Friday, November 2, 2012

It Was On, But Now It’s Off

Yes! I just saw that Mayor Bloomberg decided to cancel the NYC Marathon after all.

For the life of me, I could not figure out why the marathon was happening anyway. In life’s hierarchy of needs, doesn’t food, water, gas, shelter, medical care, and electricity come before MARATHON for God’s sake?

I know what he said – that it would raise money for resources and boost morale. Seriously? All current resources need to go to recovery, not to putting on a marathon. And as far as morale goes – in an area that is broken and grieving, maybe it’s okay to have a few days of climbing out, recovering and making sense of all of this. It’s only been a few days! We know New York bounces back, and it will again with or without the marathon.

So, good job Mayor Bloomberg, although be it ridiculously late.  Who could think about a marathon in the midst of this anyway?

Queens, NY

New York City Subway Station – 22 hours ago

Staten Island Borough – 9 hours ago – where many people have still not received any assistance

How to Help

Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen (she lives in NYC), gave some excellent resources if you would like to know how you can help victims of Hurricane Sandy – these are some alternatives to the Red Cross (which is also obviously an option) and some are grass roots focused. Find them HERE.

I know people who travelled to NYC for the marathon. I do think it would have been a tough call whether to go or not knowing that the race was happening. And, it stinks if you went to the effort to get there just to have it cancelled. Not the best for the runners, but I think better for the city overall.

As far as why the marathon was cancelled and not other events? I have no clue. Maybe the resources the marathon would utilize (police, water, blankets, etc.) were far greater than for other events. Also, the condition of the streets and the sheer logistics of transferring 30,000+ people to the start might have something to do with it.

How about you? Do you think it was the right decision to call off the marathon?

SUAR

40 comments:

  1. Totally the right decision! I wish it would have been a couple of days ago before people traveled. Right now is time to comfort those hurting, help those in need, and see what we can do about rebuilding. My company is based out of NY, even though I live in the Denver area, and so many coworkers are hurting...not just from property loss but the stress and emotional toil of what happened to their cities.

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  2. I totally agree with this post! I was actually going to write a very similar one, but since you already did, why reinvent the wheel? It was really shitty timing considering tons of people have already flown in. They should have never said it was ON in the first place. That was a ridiculous decision.

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  3. Totally the right call. Seems kind of selfish to think about using all those resources to put on a marathon. Too bad they didn't make this decision sooner. I know people will be disappointed, after all their training (I would be!), but it is time to think about the greater good.

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  4. It is a shame the tough decision wasn't made earlier - a lot of people travel from the other side of the world to run and they have flown there with the confirmation it was still going ahead!
    Disappointing for them and all the training that has been done by all, but as Pedi says there are more important things to think of right now.

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  5. Absolutely. You are correct that the resources are needed more for every day people than for a marathon. And while I feel for anyone who traveled there only to have it cancelled, at this point, the needs of those made homeless by Sandy trump the needs of a tourist, bottom line.

    I've seen mentioned the training people have put in, and I can imagine their disappointment, but there are other races, and okay, a runner lost a marathon opportunity...families lost homes and worse, loved ones.

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  6. Yeah, I think it was the right call too, and probably should have been made earlier. What a first world problem, cancellation of a marathon. I know, people trained, they paid a lot of money, all that. But really, how lucky are the folks who are physically able to run a marathon, and financially able to travel to NY to do it? It would seem really insensitive to have all those people fretting about stupid stuff like getting to the start line on time and the size of their tech shirt, when a few miles away there is total devastation.

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  7. I talked about it as well today but good call, a few days late though but good call.

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  8. I absolutely agree. Still no electric or heat where I am in Long Island, new york. I cancelled three hours before he announced it...I couldn't understand either how they were going to go through with it???!!!! Thanks for the links.

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  9. Yes, absolutely! There were definitely a great arguments in favor of having the race, but ultimately there are too many people suffering right now and all resources of the city should go to helping those who need help.

