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The Race Must Go On?

in Oh, Controversy!

Update:  Mayor Bloomberg changed his mind – the race has been cancelled.

2012-11-02_1715

First of all, let me say that I am deeply saddened about how Superstorm Sandy has devastated the East Coast.  As a survivor of a major hurricane (Andrew back in 1992), I know how disrupting and horrifying the experience can be for the people who live through it.  My thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted.

 

That being said, I’d love to open a little debate about the decision to move forward with the New York City marathon.  Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the race will take place as scheduled on Sunday; the event will be transformed into a “Race to Recover,” and the New York Road Runners “will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate in the race. The Marathon Race to Recover Fund will support a number of charities involved in relief efforts, including the Mayor’s Fund and the American Red Cross.” (Source)

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(Source)

I am very surprised that the marathon is still on.  After all, it was only four days ago that Sandy hit the city.  Dozens upon dozens of people died. A CNN poll states that 4.8 million Americans are still without power (over a million in NYC).  The New York Stock Exchange shut down for two days, for goodness sake!  And storm damage is projected to reach $50 billion – making it one of the costly storms in our history.

 

Rescheduling a race like the NYC Marathon is, I imagine, a logistical nightmare – if not entirely impossible.  There are 26.2 miles of road closures and police support planned, and thousands upon thousands of volunteers required.  So many people are flying in from out of state or even internationally to run it.  So canceling it would be a big deal. 

nyc-marathon

(Source)

The marathon injects $340 million into the local economy, supporting many local businesses.  And yes – the marathon did take place in 2001, just two months after 9/11.  But running the race so close to the hurricane?  I just can’t get behind this idea.  After all – bodies are still being pulled from the rubble, people are without heat or food, and the city is in chaos.  While people are free to disagree, of course, I think it is insanely tacky and insensitive to run the marathon not even a week after the hurricane.  The city’s priorities should be with the victims, not the runners.

 

I think this Forbes article sums it up quite nicely:

 

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.

 

But – the race is going on.  At least according to the Mayor and the NYRR.  Who knows how many runners will actually show up when so many people are lambasting the decision online.  And if runners do hit the starting line, some are planning to do their own kind of Sandy flash mob.  There’s a group forming on Facebook called NYC Marathon of Relief 2012.  Their idea is to go to the starting line as usual but transform the 26.2-mile course into a on-foot relief effort.

 

Here’s how NYC Marathon of Relief Efforts (NYC MORE) will work:  Runners will show up at the starting line, but will break off en masse at different points of the city to deliver supplies to places hardest hit and without power. This will mean departing from the race, to head to various buildings, running up and down stairs delivering water and canned goods, etc. NYC Non-runners: here’s how you can help: If you are planning to watch the marathon this weekend, bring water, cash, canned goods, blankets and/or be ready to donate blood.

 

So – I’m curious.  Do you think the race should go on as scheduled?  Be shortened to a 5K?  Canceled altogether?  If you are signed up for the race, are you running it?  Personally, I think they should cancel the race and offer everyone the chance to get a refund or donate their entry fee to the relief efforts (not sure if that is logistically possible though).

{ 171 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Michelle November 2, 2012, 2:28 pm

    My friend’s boyfriend is running it this year and I was going to go keep her company while watching/cheering everyone on. Now I’m not so sure. He is still running, and my friend is still going in. However, with the gas situation the way it is right now (awful), I can’t see ‘wasting’ the gas to get to the train to take it into the city to watch. Plus, I’m kind of afraid of what’s going to happen around there with all the backlash that has been occurring. Do I want to put myself willingly into that situation…..not sure…..

    Reply
  • Liz November 2, 2012, 2:28 pm

    I think it’s awful that they aren’t cancelling or postponing it. It certainly trivializes what people are going through not far from where the race will take place.

    There is a big difference between something happening two months ago and four days ago. Two months your looking for something to take your mind off what happened.. Four days later they are still trying to recover. Boo to NY for making this decision.

    Reply
  • Bethany November 2, 2012, 2:30 pm

    I like the idea of turning the race into a way of helping people – i.e. the ones who are using the start line as a point of meet up to then deliver, on foot, goods to those who need it.

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this occasion when there are people still missing, and bodies turning up less than a mile from the start line.

    Reply
  • Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot November 2, 2012, 2:31 pm

    I’m with you that it should be cancelled. It makes my heart hurt to look at the pictures online and then think about the fact that people are going to be “enjoying” themselves a few blocks away… And all the food/water/medical/police force resources being used up by people that don’t need them when people are most definitely in need out there? I just can’t see the logic behind holding it I guess…

    Reply
  • Regina November 2, 2012, 2:32 pm

    After being a devoted blog reader, I feel the need to join this debate since it hits VERY close to home. My neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, NY sustained a great amount of damage, thousands are without power. The hospital down the road was evacuated mid-storm after the generators failed. A huge 6-building complex, with buildings around 20 stories each, was evacuated yesterday after their generators failed and they were told they would have no heat, electricity, or hot water for a month. The sewers there are overflowing and mice are running around. The elderly people that live on the high floors are stuck without any vital resources of medication.

    As I write this, fire trucks are patrolling due to the electrical fires as the electricity is restored despite some wires being wet, under water or simply destroyed. This blog shows the major damage: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2012/10/user-photos-videos-damage-in-sheepshead-bay-marine-park-and-elsewhere/

    With this said, our neighborhood needs and I’m sure many others do as well. We need the police patrol because looting is happening EVERYWHERE since many people are without power. How can thousands of police officers go guard the marathon when we need them protecting homes from looters? How can the generators be fueling the marathon tents when people desperately need power here to pump the water out of their first floors and basements?

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 2:34 pm

      AGREE – especially re the generators. Stay SAFE!!!

      Reply
    • SpaceySteph November 2, 2012, 2:52 pm

      This is one of my chief thoughts. I ran my first half marathon not too long ago and remember how many police officers it took to keep the roads closed and the course controlled.
      Those cops are needed elsewhere. If not on patrol, if not digging bodies out of rubble or handing out water, then they need to be home with their families. To drag them out for 6 hours to do the marathon route seems nonsensical!

      Reply
    • lynne @ lgsmash November 2, 2012, 2:56 pm

      stay safe, regina!!

      Reply
      • Regina November 2, 2012, 5:40 pm

        Thank you everyone! Just came back from donation some clothing to a family that lost everything. So happy to hear the marathon has been cancelled!

        Reply
  • Erika November 2, 2012, 2:33 pm

    I can totally understand both sides of this argument and I’m sure we don’t know everything that went into this decision. I don’t think it’s wrong to have the marathon though – but maybe I’d feel differently if I were directly affected by it.

    Reply
    • Kaitlin November 2, 2012, 4:13 pm

      do you have a television? can you turn on the news?

      Reply
    • Ashlee November 3, 2012, 1:23 am

      You are directly affected-this is one of the largest storms to hit our county in decades. Hard work, *compassion*, and money are the only things that will help to recover. Not a marathon and thousands of additional people.

      Reply
  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. November 2, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Caitlin, you wrote pretty much the exact post I’ve been brewing in my mind. I think it was a really poor choice for them to put the race on this year – the resources it will divert from the recovery effort aren’t worth it. I really love the NYC MORE idea – that is awesome!

    Reply
  • Kristin November 2, 2012, 2:34 pm

    I think the race should be postponed or canceled. Even if they plan to hire outside, contracted help to put on the race, it seems they should be using them to help people who are still in distress from the storm, not people participating in a recreational activity in a disaster area.

    Reply
  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution November 2, 2012, 2:35 pm

    My knee jerk reaction was, “The show must go on!” — but once I saw all the devastation (especially in Staten Island!), I can’t even believe that they are justifying this. I’m glad they are donating “at least” a million to relief efforts (I hope it’s more), and I LOVE the guerrilla relief tactics by runners. I think if I were signed up, I would opt out. But then again, I didn’t pay an entry fee….

    Reply
  • Sarah @climbinvegan November 2, 2012, 2:37 pm

    as a previous NYC inhabitant- I am APPALLED that they aren’t canceling this.. I know tons of friends who are walking or biking blocks upon blocks to get bottles of water since they have none in their apartments… Now they want all these (many of) non-new yorkers to come in and take up space/ food/ water? I wish that they would cancel it… for the sake of the people who live in NYC.

    Reply
  • Natalie @ Free Range Human November 2, 2012, 2:38 pm

    As a non-runner, and someone who has never competed or trained for something like this, I hesitate to even offer my opinion. On one hand, I understand the preparation and logistics it has taken for that many people to run this race. Just thinking about the training they’ve gone through for months makes me hurt for them. That being said, I just don’t think this is the right thing to do. There are so many people that are suffering that going ahead with this seems insensitive and almost idiotic. Perhaps if we were talking about two months later like with 9/11 then it would be different, but it’s been less than a week! I just can’t get behind. I guess, however, at least they’re planning on doing some good with part of the proceeds. It seems like a very small gesture though.

    Reply
  • Beth November 2, 2012, 2:38 pm

    I think they’re making the wrong call. The resources spent on the marathon could be used on so many other things right now.

    Reply
  • Sarah November 2, 2012, 2:38 pm

    I can almost visualize the mayor and those involved with the race compiling a list of pros and cons. It’s really a tricky situation. I heard some of the biggest pros that swayed their decision are the influx of money to the city and they believe it will be a morale boost. Now it seems that with the backlash, it could turn ugly. I hope that’s not the case and in the end it turns out to be a positive experience for the city, with the relief taking front stage.

    Reply
  • Karen @ Run Shop Travel November 2, 2012, 2:43 pm

    I am running the race this Sunday as my first marathon.

    No matter what decision the officials made there would be some people upset over it. If they had cancelled it I would have completely understood and been OK with it but they decided it should do on.

    I live in Westchester county NY about 45 minutes from the city and am lucky my area made it through the storm pretty OK compared to lots of people.

    The race organizers have started a fundraiser for relief efforts and I matched their $26 donation with my own, and my company will also match mine.

