another. 

DanielDouglas
DanielDouglas like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sorry to offend anyone who wants to run, though I feel the number of floodedout houses I've had to be in or near and the number of cold, hungry, anddistressed people I've had to talk with in the last three days morethan justifies the position I take here. 

Many are expressing outrage, but I am advocating action: To host a marathon in this momentis both myopic and decadent. If the mayor chooses to go through with it,he's only confirming peoples' worst suspicions about him - that he isan elitist oligarch aloof of his constituency even during a crisis. 

I encourage a public workers' boycott of the 2012 NYC marathon. ManyPolice, Fire, EMT, Parks, MTA and other staff live or grew up inaffected areas; many are probably helping their loved ones or cleaningout their own houses as I write this. If they simply refuse to providethe city with the human resources it needs to make the event happen, itwon't happen. We all know how many police it takes to set up barricades,re-route traffic, and monitor the proceedings. Same goes for parkstaff, DOT staff, and EMTs. If you're on the clock to work on Sunday, gowhere your services are really needed, not where they're not. If youchoose to do your job as assigned, nobody will blame you, but if youchoose to act in good conscience on behalf of those who need you mostright now, know that so many stand behind you. Please re-post widely if you agree.

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@DanielDouglas Do you, by chance, know exactly how many public workers will be pulled from assignments to staff the marathon?  Or do you have any idea if public workers whose homes have been affected by will be forced to staff the NYC marathon?  Just looking for numbers.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

The NYRR does not close and reopen the streets, nor do they drive the ambulances, nor do they cleanup afterwards, nor do they provide crowd control, etc, etc.  Additionally, it is ridiculous that any bridge be taken out of service at this point of great need.  Bottom line here - it is being held for monitary reasons, and the strain that it puts on the city infrastructure is unacceptible at this time. 

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@HudsonValleyTim No, you are correct, NYRR does not open and close roads.  The police do.  But do you really think that they are pulling police away from search and rescue for the marathon??  There are 35,000 NYPD officers, a few hundred would help with the marathon.  Ambulances that are needed elsewhere will be elsewhere.  

You are correct that this is about money.  Because the economy will suffer without the marathon.  The NYPD will lose over a $1 million in fees that NYRR pays for it's presence, $350 million in revenue for local businesses, $2.5 million that is being donated to hurricane victims from the NYRR, not including the smaller personal fundraising that many of the local and AND out-of-town marathoners are now setting up to donate to help with storm relief via the Red Cross (to which I donated today, did you?), as well as the thousands of clothing items that runners donate every year to the Salvation Army from the start line.

That's why I asked for numbers, what exactly IS the strain and HOW exactly does this hurt the city?

LarysaDidio
LarysaDidio

Completely, absolutely, 100 percent in agreement

WorryDr
WorryDr

In another article, highlighted in this one, the author wrote "the storm has provided a silver lining for east coast participants: they may actually run faster".  We all know the value of a PR.  Just make sure you dodge those crazy obstacles that were placed on the course: cars, parts of homes, personal belongings, bodies. A person certainly deserves a $5 medal around their neck for participating this race. I suggest adding a pillow because clearly these participates can lay their head down on one with no concern or regret.

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@WorryDr There is a group called Back On My Feet that consists of runners who are currently living in homeless shelters in the 5 boroughs.  They have been living in shelters since long before Hurricane Sandy with limited resources.  Back on My Feet gives them the confidence, strength and self-esteem they need to move forward with their lives and find jobs, homes and a sense of purpose.  They have put in many tough miles during many early mornings even though they have had to wait every day in lines for bathrooms and food. This marathon will show them and their fellow shelter residents what you can achieve even when you don't have all of the conveniences most of us enjoy.  There is a team of Back on My Feet runners that will be running the marathon on Sunday. If you see them, be sure to call them selfish and lazy.