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  10. I'm glad Bloomberg and Mary came to their senses (albeit through social media pressure). This should have been cancelled days ago.

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  11. I agree with you. They should have called it off a lot sooner. I donated a painting to this Sandy fundraiser/art auction - maybe your readers would like to check it out? Hope you don't mind the link, if you do, just delete. Thanks! http://www.dailypaintworks.com/Challenge/C0EB586C-7142-4c96-A589-DF9DC9BABA1A -Sarah

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  12. as a former race director myself, i am relieved. it would have been even more crazy and costly. time to focus on rebuilding the city.

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  13. I feel bad for runners that have made big plans - it's a huge race and I'm sure people are super sad to have prepared for such an event just to be cancelled. On the other hand, natural disasters are a bitch and you just have to roll with it. It's important that we acknowledge the suffering caused and having a race seems to spit in the face of their suffering. If I made plans I would probably still go and try to do something to help out. That always makes me feel better.

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  14. I was to run this race and decided to defer on Wed night. I was torn, but knew it was the right decision for me. I couldn't have handled whooping it up in NYC while so many were suffering. Totally believe it was the right call, but it should have been done a few days ago to save everyone the cost of traveling out there.

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  15. Has it occurred to anyone that by allowing all these people to travel out there and then cancelling it, the city is still going to get some revenue from through hotels, etc. from these people? Makes you wonder if they said it was on, waited for a bunch of people to show up, then cancelled. Not a complete revenue loss, but they don't have to go through with it. I do think it was absolutely the right decision to cancel it, but I wonder about the motives of waiting so long to do so.

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    1. That didn't occur to me, but it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Boo...!

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    2. They really needed the hotels that marathon runners were reserving for the people whose homes were destroyed. It's been chaos there, I have a friend who spent three hours trying to get to work on Wednesday, to check on the office, and three hours getting home, for what would normally be a 20 minute commute by bus. It's gridlock, and the last thing the city needed was out-of-towners staring at the mess.

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  16. The BCS Marathon (on December 9 in Bryan/College Station, Texas) posted this on their Facebook page:

    "Really sorry to hear that the NYC Marathon has decided to cancel this weekend's race. As a token of our empathy for all the runners who have trained and spent significant time and money preparing for this race, we are extending an offer to run the BCS Marathon or Half Marathon for just $25 if you can show us an entry confirmation from this year's NYC Marathon.

    Email us those at info@bcsmarathon.com. This is a very tough situation for all involved, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go to the victim of the hurricane."

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    1. I was wondering if any other marathons were going to do this...it seems like the right thing to do...I hope others jump on board and offer these people the same type of thing.

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    2. Rock n Roll Marathon is offering 20% off to NYC Marathon runners who sign up for Las Vegas or San Antonio. They'll also donate a matching 20% to relief efforts. Just more evidence of how the running community comes together!:)

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    3. I live in Northwest IN and the half marathon I'm running next weekend offered to keep the course open and give free entries for any NYC marathon runners who want to run it twice. The views won't be the same as they would've been in NYC, but I thought it was a nice offer!

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  17. I live in Brooklyn and was slated to run Sunday's race. I spent the past year qualifying, and like so many runners here this weekend, the previous five months intensely training, too. I completely understand the decision to cancel, and for most of my training group, it was a relief to no longer have to chose between giving up and running with a heavy heart and mind. While I complete understand and support the decision to cancel, what I find absolutely heartbreaking is the negativity--not directed at the race--but at the runners themselves. As a part of this (running) community for nearly two decades, I have seen more compassion, positive energy and support from my fellow runners than almost anywhere else in life. Generosity. Commitment. Love. It's part of the reason I keep it up. Hearing runners being vilified amid this debate leaves me feeling gutted.

