On Friday, November 2, the satisfaction from New York City residents was palpable as Mayor Michael Bloomberg cancelled the New York City ING Marathon after a sustained outcry from New Yorkers.
Many residents and elected officials had contended that the event, originally scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 4, would waste resources, such as electricity, that could be better used to help those devastated by the hurricane. The 26-mile run also began on Staten Island, where many are still searching for loved ones lost in the storm.
“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,” Bloomberg said. “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.”
Elected officials praised the decision.
“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg and The New York Road Runners for doing the right thing for New York City and the Marathon after considering everyone’s opinion as well as the logistical information they had at their disposal,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Mayor Bloomberg and his staff have done an outstanding job of leading our city through these challenging times, and this decision surely had to be among the most difficult they’ve had to make over the last week. With this behind us, let’s continue the recovery process and make every effort to return normalcy to our city.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – who had originally supported allowing the Marathon to go on, but who changed his mind as it became clear how devastating and far-reaching the effects of the storm had been – said cancelling it was, “the right call. So many New Yorkers are struggling to hang on right now.
“I’ve seen it firsthand in Staten Island, southern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and the Rockaways,” he said. “Our neighbors need and deserve every resource and all the personnel we have. Let’s come together to take care of our people and get our entire city back on its feet.”
Councilmember Domenic Recchia, whose district was widely impacted by Sandy, agreed. “I am grateful to the mayor for listening and I applaud his decision to call off the Marathon while so many New Yorkers are struggling to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” he said. “Now is the time for New Yorkers to unite and respond to this crisis together and I believe this was the right decision.”
Many out-of-town runners took the opportunity to donate their time to help victims, as well as participate in other runs to benefit the disaster.