    Running the race on Sunday doesn’t make any of us bad people.I am done feeling guilty for running this race and am going to go out there Sunday and do my best.

    Reply
    • Natalie @ Free Range Human November 2, 2012, 2:52 pm

      Karen, I for one do not think any you choosing to run are bad people. In your position, I’m not sure what call I would make. I think it’s clear that the “buck stops” with the mayor and the organizers of the race. I truly hope you don’t have a negative experience on Sunday. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 2:57 pm

        I certainly don’t think you are a bad person for running it, either. Good luck and thanks for donating!

        Reply
    • Sarah @climbinvegan November 2, 2012, 2:54 pm

      good luck on your race!! I don’t think it makes you a bad person or that you should feel guilty for it- you’ve trained hard and you deserve to run a Marathon. I only wish the city would have a way to push it back, or not use the resources on the marathon that many citizens who live in NYC need- I think a lot of the comments here are angry at the city/decision makers and not the runners.

      Reply
    • Gladys November 2, 2012, 3:32 pm

      Hi Karen! I wish you all the best on your run. If the Giants and Knicks can still play, then why can’t people run? At least NYRR and the City has clearly stated what their efforts will be for the victims of Sandy. I think the NBA and NFL can show their support too?

      Best of luck out there!

      Reply
      • gabriella November 2, 2012, 3:44 pm

        I think because the Giants and Knicks are overtaking the roads of a disaster area. I definitely agree they should be donating and doing all they can to help, but its not really the same as running through the roads of NYC when people cant even get into their homes.

        Reply
  • Jaimie November 2, 2012, 2:44 pm

    I think they should postpone the race. I also want to point out that the damage is expected to be $50 Billion, not million (http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/WorldEconomy/50-billion-that-s-the-damage-bill-for-Sandy-so-far/Article1-954007.aspx) so the few million this race are going to bring in right now are not important at all in the grand scheme of things.

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 2:45 pm

      whoops – typo! thanks for correcting. yeah, $50 M is not the same as $50 B!!!

      Reply
  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 2, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I’ve been rather torn with this idea and often going back and forth from minute to minute. I totally understand the logistical nightmare aspect of canceling but I also see how it can be seen as extremely tacky and the wrong use of NYC resources during clean-up time. I LOVE the idea of using the race as a way of supporting the efforts (whether that be thru race fees going towards that and the race being cancelled or reduced) or running to a certain clean-up spot, etc. I just hope that it’s at least able to revitalize the city and make it feel it’s strength.

    Reply
  • Amy November 2, 2012, 2:47 pm

    I think that having the marathon right now is not only absolutely ridiculous but also disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of people that are under water, without power, or mourning the loses of their family homes and/or loved ones.

    What about the people that are supposed to be going to run, instead going to help out and volunteer. What about the sponsors sponsoring food and goods for the people in need. The race just seems so superficial and vain to me in a time of such great need.

    Reply
  • SpaceySteph November 2, 2012, 2:47 pm

    I just wrote a post about this very topic. Growing up in hurricane-prone South Florida, I know what it’s like post-hurricane. I think that the race should have been cancelled and that people who were going to NYC to see NY and run the marathon will be disappointed (does your hotel have power? how will you get around without the subway? where will you eat? do you think there will be many attractions open?). They will also be taking much needed resources from the locals. The public transit cannot really support the working population trying to get around, let alone a few thousand extra visitors for the weekend.

    Reply
    • alanna November 2, 2012, 6:10 pm

      As a NewYorker and one who was here watching the storm first hand, I absolutely agree that the marathon should have been cancelled, but I would like to point out that there are many NYC neighborhood back up and running. I’d say about 90% of business are back up (in unaffected neighborhoods), restaurants and open and packed!, museums are open, subways and buses are running and only hotels with power are open. Good luck getting a hotel because so many nyer’s still don’t have power. But more than half this city is back up and running. Still…cancel the marathon, so we can help the other half put their lives back together.

      Reply
  • Chelsea November 2, 2012, 2:47 pm

    I don’t doubt that it wouldn’t be very difficult to cancel the marathon, and I also understand that the money that the marathon brings to the city is helpful. But there are so many neighborhoods that are doing so very poorly up here after the run, ESPECIALLY neighborhoods that the run will go through. I’m also a Hurricane Andrew survivor and now live up in NYC (my neighborhood and where I work were both barely touched, and I’m so grateful), and it breaks my heart to imagine the people who so desperately need relief being ignored, and generators being brought in to these areas… for race expos, etc. I applaud the guerrilla efforts of registered runners to ignore the race itself and use it as an opportunity to help the people who really need it, and honestly, am kind of sickened by people who are choosing not to join them and instead run this race.

    Mayor Bloomberg came under a lot of scrutiny in the winter of 2010 when NYC was hit by a terrible blizzard, and it was obvious that his first concern and efforts were aimed at making sure that the Times Square New Year’s Eve would proceed without a hitch. It’s sad to see that his priorities are still skewed.

    Reply
    • gabriella November 2, 2012, 2:59 pm

      Agreed. Further, for all the people who “prepared” and “trained”, I understand. I’ve trained for a marathon too and gotten sick and not been able to run. And its unfortunate, but it’s life. THIS is much bigger than a marathon. I feel like the marathon is impeding the city NOT helping. As a New Yorker, I’m really sadden by the response, “the race is on and so I’m going to run”. There are MANY other marathons you can run. No, they’re not New York, but so what? Donate your time to those in need. Forget yourself for a minute and the 16 weeks of training. If you love the sport, you’ll chalk it up to being better prepared for the next one. Instead dedicate one day of your life to those who might be permanently affected due to the loss of a love one or a lifetime of memories in their houses.

      Reply
      • Ashlee November 3, 2012, 1:30 am

        You nailed it! Totally agree.

        Reply
  • Jo Ann November 2, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I was pretty much thinking the same thing. I can see both sides and while I understand the logistics of canceling or rescheduling something this massive I still can not imagine being content to run it or volunteer while there is much going on and so much help needed elsewhere. It makes something so wonderful seem so trivial. I truly feel for the people who have trained and planned for this great event because even though the race may go on, it may not seem so glorious on the wind of something so devastating.

    Reply
  • kirsten November 2, 2012, 2:52 pm

    I definitely think it should be rescheduled or moved to a different location. I think someone in NY needs to order it canceled and make airlines/hotels refund runners who have spent money on this.
    I live in CT now but am from Long Island which got massively hit. There are so many people who lost their houses I cannot imagine how they feel when resources that could be going to help them are being used for a race.
    Not to mention a lot of public transportation is still shut down making it difficult to get in and out of the city. There is currently a rule that cars going over bridges into Manhattan have to have at least 3 passengers. I am not sure if that is only on weekdays but regardless I am hearing horror stories of it taking people 5 hours to drive a distance that normally takes 45 minutes.
    If I was running the marathon this year, I wouldn’t go as to show that I am not in support of this decision.

    Reply
  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action November 2, 2012, 2:53 pm

    This is such an interesting topic!

    I think that’s it fine that they’re putting it on still. There have been way worse natural disasters happen in the past and the only difference is that this one happened in the States so it’s harder to ignore. I feel like you could argue that the money and resources used for the marathon in the past could have been instead sent to a third-world country or Japan after their earthquake/tsunami, etc.

    People have trained really hard for this marathon- and have already paid their fees to enter, plane tickets to fly, booked vacaction time. The donations that people will make, and the money the city is donating, is a nice way to recognize what has happened, but also to help move forward now that the disaster has passed.

    Of course I say this having never been through a natural disaster…

    Reply
    • Kate November 2, 2012, 3:30 pm

      The disaster has passed? When people are still without power, water, food, heat? When bodies are still being found? When so many are still trapped in their homes? When there is rampant looting? It’s been FOUR days!

      Think before you speak, please. Maybe NYC will be ready to “move forward” a few weeks, even a few months from now…but certainly not a mere few days after such a devestating hurricane. Right now? The focus should be on recovery and rescue. Not on a running race.

      Reply
      • Kristin November 2, 2012, 4:04 pm

        Thank you, Kate. Four days is simply *not enough time*. End of story. I’m a lifelong New Yorker typing this out from Manhattan where I’m SO lucky to have power, heat, and hot water when so many people here do not. Have you not seen the news? Breezy Point in Queens has been razed to the ground. Parts of Staten Island, and coastal Brooklyn resemble a war zone. First responders (members of my family included) have been working non stop without a break. People have DIED and I sadly don’t think we’ve seen that end of that.
        This has nothing to do with the runners – I applaud their dedication, and the time and effort it takes to train for so long to run 26.2 miles. This is about having sympathy for a city that is suffering so very greatly right now. It’s just way too soon. Mayor Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg should be ashamed of themselves.

        Reply
    • MC November 2, 2012, 5:14 pm

      Um, yes….there have been “way worse natural disasters” before. But I don’t understand how that justifies having this race (which will literally happen ON TOP of where the natural disaster struck). I would guess not many, if any, cities have had a gigantic, long, complicated race with tens of thousands of people and resources truck through less than a week after getting hit by something like Sandy. Saying that it’s fine simply because other places in the world have had natural disasters that outrank this just doesn’t make much sense to me.

      That being said, I am all in favor of postponing till a later date – I don’t think the marathon deserves to be totally cancelled. And I feel for those badass runners that have trained so hard for this. I wouldn’t hate them for running it. It’s not like they had a protest to keep the race going. It isn’t their fault Sandy happened.

      My issue is with the politicking of it – if Bloomberg is shooting for some kind of “uniting us all” vibe, it’s too soon…and you can’t just change the messaging of a gigantic race two days beforehand and think it will change everyone’s mindset. People are too hurt. It’s tacky.

      Reply
  • Amanda November 2, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Funny enough, I’m a New Orleans native and had a triathlon cancelled that was scheduled the day before Katrina hit. Needless to say – I was going to be gone no matter what.