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  18. It was sort of a "damned if you do damned if you don't situation." It was the right call, but I'm sure it was a difficult one. I agree that it should have been called earlier, but with pressure from both sides, I'm not sure how that decision could have been made without some serious consideration. I hope the runners who travelled out there were able to find another race or activity, and I hope that next year the race can go on without a hitch. My heart goes out to those who lost so much in the devastating storm.

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  19. My girlfriend just ran in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It was a 5k, full and half. She ran the 5k. The was a tremendous showing from people who couldn't race in the NYC Marathon. There was also a few New Yorkers there as well.

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  20. Brooklyn Baby Goes SouthNovember 3, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Seriously..this was a no brainer. I lived in Manhattan for 7 years and in Brooklyn for 3. The subway situation, no lights/power, Staten Island Ferry a mess, I think the Mayor made a huge gaffe saying it was "on" -- there are a million other more important ways to use the resources that would have been allocated for this race. I know the race is a big deal. I know it really sucks people trained hard and shleped there in anticipation of running it. But in the end..it's still just a race. There will be another race. Real runners in for the long haul -- not one race wonders -- get that.

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  21. I agree that they made the right decision. I can see the want to go on in a state of "normalcy", but there are many other things that should go before putting on the race. It would have been nice if the difficult call could have been made sooner so everyone planning on participating/attending could have been spared the logistical nightmares, but I'm sure it was a tough call to make. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those in the affected areas.

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  22. Right decision, made way too late. Tough for everyone involved, those who worked so hard and traveled there for the race, but much tougher for those living without the basic necessities of life in the area. There is a lot of anger over the situation, and unfortunately some has been misdirected at the runners.

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  23. It should have been called off earlier in the week before thousands of runners got to the city. Bad choice on the Mayor's part.

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  24. I read another interesting opinion on this topic, earlier today from one of the board members of the New York Road Runners club and I wanted to share it here:

    Toby Tanser ·

    So, I sit here with about 400-emails to answer. To runners who signed up to do this race, the majority who signed up not just to run, but to raise money for a purpose. Who then, when they heard, or saw firsthand Hurricane Sandy AGAIN donated. Runners; the changemakers. To the ones who saved up for years, like the Aborigines group with Rob De Castella - a once in a lifetime experience, how can we apologize? To the man whose dying daughter gave me an entry to this year's marathon who has raised thousands for cancer research. To runners in a whole who have raised a mind boggling 650-million for Cancer research...
    Sunday will come and Sunday will go - as if it was a Saturday.

    No resources are being shifted that aren't needed-- who knows better than Bloomberg, you or I? The Red Cross are saying "We don't need more volunteers, we need money," and that is what the runners were doing. Who was listening to the Red Cross?

    Raising Dollars -- in the first day near to $3-million before the fanfare started... All these people who are shouting, "We're going on a clean up on Sunday instead on running" - where were you on the day of the hurricane, or the day after... Why do you have to wait to Sunday for a Clean up?
    We, as a city, voted Mayor Bloomberg to make the executive decisions; he spoke with the police, the fireman, all the city agencies who repeatedly said, "This will be good for NYC."

    I can not tell you how many Firemen I met at the expo who were looking forward to this race, who were excited for this race... Anyway, many problems are deeper lying than the obvious... but as a Board Member of the NYRR I know I have to apologize to each and everyone of these runners. I hear all your stories and I feel pain. Am truly sorry. Every story I hear makes me feel terrible, and I know the pains, trials and tribulations you took to arrive to get to this day. What a sad resolution

    really gives you a different view on things.

