New York Mayor’s office cancels 26.2-miler in the Big Apple following the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy
In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, organisers of the ING New York Marathon had been hopeful that the race would still go ahead, saying that it would be a “race to recover”.
Mike Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, added that the race would “give people something to cheer about in what has been a very dismal week for a lot of people”.
But critics argued that it would be insensitive to divert city resources at a time when many are suffering. Bloomberg then reversed his decision, and it was announced on twitter that the race would not go ahead.
“The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination,” said Bloomberg in a statement. “We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, so we have decided to cancel it.”
It is the first time in the event’s history that the New York Marathon has been cancelled. It was almost called off last year following freak snow storms in the lead-up to the race but the course was cleared in time. In 2001, less than two months after 9/11, the race still went ahead.
“The best way to help NYC at this time is to not conduct the 2012 ING NYC Marathon,” said an emotional Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, in a press conference.
“Everything surrounding the marathon became more controversial as the week went on. It wasn’t a marathon if it wasn’t unifying.”
“We feel for those who have trained to run on Sunday, but this is the right decision,” she added. “We will bring comfort and relief to our city. We will rebuilt this city as quickly as we can. This race had become too much of a distraction in an unfortunate way.”
The elite runners had already travelled to New York for this weekend’s race. They included London Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang, former New York champions Meb Keflezighi and Gebre Gebremariam, Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop, Olympic champion Tiki Gelana, world champion Edna Kiplagat and Britain’s Scott Overall.
Many of the runners in the mass race were also set to run. Even with numerous cancelled flights, NYRR were still expecting around 40,000 runners to compete in the race.
There has not yet been an announcement on whether the event will be staged on a different day in the near future.