By everyone's reasoning here, no one should ever participate in or spectate at any sporting event ever while there is tragedy in the world.  I hope the Kenyan man that wins the marathon will take his prize money back to Kenya and help feed the literally millions of people who have been starving there for decades.  The Knicks game tonight and the Nets game tomorrow should be cancelled so that the combined 36,000 people attending these games can focus on the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Also, the Giants game on Sunday (same day as the Marathon) should be postponed so that the 80,000+ attending can be dropped off in New Jersey to help the recovery there. …oh wait, it doesn’t work that way with popular sports?

VillageTom
VillageTom like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@BrooklynRunner11215 You've either never run a marathon or you're just plain stupid. A Knicks game or a Nets game doesn't require thousands of hotel rooms for out-of-town runners. A Knicks game does strain scarce medical resources that will be needed to attend to the 100+ runners that will require medical attention. A Knicks game doesn't close bridges or require a massive cleanup of the streets. A Knicks game doesn't require extra generators in central park that could be used by the thousands still lacking power. 

Americantwins
Americantwins

@VillageTom @BrooklynRunner11215 

The Steelers are arriving and leaving the same day they play the Giants this Sunday.  They didn't turn around and say we are entitled to hotel rooms and we want them now.  Plus the NFL has made donations to the Hurricane Sandy relief.  What have the marathon runners done?

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Your arguments are so shallow and self-serving.  The hosting of this marathon cannot be compared to any other sporting event, save perhaps the Olympics, with respect to the drain that it places on city resources.  Beyond the police officers are the sanitation workers, the parks department, emergency personnel on stand-by, and the list goes on-and-on.  This is not to mention the tents and generators and fresh water and port-a-potties that have to be marshalled into place and manned for this purely recreational event. 

I agree that the race serves a greater good, both economically and humanistically, but self-esteem that those homeless that you champion need can easily be found by spending a few hours assisting in the recovery effort.  The thousands of volunteers that line the race-route can do the same.  In the end, pushing the race back by 2 weeks gives the city time to recover sufficiently that this splendid event won't look like a fashion show in a war zone.  The speediest runner can wait that long for his shiny-new Mercedes.

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@HudsonValleyTim Point by point, my friend:

Sanitation:  The marathon is staffed by volunteers and NYRR employees who implement ALL cleanup of debris and garbage owing to the marathon.  I volunteered last year, this is what I did.  We were instructed to clean the street (for 2 block stretch) of any and all debris (including garbage from spectators).  This is no strain on city resources.

EMTs are also volunteers, not city workers.  They will also have EMTs at the sporting events mentioned above, but no one is mad that they will not be working on relief efforts.

There are no extra parks department workers in Central Park (the only park in use for the marathon).  Again, cleanup efforts are all volunteer of NYRR staffed.

The tents, generators and portapotties are all owned/rented by NYRR, a not-for-profit organization.  These are not the city's property nor a drain on city resources.

Assuming you know what would "easily" boost the shelter runners' self esteem, is not  very nice.  I never make the mistake of assuming I know strangers better than they know themselves.  

Also how do you know that the thousands volunteering for the race haven't already donated and volunteered this week and will continue to do so next week and the next (as I know many local running clubs who volunteer for the race will)?

This is planned for 9 months of the year for specific date.  It cannot simply be pushed back, to do so would create even more of a public resource snarl.

And lastly, the speediest runner will most likely be a Kenyan, coming from a village that has very little electricity and running water and has been that way for decades. 

MichaelRubin
MichaelRubin like.author.displayName 1 Like

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:Although I have not been a New York City resident since 1991, I am a native of New York City, 3rd generation born (Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn and Queens). It is a city I love, a city where I was educated both at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and educated in the streets. My parents were employed by the City their entire lives (over 60 years collectively) as were a large number of my relatives. A photo of my mother with you, signed by you, hangs in her office at home in Long Beach, New York. New York City is where I first met my wife and a place still in my heart every day.

I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I remember listening to friends in NYPD and FDNY share the horror and cry on my shoulder. I remember volunteering near Ground Zero to feed the first responders. I remember going to Shea Stadium where baseball resumed after a week or so off. I remember Mike Piazza hitting a monster home run off the Brave’s pitcher (who I don’t remember) and for a moment, the city erupting in joy. I remember the last day of the 2001 season, walking with and photographing Mets’ then-manager, Bobby Valentine, as he took the child survivors of fallen first responders on a tour of Shea Stadium.