    That being said, in the post Katrina apocalypse, it was weeks, possibly months before anything of this magnitute would have been able to take place in the New Orleans area. I do know that, for those of us still there after the storm, anything “normal” or “celebratory” was not seen as a slap in the face – it was seen as a sign that we loved our city and were strong enough to bring it back. Now, if its an issue of neecessary resources (emergency responders, police, etc) being directed to race efforts instead of helping people in need, then thats another story for another time.

    Reply
    • julia November 2, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Do you think that Katrina/Rita are on the same level of damage as Sandy?

      Reply
      • Marney November 2, 2012, 3:36 pm

        Julia- I am assuming you mean Sandy isn’t as bad?

        Katrina- 1,833 lives lost
        Sandy (as of an hour ago)- 100 lives lost

        Reply
      • megan November 2, 2012, 3:37 pm

        this is not a real question, right? i think we can all agree katrina was a whole different level.

        Reply
        • julia November 2, 2012, 3:53 pm

          I guess I was asking this question bc I wasn’t sure if others would agree that Katrina/ Rita were so much more severe. The media attention is huge due to the how recent it happened and the fact that it’s NYC/Jersey shore which are both hugely populated. I feel like since the media is covering it so heavily it might skew others perspective.

          Two tidbits about me as I’m afraid I’m coming off as insensitive or out of touch: I went down South to help out twice after Katrina/Rita hit. My parents live outside of NYC and are still w/out power and hot water.

          Reply
          • Ashlee November 3, 2012, 1:34 am

            I don’t think it’s even relevant of “who was worse.” Fact of the matter is 1,000s of people suffered and are suffering now. We should concentrate on that always. No one wins in situations like this.

      • gabriella November 2, 2012, 3:48 pm

        The two aren’t exactly comparable. Sandy was much larger in size that Katrina, affecting a boarder area of land…but Katrina had far more devastating affects. I’m sure people could argue why that might be, but simply speaking the strength of Katrina was greater in a more isolated area.

        Reply
      • Courtney Leigh November 2, 2012, 4:07 pm

        Julia, if you want to talk numbers the cost of Katrina was over 80 billion and almost 2 THOUSAND people died. So yes, I’m going to say the damage of Sandy was on the same level at least.

        Reply
        • Amanda November 2, 2012, 4:51 pm

          Well, I wasn’t able to enter the city or go to my home for 3 weeks post storm. – so power outages of a week seem more of an inconvenience (many of us had that much to deal with in Isaac). Much of the city had to relocate for 6 months to a year (including enroll their children in other schools in another city, state, etc.). Much of the city was destroyed, emptied, rebuilt, and repopulated. It was quite a big deal. I guess nothing seems to be as big of a deal if it isn’t happening to you?

          Reply
          • Dee November 4, 2012, 2:54 am

            Yes, here on long island some of us were without power for a week– in the scheme of things, no biggie. But as a local I can tell you that there are many places here and in NJ and NYC and SI where people STILL cannot even GET to their homes. The water has not receded. no power, no gas, no drinking water, looting, people cannot go to work, people cannot get cell service to get in touch with families. Its going to be in the 30s this week and people have no heat. Im sorry for the experience that you had and im not comparing and contrasting at all, just trying to point out that the mainstream media which reaches other parts of this country seems to be painting a ‘we are recovering’ picture and thats only partly true.

      • Kristy November 3, 2012, 1:45 pm

        Katrina was a Category 5. It’s the highest level that a hurricane can be categorized as. Hurricane Sandy was a Category 1. But I agree with a commenter above. No one wins here. Both storms hit areas that are not prepared for storms. The devastation is heart breaking!!

        Reply
  • gabriella November 2, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Definitely a very hard decision. As a New Yorker, the devastation is unbelievable. The city is more of a third world country right now – there’s no power, no gas, people without water, and a carpooling system to get into the city. It seems rather ridiculous, and insensitive, to focus attention on a marathon rather than on those without homes, that might have lost someone close to them, and are weeks away from any sense of normal. Now, I understand that once the race is on, it’s on, and people are going to run. But I can’t see the city being in any shape to deal with this influx of people when there is no room for it’s own residents at the moment. To have all these runners over take Staten Island, hit the hardest by the hurricane, is really a misfocus of attention. I’ve heard of runners who are going to wear their bibs and stay in Staten Island to help with the efforts and I think thats a wonderful sentiment. But like I said having seen this up close and person and knowing the devastation its hard to imagine that people are just going to be running through the city. I can’t even see it being safe. I run marathons as well, and I know what the training is like. I know that you want to run your race and it would be upsetting if it was canceled. But what is FAR more upsetting is the people without homes, the mother who lost her two little boys, and knowing the amount of personel that instead is going to be monitoring runners rather than getting the city back on its feet. Rant over.

    Reply
    • Lauren November 2, 2012, 3:54 pm

      I also live in NYC and can attest that the city is not a “third world country.” There are areas without power and water, but the majority of the city is functioning same as always.

      Reply
      • Leah November 2, 2012, 4:56 pm

        Thanks for your perspective Lauren – so many people I know in NYC are fine, with fully functioning power/water etc. It’s hard to read some of these posts and wonder how much is overexaggeration? (not saying it is, just wondering)…

        Reply
        • gabriella November 2, 2012, 6:42 pm

          I don’t think I’m overexaggerating. I’ve seen literal fights over food and lack of gas. Am I comparing us to an ACTUAL third world country? No. But this is not something that we are accustomed to and it’s incredibly disorientating to experience. My dad is actually part of the team of people that was pumping water out of the World Trade Center, and coming from 30 minutes outside of NYC, it took him 4+ hours to get in. This is definitely not functioning the same as usual, its functioning the best you can. I am very lucky to not have been affected in that horrible manner, but enter Staten Island and those people are literally crying for help.

          Reply
      • Liza November 2, 2012, 5:11 pm

        It’s very strange here. I live in the West Village (lower Manhattan) and am without power and hot water (thankful for cold water!). I am very lucky that as an NYU student I have access to the library and am able to have internet and study for my midterms (I still have one scheduled for Monday! I am kinda in shock that my professor is insisting we still have it even though the library closes at 4pm and I have nowhere else to go to study!). That being said, lower Manhattan is so so so weird right now. NOTHING is open. NOTHING. Cops are on every other street and we have had zero looting in my neighborhood (I realize it’s the West Village…) but I still cannot comprehend that they are going through with this marathon. They should have cancelled it, no doubt. That being said I hold nothing against the runners who have decided to run it. I do agree that the personal required to monitor a marathon would better serve the city if they were to monitor other areas that need it much more.

        Reply
        • Sarah @climbinvegan November 2, 2012, 6:23 pm

          I was an NYU student last year- I was wondering what they were going to do with tests and such… good luck!

          Reply
          • Liza November 3, 2012, 6:09 pm

            Thanks! I’m a grad student and I guess they feel like we don’t need to extra time to make up our work?! At least I’m not in law school: they now have to have double the class time to make up for the school they missed this week! Yikes!

  • Kristen November 2, 2012, 2:55 pm

    So interesting to read others perspective on this! When I heard that the race would be help as planned, I felt incredibly proud of NY and the resiliency they have shown in the face of SO many tragic events. I can understand the argument regarding resources being used for this race instead of relief, but still, what an incredible statement to send to the world–No matter what, they will make it happen. Personally, I love it.

    Reply
    • Leah November 2, 2012, 4:59 pm

      I agree Kristen. My sister is running it, and has spent 6 months training for it, plus a 32 hour flight from New Zealand to get there, costing her $5,000 which is not covered by insurance or refundable. I know that all she wants to do is HELP when she gets there, and will be spending up and donating wherever she can. I believe she is one of thousands who will feel like this, and will always have a soft spot for NYC for visiting so soon after a distaster has struck and knowing she has done what she can. She is also running for charities back home – so they will benefit too.

      Reply
      • Liza November 3, 2012, 6:10 pm

        Oh no! What did your sister end up doing? I guess she was probably already in NYC by the time they canceled it?

        Reply
  • Melissa November 2, 2012, 2:59 pm

    I’ve had very similar thoughts brewing and I think it should be completely cancelled.

    I live in Birmingham and several parts of the city (and state) were devastated in a tornado outbreak in April 2011. I actually went out of town the following weekend (just days following the storm) to run RnR Nashville with a friend–leaving behind my home ( b/f and dogs) who still didn’t have power and neighborhoods that desperately needed aid with supplies and clean up. It was an extremely difficult decision–I felt like I was abandoning my community–but at the time it was a nice escape to a home with power, etc. I still somewhat second guess my actions.

    All that being said, I could not imagine traveling to an area that I know had been devastated so that I could run in a race (Marathon or not–and I actually applied to NYCM this year and did not get in). I would be extremely angry with my community leaders if they made a decision to hold a major marathon while my fellow community members were suffering. I don’t begrudge the runners who are going but I don’t think I could do the same.

    Reply
  • stephanie November 2, 2012, 3:00 pm

    I’m so glad you initiated this conversation. I’m writing from Manhattan where I am so lucky to have power. Even downtown, were electricity is still out for most residents and businesses, life remains orderly thanks to concentrated relief efforts. However, the outer boroughs (and the whole surrounding region) have an immediate need – for supplies, manpower, and the police presence to orchestrate relief efforts smoothly. We need our roads to be clear for first responders and maintenance vehicles. We need open homes and hotels for families whose houses are uninhabitable. We need easy access to food and gas. I know that many runners and running clubs have pledged money to support clean-up efforts, but from where I’m sitting, what’s most important right now is a little breathing room during this recovery time.

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 3:22 pm

      I’ll be thinking of you!!!

      Reply
  • Kathryn November 2, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Meh. Aside from the fact that I agree it is in poor taste to hold the event, can we please at least acknowledge that this perceived indifference to tragedy is really not all that different from the blind eye we turn on a daily basis to tragedies that aren’t so in-our-face? The resources we are squandering on this race aren’t so different from the resources we squander here in the first world all the time. I’m no saint — I just hope that maybe some people offended by this will direct their energies toward other causes as well.

