New York City has decided to cancel the New York Marathon set for Sunday, amidst popular outcry over devoting resources to hold the event in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Organizers dispute that the race would divert resources from the recovery, but did not want to hold it in a negative environment.
“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch,” Mayor Bloomberg and Ms. Wittenberg said in a statement. “While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.”
While some of the backlash may have bordered on hysteria, this was the wrong moment to hold a sporting event. Unlike an NFL game, the marathon is invasive. It blocks traffic. It requires substantial resources and police assistance across all five boroughs of New York City. Staten Island has been devastated, lower Manhattan is without power, other boroughs have suffered significant damage and the public transit system is in disarray. Even if it was not actively thwarting recovery efforts, now was not the time.
[Photo via Getty]