Back then both Bud Selig and Rudy Giuliani had the good sense to wait to resume baseball and get back to the “new” normalcy. Now David Stern and you have allowed Basketball to resume with $150 seats and the NYC Marathon to resume while the city, state and region are in ruins.

While I am all for getting back to normalcy, and while the death toll pales in comparison to 9/11, so many lives have been disrupted. Over 100 homes are gone in Breezy Point-home to so many first responders. Staten Island is a war zone. On Long Island no seaside community is unaffected. The beaches of Long Beach were washed 2 blocks inland and streets and cars are covered in sand. The water line is up a few feet blocks from the ocean and a few stories next to the ocean.

So to add insult to injury, while first responders are overworked, stressed to breaking, many of whom lost their homes, you want to hold the Marathon. I am all for getting back to “normal” as soon as possible but let’s think about the impact.

You have generators sitting idly in Central Park. You have Gatorade and so much ready for the Marathon. Meanwhile people are starving and eating rations thanks to the National Guard. People are cold and without power. Roads are closed. Homes are destroyed. People are cold and powerless. Cars lack gasoline and diesel. People are homeless and displaced. When you start those generators and the opening shot fires remember those hotel rooms that could be shelter from the cold, the generators making power for the city, the gasoline that could be powering emergency and everyday vehicles, pumps for the tunnels and water and sewage treatment plants and every single first responder now tasked with keeping order during the Marathon.I am pretty sure ING can wait to have the Marathon. I know the runners can and are willing. This is the worst mistake you can make.

You can’t run again, although you might change the rules once more. I think the opening shot of the Marathon should be your final act as Mayor. If the people could even vote-which they won’t with schools closed and no way to get to polls-they should impeach you.

You sir, are a Grade A A-Hole.

Here’s a Bronx Cheer to you,

Mayor Mc16 Ounce.

Signed, a Republican with a heart, a Capitalist with a conscience,

Michael RubinPlainview, New York

dolupduk
dolupduk like.author.displayName 1 Like

only running should be by those removing debris and working to restore areas most devastated..make that the new course,,aid stations filled with daily needs, food, water, batteries (park),  everyone in need welcome to take,,,runners going back and forth from trucks replenishing supplies...winner is who (wearing pedometer) traveled 26.2 miles the fastest to give away the most to the largest amount of people.

discowhale
discowhale like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Mr. Cosgrove,

first, I agree with you that the race should be cancelled.  But the idea that Mike Bloomberg's mayoral image could be diminished is laughable.  

He's ALREADY a joke!

He is the lowest kind of self-aggrandizing, self-important, misguided, party hopping politician I can think of.  Look at some of the kinds of things he supports or thinks are proper.

 .

He was a (D) when it was advantageous, then he became a (R) when THAT would help him, but his policies and ideas are the same.

He thinks disarming the populace will make them safer.

He thinks HE should decide what or how much working, thinking, buying ADULTS can eat or drink.

He's so sure of his way being the RIGHT way, he had the NYC term limit laws changed so he could run for mayor again.

He's in favor of allowing illegal immigrants permanent status, BUT he thinks ALL citizens should be fingerprinted and DNA data banked.

 .

So I think the Mayor has already diminished his image.  The marathon going on in spite of the devastation in NYC isn't the problem, it's just another symptom of Bloomberg's opinion of himself.  He can do no wrong, just ask him.  

HAIL King Bloomie!

AnnBurchill
AnnBurchill

what do the new yorkers think? they are the ones who will be there.

TimothySchaffer
TimothySchaffer like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AnnBurchill As someone who just escaped Hoboken after being surrounded by water, sewage, and oil without power since Monday, I believe the Marathon should be rescheduled or cancelled. The marathon is basically a parade through a disaster area.

nchimpsky
nchimpsky like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I'll tell you what-- Please explain to my mortgage company, that out of respect for the victims, that we are skipping this month's payment.   Hell, while you're at it, call my utility companies too.