    Reply
    • Molly November 2, 2012, 5:20 pm

      good point

      Reply
  • Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian November 2, 2012, 3:03 pm

    My best friend is running and I was planning on going down to watch her and support her, but as of today I am no longer going. I was able to cancel my hotel without any penalty (after 5 hours of arguing back and forth on the phone with them and the website I made the reservation through because someone at the hotel promised that the fee would be waived). I think it’s insane that they’re running the race so close to the date of the event. I think it’s irresponsible, disrespectful, and just down right stupid. I understand as being a long distance runner myself that these runners trained hard and want to run, and that would be a difficult thing to handle, but this is just crazy.

    An article I read earlier this week summed it up perfectly for me: “You wouldn’t run through New Orleans 4 days after Katrina.”

    Reply
  • Laura November 2, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I can see both sides of this, I don’t think there’s any “right” decision. As a runner, if I was signed up for the race I would be extremely disappointed if it was cancelled. I’m sure the logistics to reschedule the race would be just about impossible. The cost for the race sponsors, organizers and athletes themselves to reschedule would be very high. Racers train so hard and follow long training plans for marathons-I can’t imagine just having to throw it by the wayside. Not to mention the cost of a ticket if flying, hotels if you had to cancel-most places don’t refund last minute cancellations these days. And if people took time off from work, etc. I don’t fully back the race still being run, but I see both sides and am not angry with them for still having the race.

    Reply
    • Dee November 4, 2012, 3:01 am

      People who lost their homes and almost everything they own do not care how logistically difficult is it to plan or postpone a race. They do not care that athletes paid admission fees and had flight reservations. They want warmth, they want a place to stay, they want to know where their next meal is coming from. And I cannot stand by as a NYer, but more so as a decent human being and think about all of those pre-marathon dinners and cups and cups of water, and police/security and GENERATORS for pete’s sake! and not feel like they can bet put to better use! The road the people who lost homes and loved ones have to take is WAY longer and harder than a marathon training program.

      Reply
  • Ava November 2, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Living in the city and being one block away from the devastation I must say how disgusted I am by this decision. Yesterday on my way to the upper east side to see a friend, it was a hassle to find transportation to get there. Once I finally found a cab, we passed by Central Park. It was gated off at every entrance like a crime scene. Tree limbs down and destruction, it was very erie. Then we passed by an area that I could see a section of bleachers and banners and sponsor trucks and couldn’t help but think how out of place it looked in this city. The city is so fragile right now. Even just relying on limited subway service when most of the city is off school or work is difficult.

    There are two elements of this event being held that I do not agree with. First of all logistically this makes no sense. Even in unaffected areas it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a grocery store with milk and other staples. I just got back from a bare shelved Whole Foods. Starbucks has run out of tea, of all cups other than tall’s and shut down at 1 today because they don’t have enough supplies. How can this city possibly handle more people visiting? People aren’t even allowed to enter the city by car unless they have 3 people in their car.

    Second, what about all those people who are fighting to find food, warmth, communication? There are reports that some families that have evacuated into hotels are being kicked out so that marathoners can stay there. It all seems incredibly insensitive. I think the marathon should be cancelled and all the food and beverages should be donated to effected areas in addition to donations from the marathon.

    Reply
    • Leah November 2, 2012, 5:04 pm

      I’m sorry, I had to laugh – starbucks has run out of all cups except for talls? People have to ride 3 to a car? Maybe it’s time to share a cup of coffee with your neighbour (rather than going to starbucks) or pick up a stranger off the street and give them a lift? Building communities is the type of thing that comes out of disasters.

      Reply
      • SpaceySteph November 2, 2012, 5:41 pm

        I think you are taking this comment in the wrong spirit. For people who are coming from outside thinking it’ll be like any other race with the same conveniences… it won’t. People who are flying in really should think about where they will stay, what they will eat, how they will get around.
        I think Ava’s point is that the city can’t support this influx of people, not that Starbucks running out of cups is the words thing in the world.

        Reply
        • KA November 2, 2012, 6:00 pm

          That’s how I read it, too — Not that “Oh things are so terrible here! I have to put up with tall cups and carpool lanes!”, but rather that beyond the sheer devastation in some areas, even places that are more or less functioning “normally” are just not logistically set up to feed and transport a large wave of marathon-related visitors at this point– which is definitely true from what I’ve observed.

          Reply
      • Katie November 3, 2012, 12:57 am

        So rude Leah! How mean to judge Ava like that for her response to what she is going through. You can disagree, but to say, “I had to laugh” is disgusting.

        Reply
  • julia November 2, 2012, 3:08 pm

    I’m not sure that the NYSE truly shut down–just the trading floor where individuals work. Day trading through their sites continued I believe. I’m not sure if what you wrote is correct.

    I feel like having people come in will bring awareness to the issue. I have a hard time believing that the city would have made this decision without thinking this through. There are no facts as to how many police officers/EMTs are being taken from Sandy disaster areas to work the marathon. I can’t imagine they would hold if they thought it was going hurt the residents.

    Reply
    • julia November 2, 2012, 3:10 pm

      wait, i think it did close fully–just googled..sorry!

      Reply
      • Amyjogo November 3, 2012, 2:15 pm

        I work for a brokerage firm. NYSE shut down completely for 2 days. No trades at all.

        Reply
  • Margaret November 2, 2012, 3:10 pm

    Hi Caitlin – I am a longtime reader but first-time commenter =) There are many reasons I love your blog, one being that I’m from Charlotte, NC and it’s fun to read about your experience there, and another being that I love the dialogue your blog brings, especially in the comments section – you have a fantastic array of readers with really interesting opinions! And now a third reason: I have been a resident of downtown NYC for 7 years, and so have experienced first-hand the aftermath of Sandy. I thought this was a perfect time to weigh in on your conversation =)

    We are on day 5 of no power, heat, or water. My husband and I are so thankful that it is just the two of us we have to be concerned about (no children….yet ;) ) and we live in a neighborhood that was spared flooding. The pictures of surrounding neighborhoods, towns, and counties are absolutely devastating.

    We were fortunate to go to a friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side yesterday to spend the night and take a hot shower. On our 70-block walk north (subways are only operating above 34th Street, and are completely packed) we passed Central Park, where they have begun preparing for Sunday’s marathon. Imagine our shock when we saw not one, but three massive generators on-site to power the media tents at the finish line.

    Again, being cold and in the dark is not the worst effect of Sandy – the death toll is climbing, the number of homes lost if staggering, NYC is under gas and oil restrictions as the shortages begin – the list goes on. But I cannot event tell you how much of a slap in the face it was to see these generators, which I later learned from a NYC newspaper can power over 400 households, as we continue to live in a ghost town just one mile south of the finish line.

    My brother ran the marathon last year, and I have many friends who are proud NYC marathoners. I can understand the time and dedication committed to training for a marathon (although only 50% of it, as I’ve only run half marathons ;) ). But I completely agree with you that the timing of this marathon is too soon. Too raw. Too dark and cold.

    If the marathon relief efforts pan out, that would be a fantastic opportunity to turn this annual event into something that supports the tri-state area and the tragedy that has hit. I have to be honest though that when Bloomberg announced his decision, it didn’t feel very supportive.

    Thank you for generating this conversation (pun intended?!) and thank you for writing such an awesome blog. Sending my best to your readers, their families and friends, and anyone struggling as we start to rebuild the pieces left behind from Sandy.

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 3:20 pm

      Thank you!

      And I really wish you the best. Stay safe!!!

      Reply
      • Sandee November 2, 2012, 3:43 pm

        @Margaret- great perspective and I appreciated your insight. I saw those generators on Good Morning America or the Today show (can’t remember which) and they were saying the same thing. What a slap in the face to have those generators just sitting there not being used by so many people in need. Such a sad situation.

        Reply
  • Nicole G November 2, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I am really torn on this. I think when talking about it we need to separate the NYRR/Bloomberg from the participants.

    Right or wrong, it’s on the city, the mayor and NYRR to determine whether or not the race is held. That being said, I don’t think people should lash out at the runners who choose to participate. As a dedicated (marathon) runner, I would be absolutely CRUSHED if the marathon I had just spend 18+ weeks training for, over $200+ in fees and accommodations (more in NYC of course), and so much mental and emotional energy was pulled out from under me. I understand that the that devastation is nothing compared to people who have lost everything, including loved ones, but it’s tough nonetheless. This marathon is not easy to get into. The lottery system only guarantees you entry after years of denial, the fees are astronomical, and even if a runner deferred she would still be responsible for next year’s registration fee. Again, not saying these are great policies, but I don’t think we can judge someone who decides to particpate when the higher ups decide that the race must go on.

    Personally, I don’t believe this is a great use of the city’s (and other’s) resources when I heard on the radio this morning that there are places on Staten Island and Long Island and other NY boroughs not as “glamorous” or “well-known” as Manhatten that haven’t even been reached by the Red Cross yet, let alone the lines for gas in Jersey, etc. I am so encouraged, though, to hear that there are runners who are committed to forgoing the race in the name of helping out.

    Reply
  • Shari November 2, 2012, 3:12 pm

    I absolutely agree with you — to see the devastation that’s happened, to watch these places crumble and hear the people’s pleas for help … and then to imagine that resources could actually be taken away from the to assist with the marathon … honestly, it just makes me feel like crying.

    Reply
  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance November 2, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I think the city and the race organizers probably seriously considered postponing the race and I think they ultimately reached the conclusion that it was not going to be logistically possible. They probably also considered the fact that, while, yes, a few million dollars may seem like small potatoes compared to the billion dollar price tag, it is no small feat for one day. As someone who lives in NYC (I can see the marathoners run by from my apartment window), I feel that the race should go on. There is serious devastation in and around Manhattan but there are also very large portions of the city where it is back to business as usual. Power is scheduled to be restored to Lower Manhattan by today or tomorrow. Many of my co-workers who live there have been coming to work for two days now despite no power in their apartments. This is how our city works. We get knocked down and we get back up again. I think that this marathon will be about running for a cause. My only pause is taking resources away from those who need them but I seriously doubt that the mayor and city officials would consciously and willingly put people in danger and deplete resources if they did not think the city could handle it. Also, we are making certain assumptions that may not be true. For instance, just because a police officer is stationed at the race on Sunday does not necessarily mean that if she were not at the race she would instead be assisting in patrolling relief efforts. Additionally, we are not suffering from food and water shortages in NYC, we are having a difficult time getting these supplies to people in hard to reach areas. I still respect all of you who think the race should be cancelled but since it is not, I think we need to make it about relief efforts.