    Also another interesting resource I found - a map of help stations for volunteers:

    http://aleksruns.com/2012/11/02/breaking-nycm-cancelled-after-all/

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  25. I was supposed to run the NYC marathon. I made the decision not to go on Thursday night and canceled my entry (to defer it to next year) just hours before they canceled the race. I could not imagine running through neighborhoods devastated by a hurricane. It would be like having a party in someone's house just after that house burned down.
    I was disappointed. I trained for months, I am not sure I'll be able to make it next year. But reading some of the responses from Staten Island residents broke my heart. One of them pointed out that, while she will be trying to go help family who lost everything in the storm, she will have to deal with the additional obstacle of roads closed for the marathon. That would not be right.
    It is not just a matter of resources diverted or not. It is a matter of acknowledging the suffering of our fellow citizens. Runners are not callous, we all know what it means to work long and hard toward a goal, and the people who lost homes and loved ones face a loss immeasurably greater. Running races is a joy and a privilege, a day when we get to do what we love and revel in good company and the support of cheerful crowds. That is not something that belongs among along the streets of a city grieving enormous loss. Next year we'll celebrate the resilience of New York and its people; now we need to honor their sorrow by allowing the streets to be quiet.

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  26. For the last 24 weeks I've trained with friends who had entered to run the NYC Marathon. Some here would put them in the 'lucky' or 'privileged' category - yes they forked out big bucks to secure international entries and were in a position to travel from New Zealand to run in the United States. However for most it was the opportunity of a lifetime and some fundraised all year. A few were due to run their first marathon; one was going to run her 51st tomorrow. Last week they supported me and my other run buddies in the Auckland Marathon, dressed up and cheering us on with gusto. They had an anxious wait as the news of Sandy's destruction filtered through, and questioned whether they should be going. Once assured that the race was ON they departed NZ on Thursday our time. Effectively this forfeited their right to insurance claims, for flights and accommodation anyway. It seems they felt some unease when arriving in NYC to see the stark reality first hand. Was it really right to run? Then the decision made to cancel. Their reaction? Gutted. Whining and moaning? No. They understood - just wished it had been made earlier. By feeling sad and upset for them doesn't mean we don't care about those who lost family, friends, homes and businesses. Empathy doesn't have limits. God knows I wouldn't want to be the race organiser. When people say that the runners were selfish it really annoys me. They shouldnt be judged harshly for hoping their dream would still come about. They are trying to help but there's some red tape to overcome. Let's just use our energy to support anyone affected rather than bicker about who shouldn't be using precious resources.

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    1. Very well said. Blaming the runners is misplaced blame. I think it would have been a hard decision to know whether to come or not before it was cancelled.

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    2. On the bright side they just completed the unofficial run in Central Park with thousands of others - had a great time and are looking forward to helping out in NYC for the rest of their stay :)

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  27. I live in Breezy Point, that burnt down town in queens, where many runners live, we appreciate all your words of compassion!

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  28. My daughter is just teaching me how to post and that was a test. I feel awful about the condition the flood victims are in, my heart truly goes out to them. They are in my prayers.

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  29. http://www.wthr.com/story/19990366/new-york-runners-opt-for-monumental-marathon

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/sports/article/About-200-NYC-Marathon-runners-join-Indy-race-4006002.php

    http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-indianapolis-welcomes-runners-registered-for-nyc-marathon-20121103,0,5947243.column

    http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/indys-monumental-marathon-offers-alternative-to-canceled-nyc-marathon

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  30. With a departure date of Nov. 1st,I was mostly packed and ready for my NYCM adventure on Monday, the 29th. By Wednesday the 31st, it became more apparent to me and my travel buddy, that this long awaited cross country trek was not going to pleasant. We decided to postpone our trip until 2013 & it is the best decision made, especially seeing all of the damage and hearing stories of the thousands still without power, etc. As much as I love running, no race is that important.

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  31. From the first moment Sandy landed ashore I told Karen that the marathon should not be held.

    Think about this:

    1- the supposed $300million revenue generating is based on perfect conditions. These were far from perfect.

    2- the athletes racing would have a hard time getting into NYC and then around NYC to spend money and then again on what with the stores closed.

    3- if the race were to be held who would be out there cheering? Would would be rooting on the runners and pushing them? With that said this is the NYC marathon and as a runner wouldn't you want to remember this in a positive light instead of the negative pictures that would be seen along the route?

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