Guess what Ben....they don't care.   They want money & money is predicated on an economy ...not grief.   So getting the city up & running as a tourist destination is essential.  

Speaking of essential.... columnists / editors are a dime a dozen right now.   Think about becoming a heavy equipment operator or an electrician.   Then you can help out with the cleanup.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@nchimpsky I have to think all those people who lost so much are still going to have bills to pay too.  It seems like getting them up and running again should be the priority.

TimothySchaffer
TimothySchaffer

@nchimpsky The volunteers should go down to Staten Island and help relieve the suffering instead of hosting a parade.  I was stuck in my flooded apartment for days and consider myself lucky.  Bloomberg should listen to the Staten Island residents and politicians and cancel the race.  The ems workers need to focus on helping victims.  

nchimpsky
nchimpsky

@TimothySchaffer @nchimpsky  Tim... if you feel like helping why not host some of the people that are displaced (I've got 4 extra people at my house & several more that take showers, get a meal, etc)   

As for the volunteers, until the gas company & electric company square things away, nobody is allowed in these areas.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

It is estimated that the marathon is consuming 40% of the hotel space in NYC.  Do you argue that there is a possibility that these rooms would go empty?  Restaurants, and grocery stores, and drug stores are cleaned-out, and it's not because of the tourists.  The NYC economy does not need the marathon to keep its engine revving right now.  It needs to pay attention to the needs of its residents and heal-up for a couple of weeks.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

As a runner and someone who's not had power and gasoline not available for two weeks in the aftermath of a hurricane (with two small kids and two elderly parents).  I cant imagine having resources tied up hosting a race.  Every able bodied city and state employee that can be spared should be in those areas effected by the storm.  This is a "no-brainer".

Paterick
Paterick like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I agree with this author and I am a marathon runner.  This is serious. Time is of the essence to help these people.  No time should be devoted to this marathon right now.  Postpone the marathon.

JustMe711
JustMe711 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I totally agree with You all !!  This race should have been put on the back burner or something....If these people wanted to "do something" for NY, how bout helping with the rescue and recovery, or help people at shelters ??  Priorities people...priorities !!  SMH !!

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@JustMe711 Many of us ARE helping and ARE donating and have been doing so all week after cleaning up our own mess.  I live here and have felt the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Don't make the mistake of assuming you know what the runners' motivations are (or anyone's for that matter).

Runner
Runner like.author.displayName 1 Like

I am running the marathon on Sunday and am taking the opportunity to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.  People have been very generous with their donations so far.  The relief organizations need cash and this is a good way to help.  I will be thinking of all the victims of this horrific storm.  

TimothySchaffer
TimothySchaffer

@Runner If you want to help, skip the mararton and volunteer your time doing something that doesn't pull ems workers away from victims.  

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@TimothySchaffer Native brooklynite here. I've seen some of the affected areas. I have 5 friends staying with me now who have no power or water. I volunteered yesterday and will again today to help with cleanup efforts in Red Hook, which was badly flooded.

But what are the facts here? Exactly what and how many resources are diverted? How exactly does this affect the beleaguered areas in question? Because I'm sensing that this is entirely an emotional argument.

Please know, city resources are NOT being diverted to the marathon. The marathon is staffed by volunteers and NYRR employees, they have their own power generators, their sponsors (Gatorade and Power Bar, etc) provide food and drink to the marathoners. It's not run on any effected streets (except for Central Park which had downed trees), effected streets will not be closed for the Marathon, and it's not that the City doesn't have enough cops, there are 35,000 NYC police officers. How many of those will be working at the marathon. 500? 750?

What will be lost if the Marathon is cancelled? The NYPD will lose over a $1 million in fees that NYRR pays for it's presence, $350 million in revenue for local businesses, $2.5 million that is being donated to hurricane victims from the NYRR, not including the smaller personal fundraising that many of the local and AND out-of-town marathoners are now setting up to donate to help with storm relief via the Red Cross (to which I donated today, did you?), as well as the thousands of clothing items that runners donate every year to the Salvation Army from the start line.