    Reply
    • Jenny November 2, 2012, 3:49 pm

      Great point @FitBritt! They’ve already made the decision to move ahead with the race, so we might as well work with it and focus on the relief efforts they’re tying to the race.

      Reply
    • Ellie @ OurOldColonial.com November 2, 2012, 3:56 pm

      Very well said!

      Reply
    • Leah November 2, 2012, 5:06 pm

      Thank you for your perspective, I agree the race should go ahead – and I don’t think that decision would have been made lightly either.

      Reply
  • Kyla November 2, 2012, 3:19 pm

    I live in Missouri and remember last year when that horrible tornado ripped through Joplin. There was a half marathon scheduled to take place in Joplin not long after the tornado hit through. The race went “on” technically but turned into a disaster relief. Runners volunteered their time to help clean up the city and provide relief to the victims.
    I have a friend who decided to defer her entry to NYCM for next year. It’s simply not the time to run a marathon.

    Reply
    • Megan November 2, 2012, 4:57 pm

      Kyla! I’ve been reading the comments to see if anyone from the JOMO area was here. :) I am from JOMO, was working at the hospital that didn’t get hit- by far the worst night of my nursing career was that night trying to help people in the ER.

      Yes, the “Boomtown 1/2 Marathon” was scheduled just a week or two after the devastating F5 tornado that ripped through the heart of one small city/big town (about 100,000 people). The tornado killed 161 people, injured thousands, and literally ripped through the heart of our downtown. It was a mile wide and lasted for 7 miles.

      There was literally no way the race could have gone on even if race director Audie Dennis had wanted it to. At least 1/3 of the race course was covered in debris. But there is no way the people of Joplin would have let it go on, when so many people needed so many things.

      Many out of towners came to Joplin as planned for the race but, instead, aided in clean up.

      Yes, this race was on a smaller scale than the NYCM but the need was the same/comparable. I felt so priveleged to run the race 363 days later as the renamed, “Joplin Memorial Run” and will hopefully continue to run this race every year as a way to honor the lives lost, the people who helped, everything.

      (It’s a really great “smaller” race, too! If any of you are in the midwest area and wanting a new race!)

      Reply
  • Marie-Santé November 2, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I get your point Caitlin. But…
    My first marathon was cancelled because of Irene. So it wasn’t my first marathon (I was still allowed to run the half) and remeber how DEVASTATED I was. All those months of training for… nothing.
    It’s absurd to think of a marathon in this context ( a bit like U2′s song Miss Sarajevo, with a beauty contest during war) but I’m on the team «the show must go on». And the money raised would help a ton.
    I like the idea of runners helping people in the streets too.

    Reply
    • gabriella November 2, 2012, 3:58 pm

      But would you be MORE crushed if you were a resident of one of the boroughs, had no home, perhaps were mourning a love one, couldn’t get food or gas, and then thousands of people invading your city to run a race when they could spend the same amount of time offering their help and support to someone whose world has been turned upside down? As a marathoner, and a New Yorker, I have to say…its hard not to judge the people that have decided to run. Their efforts, to me, are selfish. There is something much bigger than the weeks you spent training going on. “you” not being you specifically of course

      Reply
      • Leah November 2, 2012, 5:09 pm

        I think ‘selfish’ is a pretty harsh word to be using, all the runners & supporters I know that are flying in for the race from New Zealand and the UK are planning on spending and donating as much as possible while they are there. That’s hardly selfish. Most of their flights & accommodation was non-refundable and not covered by insurance (thanks to a natural disaster) so… surely going to NYC and running is helping where they can?

        Reply
        • gabriella November 2, 2012, 6:46 pm

          Yes I agree, but the thought that “oh I trained for 16+ weeks so we MUST HAVE THE MARATHON FOR ME” is selfish. I know people from NYC that were still intending to run if they had the marathon, but also donating time, money, and resources and I think thats fine. But I think ignoring what is going on around you and DEMANDING a race because you “trained” is irresponsible and, yes, selfish.

          Reply
        • gabriella November 2, 2012, 6:49 pm

          I also think that those that are coming from out of town, while of COURSE it’s horrible they’re going to lose time and money, need to understand that their hotel room is taking away space from someone who is staying there because they no longer had a home. I actually just saw someone of TV that was asked to leave because the marathoners were coming in. This is why the race should have been cancelled immediately on Tuesday. Either you’re turning away someone with no home or apartment, or you’re turning away someone who traveled from far and wide and either way it shouldn’t happen. It was in poor taste from the get go.

          Reply
  • Jess November 2, 2012, 3:23 pm

    As a Staten Islander, I really can’t fathom the 40k runners starting in SI and running over the Verrazano Bridge, so close to where bodies are still being pulled from the debris. My heart and my mind just can’t grasp it. Postpone the race. Logistical nightmare or not, people have nothing left. Nothing. And so many are still unaccounted for.

    Reply
    • Corrie @ Blurb Column November 2, 2012, 5:58 pm

      My heart goes out to you and your community Jess. I am so grateful that the Mayor has changed his mind.

      Reply
  • Corrie @ Blurb Column November 2, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I don’t see that it is a hard decision at all, actually. If we were talking about postponing or cancelling the race for a variety of other reasons we could then take up the argument of the dollars brought in to the city by the runners, etc. However, we are not talking about some minor incident. We are talking about a major hurricane, with unbelievable damage, people have died, lost their homes, their belongings, transportation is a mess, hotels are without power, there is a food and water shortage, and as another commenter pointed out: there is rampant crime happening. It is completely irresponsible, disrespectful, vain, and horrible to continue the event in light of what has happened. Staten Island, the starting point of the race has been devastated. Their own mayor is appalled at the decision. Plus, how are people planning to get there? The ferry is out of commission. People who complain about their training time or non-refundable airfare or hotel are *REALLY* missing the bigger picture. I’m sorry you spent $1000 on airfare, but one woman lost her two children who were swept out of her arms in the rising flood waters. Thousands of people have had no power…no heat..for days, and aren’t expected to get it back for days. People have lost their HOMES! Running a marathon is not a critical, necessary event. There will be other New York Marathons. But right now: it is almost revolting to think of the resources that will be used that could be used elsewhere, the additional strain that will be placed on an already stressed system, etc. Americans have this mentality that “the show must go on” is a sign of our superiority and strength. It isn’t. In this moment a sign of our superiority and strength would be compassion for those who have lost everything.

    Reply
  • Brittany November 2, 2012, 3:24 pm

    As a Manhattanite, I have a very different perspective on this issue. While I understand how it may seem insensitive, I support the decision to continue with the race. Having lived in South and Central FL through many destructive hurricanes, I see a different pattern with Hurricane Sandy. When hurricanes ended in other places I have lived, you got to jump in your car the next day, see the damage, and then feel the relief that it had past. However, here, as many still do not have access to public transportation and many workplaces are still shut down, it feels as if this is not over and will not end. (My workplace has been shut down for one week now.) So, I feel as though the marathon is a symbol that we can put this past us and that NYC is finally moving on…and the extra funds to be used for relied efforts only reinforce my beliefs.

    Reply
  • Margaret November 2, 2012, 3:26 pm

    I’ve never lived through a significant disaster like that, so I can’t say I know how I’d feel if I were a resident of NYC. However, I think the two main arguments I see against having the marathon go on have a couple holes:

    1. “It’s disrespectful to have a party amidst the disaster” – While it’s true in a sense that the marathon runners are doing it for “fun” in that they are choosing it, it’s not a “party” in that it’s just people out on the streets having fun the whole time. It’s several hours of hard work that are a celebration of the training all the runners did to prepare for this, and I see it as more of a nods towards the resilience of the city. Especially for NYC residents who are running it, who are living without electricity or running water – more power to them for wanting to run a marathon in the middle of that experience!

    2. “It diverts resources that should be used to help the cleanup” – Probably to some degree it’s only possible to transport so much in in so much time, but overall, it’s really NOT a zero sum game. Yes, Gatorate (or whatever other companies) are probably going to donate drinks the race, but that doesn’t stop them from donating drinks and food to NYC residents as well. I’m sure the big companies who give products to the marathon also include room in their marketing/promotional budget to donate to disaster relief, and will donate regardless of whether they also have their (budgeted for) donation to the race.

    Reply
  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut November 2, 2012, 3:28 pm

    I am currently without power, my apartment is freezing and I was just told it may even be another week before I get it back. I’m walking (an hour) to and from work every day, taking hot showers and some nights crashing at my sister’s place and spending lots of time away from my boyfriend. It’s not ideal, or convenient, but I am managing just fine. The thing I love about New Yorkers is that they are RESILIENT. I definitely think that the show must go on and I will be there to cheer on my boyfriend running his first 26.2 miles!

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 3:30 pm

      Another week?!? Brrr. Stay warm Ellen.

      Reply
  • Johanna B November 2, 2012, 3:34 pm

    A couple of years back there was a devastating tornado which hit Joplin, MO. There was a race scheduled not long after the tornado. The event was turned into a relief effort for those still suffering. Everyone who showed up for the race essentially volunteered to help with the effort of clearing rubble, passing out necessary supplies, etc. All the financial proceeds from the race were given to the city to help out those in need. I think that was the way to handle it. There will be other races in other places and at other times.

    Reply
  • Courtney Leigh November 2, 2012, 3:35 pm

    At first, I was thinking that they should do it, but after realizing just how bad some areas were hit, I’ve got to change my mind. It’s just TOO soon.

    The race is going to take up way valuable resources right now. Do you remember the Joplin Tornado of 2011? There was a half marathon scheduled about 3 weeks after that disaster and they canceled the race, but racers still came in for a day of service. (Runner’s World Article Here: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-560–14143-0,00.html) I feel like that would be an AWESOME option in this situation. And all racers get a free/guarantee entry to next year’s race. I know it would have to be disappointing to many racers, but … yeah it just seems like a very bad plan to me!

    Reply
    • Megan November 2, 2012, 5:01 pm

      I’m from Joplin! I responded up a bit on Kyla’s post! Thank you for posting that link!

      Reply
  • Jenny November 2, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Though I no longer reside in the area (I live down in DC which avoided the worst of Sandy’s destruction) I was born in near Hoboken, spent most my summers in Brooklyn and have quite a lot of family and good friends living in some of the most heavily impacted areas. The destruction and devastation caused by Sandy has certainly hit home for me.

    While I fully understand the arguments for cancelling the race, I agree with Brittany’s comment- this is a way for New Yorkers to unite and move on. I was checking in with some of my family today who live in the Financial District (and still do not have power) and they too feel it’s a way for New York to pick itself right back and show that not even a hurricane can keep the city down. As the put it, we won’t be stopped by some stupid hurricane! Do I wish there were more time between the hurricane’s destruction and the marathon? Absolutely. But, unfortunately it is not for us to decide the timing. I love the idea of runners breaking off and helping those in need, what a wonderful way to use the race, and I’m thrilled to see the donations being made to help those affected by Sandy. Hopefully, the marathon can be used as a symbol of hope and bring in more funds and direct relief to those who are so desperately in need.

    Reply
  • Barbara November 2, 2012, 3:44 pm

    What a great topic! (and one that has been on many of our minds, i’m sure!) I understand both sides of this debate. I’ve run three marathons, and I know what it takes to train for one. To have it be cancelled would be devastating if I had been training for the last three months. However, running a marathon in NYC right now would DEFINITELY not be the marathon experience that I would want to have for a marathon – the subways,restaurants, power issues would be a mess, and I would not want the extra stress. I agree that the race should be cancelled or postponed, so that the runners could have the race experience that they deserve (they did pay for it!) and so that the resources would be directed where they are currently needed (which is not for the marathon).

    Reply
  • Michelle@Peachy Palate November 2, 2012, 3:45 pm

    That forbes article sums it up perfectly. I think it should be cancelled altogether. I doubt a whole lot of people will show up for it….anyone that does is likely to be lambasted for doing so. People in Ireland can’t believe it’s going ahead so I can’t imagine what it’s like if you’re actually living there, or have family or friends who have been injured or whom have perhaps lost their lives.

    Reply
    • Jenny November 2, 2012, 3:55 pm

      I really don’t think it’s fair to lambast the runners for choosing to move forward with the race. The decision was made by NYRR and Bloomberg. Some of those runners are planning to use the race as an opportunity to either donate to relief efforts, or personally assist in those relief efforts. It is not for use to judge their decision to run, while training for a marathon certainly doesn’t compare to losing your home or a loved one (I have both trained for a marathon and lost a parent in the past year so I can personally speak to the pain of both) it is still an incredibly emotional journey. As the race IS moving forward regardless of commentary, instead of passing judgement on the runners, perhaps we could all donate to the Red Cross or find another way to assist in relief efforts and support the area as it gets back on its feet.

      Reply
  • Ellie @ OurOldColonial.com November 2, 2012, 3:49 pm

    My initial reaction regarding the food and water being used for the marathoners is to look at the net change of having the marathon. By this I mean:

    1. How much of the marathon help, food, and water would have actually been distributed to the people who need it if there wasn’t a marathon [e.g. when your parents said to finish your dinner because there are starving children in Africa, it never really helped the starving children in Africa if you finished your dinner] and

    2. How much more is going to be distributed because of the massive donations that are coming from people racing and people sponsoring racers.

    At the end of the day, is there more help coming because of the donations? or is the marathon actually taking away from people how need it. I don’t know, but my guess is, people are going to be better off because of the donations [complete guess!!].

    Of course, it is not this simple. This does not take into account whether people are being offended by the act or feel as though the normalcy is welcomed. I live in a part of Delaware that was not majorly affected by the storm and I was/am very fortunate given the eye of the storm was within 20 miles of my house. I cannot say how people are feeling. Everybody is going to react differently to this. But, if this is upsetting people more than it is inspiring them then this is a big problem.

    There are a lot of very interesting points in the comments here. Great post and great conversation! Sorry to take up so much room!

    Reply
  • Stephanie November 2, 2012, 3:52 pm

    I’m a New Yorker and I’m appalled the race isn’t cancelled or postponed. Staten Island is destroyed, Breezy Point is gone, people are without power or water(myself included) and over 40 people have died. I’ve spent all year anticipating and training for this race yet I deferred my entry to next year. To each their own, but I can’t imagine running this race in good conscience when they are still searching for survivors(and dead bodies) less than a mile from the starting line.

    Reply
  • Shorty November 2, 2012, 3:58 pm

    I don’t know–the economy in the area is going to take quite a hit just from Sandy alone. Canceling the race (not sure it could be rescheduled successfully) might just be adding onto the injury caused to by the storm. Instead of seeing it as trivialization of what those still suffering are going through, it’s an almost necessary crutch or step to recover. Inject millions into the economy, give a deadline to start clearing paths, and slash and burn the amount of police and first responders on the course itself, funneling them back into hard hit areas…seems like a no-brainer to me.

    Plus if they double as a fundraiser, they can raise even more money and help for victims.

    Reply
  • Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin November 2, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Holding a race that requires so much extra food, water, resources, etc. to allow people to sustain through running a long distance seems absolutely inhuman at a time when there are people struggling to have enough resources to survive. I agree with you and think it’s wrong to hold it, regardless of the difficulties of canceling it. They didn’t plan for this hurricane, obviously, but sometimes horrible things happen and it’s only right to adjust accordingly. I think it’s great though the people that were already planning on being in NY for the race and are dedicating their time to helping those impacted by the storm rather than doing the actual marathon.

    Reply
  • Julia H. November 2, 2012, 4:15 pm

    As someone from Staten Island (the borough of NYC hit the hardest by Sandy), I definitely don’t think the marathon should go on. I go to college in upstate NY & therefore haven’t actually been home since Sandy hit my city, but from all the photos I’ve seen & everything I’ve heard from my parents who are there & dealing with the aftermath, it’s ridiculous to me that resources that could be put toward helping people are instead going toward the race. The marathon starts in Staten Island, & the idea of runners happily going about their business while the people around them are trying to rebuild their lives is just insulting.

    Reply
  • Andrea November 2, 2012, 4:22 pm

    Maybe someone could shed some light on this for me – I’m not understanding how cancelling the marathon would help aid with relief efforts or make anything better for hurricane sufferers or people without light or power. Is it just the principle of the thing, or is it the thought that people who are volunteering at the marathon could instead be volunteering to help those in need…?

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 2, 2012, 5:05 pm

      Without even talking about diverting resources, I think a lot of people are concerned about the strain on the city – having all those people flood NYC for hotels, cabs, food, other transport, etc.

      Reply
    • Dee November 4, 2012, 3:12 am

      One great example is the gigantic generators that are being used to heat and light some of the areas where the runners would be. if they were not being used for that, they could be use dto heat and power a shelter where people who were evacuated or lost their homes could stay. I personally know people whose homes are unlivable anymore and they are staying there in the freezing cold because they have no where to go.

      Another example are the buses used for transporting runners to the start line. If not sed for the marathon, couldnt these buses be used to transport donated goods and water to areas that are still without water? NOt to mention all of the gas that it takes to fuel those buses. There is a gas shortage here right now and it is not just about filling cars, the people who are lucky enough to have generators to power their homes need gas to rn them. And its not about just having light its about families with children whose homes are below 50 degrees because of the cold nights.

      Of course, we cannot assume that ll the people who were planing to volunteer for the marathon would volunteer for relief efforts, but there are so many other resources that could be better used.

      Reply
  • Samantha November 2, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I think it is very poor taste to allow this marathon to happen. The resources would most certainly be better directed to the people who are still struggling to put the pieces of their lives back together. The city will prevail no doubt and there will be time to celebrate this, but now is not the time. People are still trapped without power, water, heat. Lives are literally still at risk. It is too soon to plan the celebration just yet and pretending that the marathon is that, and not a money generating opportunity for the city officials and publicity stunt for the bak is rather shameful at a time like this.

    Reply
  • Lindsey November 2, 2012, 4:35 pm

    I can see both sides to this issue. I imagine there are many financial implications to cancelling. Races make money, they’re a business. You wouldn’t ask the local grocery store to start donating their food to those without power and food or the local gas station to giveaway gas, so I think it’s a unfair to expect the race to giveaway resources (food, gatorade, transportation, generat0rs) that they’ve paid for their event with money from entry fees. I do think the bigger issue is the closure of roads for the race. Closing roadways when transportation is a huge issue at the moment and this seems crazy to me!

    You never truly know the conversations or deciding factors that are discussed behind closed doors that the public aren’t privy to. It would be interesting to hear about the decision from the perspective of a race director.

    Reply
  • Silvia @skinny jeans food November 2, 2012, 4:44 pm

    I heard a report on NPR yesterday about the volunteers needed to bring meals on wheels to elderly people who are live in the areas that are still without power, that they have a really hard time delivering the food, often to apartments in 20-story buildings with no working elevators and dark, damp staircases. There are thousands of people who need this food — now there would be an opportunity for the marathoners to do something useful with all that running energy… for this marathon. A grassroots organization of groups like that would be wonderful.

    Reply
  • Juliet @ From teacher to mom November 2, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I live on Long Island, NY (right outside the city). While we are fine, family members are living in devastation and no one has power. Some don’t have running water and lost all belongings. I think the race should be postponed to the spring and each runner should be guaranteed entry to the next NYC marathon of their choice.