Don't assume that all runners are vain and are running to be insensitive. People run for myriad reasons, including the father that just lost his 7 year old daughter to cancer, and her last gift to him was entry into this year's marathon, or those for whom running the marathon is emotional - as they run in memory of someone whom they have loved and lost.

I'm running on Sunday and I really hope everyone is volunteering or donating (or both) to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and not just focusing on the marathon as an easy way to express their anger and frustration at such a senseless tragedy.

BrooklynRunner11215
BrooklynRunner11215

@DeeKaur I get it.  The Verrazano Bridge will be closed for 6 hours on a Sunday morning.  Do you really think they are literally taking police away from security assignments in neighborhoods that are being looted and placing them on marathon duty?  Do you REALLY think that wasn't thought about before the decision to go ahead was announced?  See my post above about Back on My Feet, the group of homeless men and women who live in shelters who are running the marathon even though they have to wait everyday in lines for bathrooms and food, if there is any.  You don't think the marathon can have a positive impact at all with stories like that?  None?

DeeKaur
DeeKaur

There are issues that will impact survivors. First of all, people won't be able to use the verrazano bridge to get supplies. Also, there is looting going on and to re-assign police to the marathon is taking them away from a sorely needed situation. Also, there are many people still missing and having a police presence in staten island is helpful. Many people have been wearing same clothing since monday and one person said she had only one slice of pizza in 2 days and nothing else.

mauzi2@yahoo.com
mauzi2@yahoo.com like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

As both a New Yorker and a marathoner, I absolutely agree with Ben Cosgrove. The city's stretched resources -- medical, emergency and public safety -- should be focused on our hurricane-ravaged community. In the wake of the damage and trauma caused by Sandy, the festive tone of the marathon is in poor taste, and makes a mockery of the need and suffering of profoundly affected citizens. The new slogan on the NYC marathon website "Race to Recover," is embarrassingly self-serving. If you want to help this city recover, race to volunteer at a shelter or a parks clean up. 

rswhittenberger
rswhittenberger like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I agree that this author is obviously not a runner. We're tougher than hurricanes. I understand that people have died and others are not getting paid, but I don't see why that means 50,000 people can't run their marathon. I don't see how canceling the race will actually help anyone. Do you think that instead of taking the 2-5 hours to run 26.2 miles, the racers will volunteer if the race is canceled?

NYC economy is taking a big hit from the storm already. Why would you want to take away such a big boost?

This year will definitely be difficult. There will be a smaller showing. Runners will have to share rooms or look for kindred souls to take them in. The logistics will be a nightmare.

But runners run, even when it's tough. They paid for this marathon, they bought their flights, they ran through pain, rain, and busy lives to get to this point. Telling them they can't run won't help the dead or the new yorkers struggling.

Maximusava
Maximusava

 @rswhittenberger "Runners will have to share rooms or look for kindred souls to take them in." Seriously? How about the people of NYC who lost everything? How can you make it sound like the runners are the victims here? I have an idea, come run the race - and sleep in the flooded subway...logistics nightmare for the runners.

Americantwins
Americantwins

@Maximusava @rswhittenberger 

I don't think you would be up and ready to run if your house was under water or completely demolished.  When your neighborhood is ompletely destroyed, we will insist that all attention and supplies be given to us because we will want to run.

WorryDr
WorryDr

@rswhittenberger Tougher than a hurricane, huh?  Which explains why you can get up & run Sunday morning & have no conscience about those that are suffering all around...yes, I guess that would make you worse than a hurricane!!

TimothySchaffer
TimothySchaffer like.author.displayName 1 Like

@rswhittenberger Who cares if you're tougher than hurricanes?  Its NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.  You are pulling ems workers, police, and other resources away from victims.  

avidrunner
avidrunner like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I am a marathoner and I am in disbelief that NYC would hold this marathon after major destruction while recovery is urgent. Marathoners are so focused after months of training that they can't see the whole picture and are unable to think of the needs of others. A huge marathon such as NYC requires a lot of city services not to mention food and water for runners while residents of staten and brooklyn are hungry. Makes no sense at all.