    Reply
  • Dori November 2, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I see the mayor of Hoboken on TV asking for sweaters and blankets, and I think about how the NYC Marathon has insulated finishers’ ponchos sitting in boxes somewhere. I see the people of Staten Island on TV cold and hungry, and I think about the bagels and hot coffee provided before the race. While I think canceling the race would have had its own backlash, as someone who was born and raised in New York City I just don’t see how this is a good idea right now. I don’t judge runners for participating, but I do question Bloomberg’s decision. They say resources aren’t being taken from the people, but what about the resources that already exist (portapotties, generators) that could be donated, as a gesture, to victims? That’s where I feel conflicted. And I can’t see how I can get behind the race going on right now.

    Reply
    • Dee November 4, 2012, 3:13 am

      well said!!

      Reply
  • Rachel November 2, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Yeah, I think it is tacky and disrespectful. Everyone knows when they sign up for a race that some unforeseen event (typically an injury or personal crisis in normal circumstances) could prevent them from racing. So multiply that by a hurricane and cancelling/postponing just makes sense. The storm is certainly a larger logistical mess than rescheduling a race. The energy going into making the race go on should be directed at those in need! I love the idea of NYC MORE, though. It is awesome to see people so willing to help.

    Reply
  • Liz @ circletwentytwo.com November 2, 2012, 4:58 pm

    If they ran the 2001 marathon only 2 days after 9-11, which was in my opinion a far more severe and destructive event than the hurricane (both physically and emotionally) then I don’t have a problem with the marathon running this weekend. I’m sure they didn’t make this decision hastily :)

    That being said I live in warm, sunny, and currently-with-power Dallas, TX, so my opinion may not mean all that much in comparison to those currently without power in fall in the north!

    Reply
    • Allie November 2, 2012, 6:20 pm

      The marathon in 2001 was on Nov. 4th.

      Reply
    • Sarah @climbinvegan November 2, 2012, 6:30 pm

      it was two MONTHS after 9/11, not two days.. maybe that will change your opnion? :)

      Reply
    • Hilary November 2, 2012, 6:40 pm

      It was 2 months later. Not 2 days.

      Reply
    • Al November 2, 2012, 8:03 pm

      It was actually 2 months, not 2 days after 9/11.

      Reply
    • Chrissy November 2, 2012, 8:53 pm

      The 2001 NYC Marathon did not take place 2 days after 9/11. It’s held the first Sunday in November. In 2001, it was held November 4.

      Reply
      • Chrissy November 2, 2012, 8:58 pm

        Ha! Which I just realized Caitlin said in her OP as well :-). Anyways 2 months seems a lot different than 4 days to me.

        Reply
    • Juls@The Wife Thing November 2, 2012, 10:23 pm

      It was two months, not two days so there was a little more time.

      Reply
      • Lyndsey November 3, 2012, 12:56 am

        The marathon is thankfully finally cancelled, BUT, the part of where the marathon would be heald was a devastingly hard hit area in NY where they are still discovering dead bodies every day. Can you imagine the horror as a runner and seeing a dead body? Beyond that, Central park had several trees and lines down and the city would have to work overtime to ge things set up.

        Lastly, I live in New Jersey, I lived through 9/11 (a HUGE population here works in NYC and lost their lives that day, and i’ve lived through this. Both were traumatic. This storm is not to be underestimated. I am beyond sad that every single one of NJ and NY’s beaches are destroyed, people are dead, so many homes and business flooded, fires, no power, and a downed mass transit system. Gas lines that take 4 hours and price gauging. We have just been ordered to do an odd/even gas ordinance. There’s no food. I waited for 2 hours to eat dinner at the only resturaunt open for 30 miles, an Applebees.

        Ugh, i could go on and on about how horrible this storm has been, especially to NYC and the Jersey Shore. But my point is, that it is HAS been horrible, and it makes ZERO sense to have a marathon at this time. The city and surrounding areas are barely getting by…

        Reply
  • Dori November 2, 2012, 5:13 pm

    Just saw on NBC that the marathon has been canceled. Wow.

    Reply
  • Kelley November 2, 2012, 5:15 pm

    Yes, I also saw that it was cancelled

    Reply
  • Lauren November 2, 2012, 5:46 pm

    I couldn’t believe the race was still on.
    I live in Ocean City, NJ, and while my town was spared the worst, we are definitely not ok.
    If OC was hit as hard as NY, and we had a marathon running thru while people are trying to salvage what is left of their homes, I’d be fucking furious.

    Reply
  • Jennifer November 2, 2012, 5:51 pm Reply
  • Jamie November 2, 2012, 5:55 pm Reply
  • Tanya N November 2, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I’m so glad they cancelled. After all there are lines and lines of people just trying to get gasoline. How wrong would it be a out of towner coming in and needing gas for the race and maybe getting it..,just crazy

    Reply
  • elizabeth November 2, 2012, 6:54 pm

    I replied to you on twitter about the race. I feel for the marathoners who live in NYC and were signed up for the race. This is their city and if they weren’t too terribly damaged from the storm they were probably going to run the marathon. But the negative publicity these people received broke my heart. And that is not to take away from the lives lost and the damage of Sandy. The wrong decision was made after Sandy hit and the negative impact on running should have never occurred. It all breaks my heart. I just don’t feel the people who chose to pick up their race packet should be punished.

    Reply
  • gabriella November 2, 2012, 7:12 pm

    So happy to hear the race is cancelled. It’s the end result I wanted, so it feels counterproductive to disagree with how it is handled, but I truly feel for those who called all week asking because they could have received full refunds on hotels and transportation and now can’t due to a situation that was mishandled from the beginning. I hope those who have come in can find a way to dedicate those hours to helping.

    Reply
  • Amy Q November 2, 2012, 7:49 pm

    I am glad it was cancelled. As a 2010 finisher of NYC and a 2012 entrant who had deferred in September due to some minor surgery, I fear that it was too little too late and believe that the character of this race has been tarnished forever by poor taste in never deferring to the situation until it was embarrassed into doing so. I’m glad I ran this race BEFORE it had egg on its face. The whole thing is upsetting, cancelled or not.

    Reply
  • Jen November 2, 2012, 8:29 pm

    Yes, if you go to the NY Times website, you will see that the race is cancelled. I think it was the right choice (although should have been done sooner), for all of the reasons you listed. I live on Long Island and am on day 5 without heat, hot water, and electricity. Luckily we have someplace to stay that does have those things. I do hope that the relief efforts planned to still happen, as there are so many in dire need of food, water, shelter, and warmth.

    Reply
  • Claire November 2, 2012, 8:53 pm

    A good call to cancel I think, although I can understand the disappointment for those who had prepared for it. I feel sorry for a member of my running club who would already have flown over from Australia for it – she and her family had the trip planned all year and she would have been a chance to podium in her age group. I feel sorrier for all the poor people who have lost loved ones or been injured or lost their homes though. What a horrible state of affairs.

    Reply
  • Heather November 2, 2012, 9:03 pm

    I was against the Marathon still being a go from the beginning and can say I am so happy to see that it is cancelled. I too, have lived through my share of hurricanes having lived in Florida my entire life and it is never easy bouncing back from the devastation. I have been sick to my stomach with some of the comments I’ve seen about how the race shouldn’t be cancelled because people have trained for this, people are flying in from other countries, etc etc. Completely selfish thinking. There are still so many people without power, transportation is a nightmare, and there are thousands of people working day and night to fix the city. Priorities have been out of whack if you ask me.

    Reply
  • Evan November 2, 2012, 9:29 pm

    While this hurricane certainly has a tremendous impact on those people on the East Coast, should not have caused the cancellation of this marvelous event. This marathon is a race where men and women from all over the world can join together and encourage volunteers to share their abilities.

    I hear about how there is little food, little gas and minimal electricity. First world problems, right? I say: deal with it. You put yourself into a position where you have to rely on something that you cannot produce, and you should deal with the consequences. What do you need to run? Your feet. Why are people so accustomed to not using these parts of our body, as if they were dispensable? What New York needs is a reminder of reality: we are not defined by technology, rather the mind that uses it.

    Reply
    • Lyndsey November 3, 2012, 1:03 am

      Dead bodies, no electricity, flooding, looting, fallen trees, live electric wires down, increased police activity. This is not about my iPhone dying. This comment belittles what the East Coast is currently going through. I am appaled at your lack of understanding. PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE HOMES. The entire shore of my county no longer exists. What’s left, is under water. Hospitals are maxed at capacity because there are no working traffic lights, people cannot get to work to pay for their lives, you have to wait hours for gas to fuel your car to keep you going, their is no food ANYWHERE, and our water pressure is depleting and soon we will be in a boil only zone, 75 percent of cell towers don’t work, 35 percent of land lines don’t work, people have trees in their homes and an their cars, no electricity means we haven’t been able to shower, it’s been cold and the elderly are getting sick and children are freezing. This is a disaster. I can’t even believe you, I hope that you never have to endure what pain has come with this storm.

      #JerseyStrong

      -With understanding,
      Someone dealing directly with the horrid realities of this storm.

      Reply
      • Lyndsey November 3, 2012, 1:11 am

        Lastly, to just sum this up, why don’t you look up pictures of Staten Island right now…really.

        Reply
        • Callan November 3, 2012, 6:16 pm

          Lyndsey, thousands of people die every day of starvation, lack of access to clean water, and infectious disease. I hope you never have to endure such pain. Should we cancel all sporting and entertainment activities from now on until this horrific situation is assuaged?

          NYRR is a private organization and they believed, in cooperation with city leaders, that they had the resources to pull this event off. It’s too bad that the media, along with a bunch people jumping on a social media bandwagon, decided to have a “can’t do” attitude about this and shamed them into canceling the event.

          But really, I’m sorry your cell phone doesn’t work.

          Reply
          • Callan November 3, 2012, 6:26 pm

            signed,

            Still without power and a tree fell on my house causing thousands of dollars in damage here in shoreline Connecticut …so I’m really not totally in the dark with this situation. Oh wait, I am in the dark, heheh. =)

            I guess my point is, I know this situation is a tragedy, but I wonder if there is some major underestimation of NYRR & the city’s degree of resources and resolve going on here. Lights came back on all over Manhattan today, from what I can tell of my FB minifeed… I just think it’s too bad the event wasn’t even given a chance.

            Good luck with the cleanup, thinking of you Jersey Shore people…

      • Jess November 3, 2012, 12:51 pm

        Staten Island looks like a war zone. It’s catastrophic. This isn’t FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS. People are dead. A mother tried to escape and her 4 year old and 2 year old were ripped out of her arms by waves. They found their bodies on Thursday. The death toll on Staten Island is up to 23 and people are still unaccounted for. Homes were destroyed, lifted off their foundations and literally MOVED to another part of the street. Here, you can feast your insensitive eyes on this:

        http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/staten_island_war_hero_who_fel.html#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1

        Take a look at the devastation and tell me that SI is facing FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

        #StatenIslandStrong

        Reply
        • Lyndsey November 4, 2012, 8:07 am

          Hi Jess,

          Exactly.

          And on a much more important note than a marathon, I hope you and the rest of Staten Island can someday restore to normalcy. Feeling the same things down here at the Jersey Shore. We will make it through this.

          Love and Prayers,
          Lyndsey

          Reply
    • KA November 3, 2012, 2:53 pm

      With all due respect, I completely disagree with your argument here. People are without food and water, which are necessities for sustaining life, not frivolous ‘extras’ that are exclusive to the first world. This has nothing to do with reliance on technology. I also maintain that relying on things (food, water, heat sources) that we do not produce ourselves does not mean we should have to merely “deal with the consequences” of this reliance when disaster strikes.

      And, finally, New York does not need your reminder of reality. Many here are facing the harshest, bleakest reality they could imagine.

      Reply
  • Kristy November 2, 2012, 10:04 pm

    I think it would be an insult to turn it into a 5k. If you have trained for a marathon, you can do a 5k with your eyes closed. I say coordinate volunteer efforts instead.

    I read that the only people really benefiting from the race were the runners. Thus, people were getting angry with them. And that’s not a picture that runners want to portray. On the contrary, actually! Running is a sport that doesn’t require much equipment & can be taken up by just about anyone.

    That being said– it is absolutely the right decision to cancel or postpone. I just wish they hadn’t done it so late. So many people are already there & went ahead with their plans after the announcement that it was on. Two of my co-workers!

    It’s a large investment. Both financially & physically. They would have gotten $ back from the hotel and maybe even the airline had they cancelled earlier.

    All of the time, training, energy, preparation: both physical & mental. I can only imagine that it’s heartbreaking as a runner. But it was the right thing to do.

    Reply
    • Kristy November 2, 2012, 10:08 pm

      Let me clarify! I think I read this assuming that you knew it had been cancelled. I just found out & the post above is my reaction.

      Reply
  • Mari November 2, 2012, 11:31 pm

    I live on manhattan, VERY fortunate to have not lost power, no flooding. So the thing that seemed really problematic to me about the marathon was HOW the hotels in the city could possibly handle MORE ppl coming to NYC. Tons of people affected are in hotels and not always by choice, alot of buildings made it mandatory to evacuate. Also, the generators thing was just plain absurd and my heart goes out to STaten Island and the other more devastated areas of NY/NJ. I could see the marathon as being a positive thing if it was held during a more stable period of recovery, but were not at that point yet.

    Reply
  • Rebecca November 2, 2012, 11:54 pm

    Two guys in my dad’s running club flew to NY today for the race only to find out after they got there that it’d been cancelled. My parents think it should’ve been cancelled way before now, and frankly, so do I. Though we did joke (before we fond out about the cancellation) that now it’d be a Triathlon with all the water… Oops. I feel like it would be a rather dangerous marathon, though. Glad they cancelled, just wish they’d cancelled sooner.
    Honestly, when I’ve had things that I’ve been looking forward to get interrupted by something tragic, I feel worse about the tragedy than I do the interruption of whatever event. Three years ago, my youth group was supposed to go camping. The day we were supposed to leave, we found out one of our alums had been in a car accident and cancelled the camping trip. Was I bummed about the trip? Sure. But I was more worried about the girl in the accident and her family than the trip. Going on the trip with the knowledge of an accident/death (she ended up dying that evening) would have made the trip a lot less fun. Granted, a camping trip isn’t planned as far in advance as a marathon, nor is it as expensive, but still. Feels weird with what’s happening.
    It’s basically the same reason my school cancelled a couple of events last week because of a student’s death. Nobody wanted to deal with those events when there was a death in the community. We needed time to process and grieve and be a community, not worry about certain other things.

    Reply
  • Katie November 3, 2012, 12:58 am

    Just have to say I am SO glad they ended up cancelling the marathon. That anyone even considered continuing with the event is beyond me.

    Reply
  • Ashlee November 3, 2012, 1:19 am

    It is so crazy that this race would continue. Post pone at the very least…can’t this country concentrate on what is important?

    Reply
  • Megan November 3, 2012, 7:31 am

    I see both sides of the story here, however I do support them continuing with the race. It’s a NYC tradition. Hopefully it will lift some spirits in that area! It will bring a sense of familiarity…

    Reply
  • Katie November 3, 2012, 11:48 am

    I know at this point the race has been cancelled- which has upset a few people. However I feel that some people are unable to see the whole picture. My husband works for a power company down in Richmond and has been sent to the NJ/NY area for several weeks- leaving myself and our 7 year old son behind. I know it is his job but it does not make it any easier. To make matters worse? The workers were told there were NO available hotels because all had been booked and they would have to sleep in a convention center or trailers on cots- and possibly have no electricity. I understand this marathon is a BIG deal but to use up the available hotels, generators, etc. for a race when people are truly in need of it seems completely ridiculous. I am very glad the decision was made to cancel the race there are far too many people suffering that need the extra resources. Thank you for bringing light to this situation (and doing it tastefully)

    Reply
  • Ashley November 3, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Absolutely with you on this. I was scheduled to run NYC this year (after training and racing for two years to qualify!). I cancelled my entry on Thurs. The logistics of getting to NY/the start line were too much and too expensive. Plus, I would have felt AWFUL taking resources and a hotel room from New Yorkers in need.

    That said, I think NYRR and Mayor Bloomberg handled this TERRIBLY. Why wait until Friday night?? So many runners have already committed to the race and traveled to NY. I feel like they were terribly duplicitous. I heard a few people say that it was a plot to get people to come to the city and inject money into the economy without actually hosting the race. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it does sort of look like that. They should be ashamed of themselves this week.

    Reply
    • Carina November 5, 2012, 3:46 pm

      I’m glad I read the comments — this is exactly what I was thinking. Airlines were offering runners the chance to cancel reservations. Hotels undoubtedly offered the same (most do, regardless of whether there is a disaster). But instead, the mayor waited until Friday, when a vast majority of “outside” money that was coming in had already been spent (i.e., those who hadn’t decided to defer since it wasn’t yet canceled). It’s almost like he wanted the influx of millions of dollars from people flying, staying in hotels, buying food somewhere in the city, but no cost of actually putting on the race. It feels like a big conspiracy, though I guess it was probably just poor decision making…

      Reply
  • Ashley November 3, 2012, 12:27 pm

    It’s a shame it’s not going to be run, but I think collectively the 8,000 people who were going to attend could easily use all of that extra energy on other projects to help repair NYC and other areas.

    Reply
  • Terie November 3, 2012, 4:07 pm

    WOW this is obviously a hot topic but any input is mute at this point since the race has been cancelled. If I were signed up for that race I probably would not be devastated by losing my money or training time (I’m always training). I have family in the area and they have suffered loss, still trying to survive with no power, gas, public transportation, a tree through the house, etc…. I would want to come and help if that were possible, otherwise I’ll just stay out of the way. They don’t need more people to feed and house in that area. I’m glad they are focusing on the local communities. Like I said, I have family there and know they are truly struggling right now :-( Caitlin, great blog!

    Reply
  • Jess@atasteofconfidence November 3, 2012, 7:01 pm

    I was all for the marathon going on (I thought many of the pros you mentioned, in addition to thinking of all those who had trained for the darn thing), but then I heard a story about generators fueling a race tent that could put power back on for 400 homes, and that changed my mind. I just think resources, including police, should go to the people who need it right now.

    Reply
  • Dee November 4, 2012, 3:22 am

    I know its way after the fact and I did a lot of commenting during my pregnancy insomnia tonight but this is a topic that really riles me. I fume when I hear people minimizing the impact of Sandy on this region. I personally know people who lost their homes and everything in it, and could not even get in touch with family members for days… and sadly those aren’t even the worst situations (its actually getting more and more dangerous here every day). Seeing this, there is no argument that anyone could make that would’ve convinced me that the pros of having this race would’ve outweighed the cons. I’m a runner and I understand race prep, and I do not fault the runners for wanting to run, but “tradition” and “training” and “logistics” are really non-issues at a time like this.

    Reply
  • Robin November 4, 2012, 4:52 am

    I was registered to run in the NYC marathon and I ended up withdrawing Friday morning. This was to be my first marathon. Between the uncertain logistics and the negative publicity, I couldn’t see how this was going to be a good race. My gut just said don’t do it, so I pulled out. I found a local marathon at the end of November to run and I’ll do NY next year. It’s just a race. There are people without power or water and kids can’t go to school. The focus needs to be on fixing that.

    Reply
  • Pam November 4, 2012, 4:16 pm

    I want to thank you for drawing attention to this issue and sympathizing with the position so many New Yorkers are in. In my neighborhood power is slowly being restored but violence is increasing and tensions are high. I appreciate that there are disappointed runners but I cannot believe how many are complaining about the money they lost. Across Long Island, my home, people have lost everything including family members, homes and belongings. I’m devastated and disheartened by what I’ve seen and the end isn’t even in sight. I ask that you all keep those effected in your prayers.

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