New York City Marathon Cancelled

Hurrican Sandy
Hurricane Sandy (Photo credit: jaydensonbx)

After much controversy this week, the New York City Marathon has been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

The NYRR released the following statement on the New York City Marathon’s official web site:

City of New York and New York Road Runners Announce Race Cancellation
The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. 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. 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 help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. The Expo will remain open tomorrow.

Hurrican Sandy
Hurricane Sandy (Photo credit: jaydensonbx)

Unlike my esteemed colleague and New Yorker, Cinnamon, I wasn’t comfortable with the original decision to move forward with the race after Sandy. It is a mess down there.  Today someone was held up at gun point trying to get gasoline.  I’ve heard rumblings that people were talking about rioting the race rather than joyfully spectating if it went on.  That is not safe, that is not smart, that is not solidarity.  So good on Bloomberg for cancelling the race – even if a few days too late.

But I know this was not an easy decision and I understand why some would be very disappointed.   We had a lot of discussion regarding whether it was good the NYRR initially claimed the race would go on.

What I want to know is how those who had been planning to run this weekend feel about  this now that the decision has been made?  What will you do instead?  How do you feel about it?  Are you relieved?  Disappointed?  Angry? Thankful?

Mindi is a serial marathoner. She is a private practice attorney, wife and mom of two awesome (and super fast) boys, ages 12 and 14. She coaches Girls on the Run and is a big advocate of youth running.

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  1. My best friend has spent 5 months training for the marathon, and flew in to New York on Thursday. For her, I’m heartbroken. I’m not judging the decision to cancel the marathon, but I think the decision should have been made immediately. At the very least, a “wait and see” statement could have been issued, with a caveat to travelers that a cancellation was still on the table. Instead, statement after statement came out assuring everyone that the marathon would be run. That’s the part I’m judging, and for that reason I have lost a tremendous amount of respect for the mayor.

  2. Mint, I kind of feel like you’re putting words in my mouth here with your mention of me above. If NYRR had canceled the marathon off the bat I would have supported them. It’s easy to say that they shoulda woulda coulda but the truth is they made a decision they thought was best and the City supported them (amd, clearly, so did I). The City only turned around when there was a threat of violence from people who have no one else to blame. I now actually agree that, for the personal safety of runners, workers and volunteers, it’s good that they canceled it. Having had threats on my own personal safety as a result of supporting NYRR’s unpopular decision I was honestly afraid for runners everywhere in the City, not just marathoners.

    The question does strike me though; I biked past Herald and Times Squares today, as well as tons of grocery stores and other retailers; why no outcry against them running business as usual? Why the marathon? Why not the hundreds of people shopping at Macy’s and the M&M store and–for god’s sake–Whole Foods and Fairway?

    1. “The question does strike me though; I biked past Herald and Times Squares today, as well as tons of grocery stores and other retailers; why no outcry against them running business as usual? Why the marathon? Why not the hundreds of people shopping at Macy’s and the M&M store and–for god’s sake–Whole Foods and Fairway?”

      Because folks gotta make a living? Are you really going to begrudge them that?

  3. It was absolutely the right decision, but absolutely the wrong process in getting there – it should have been blatantly obvious days ago that the city was going to be in no condition to handle the logistics of such an event – even when all goes perfectly, the nature of NYCM makes it difficult due to the fact that the start and finish are so far apart. Personally, I would have decided right away not to travel there had I been registered for the race, as there is no way one can realistically claim that the runners were not being a burden on the city.

  4. The marathon was not canceled due to threats of violence (what nonsense), it was called off because the vast majority of NYers (including many runners), and most (all?) of our elected officials were against it.

    The difference between people shopping in Herald Sq and running a marathon, is that people shopping do not close roads and bridges nor do they draw cops/sanitation workers away from where they are needed. The mayor wasn’t be perfectly honest when he said resources wouldn’t be diverted, cops (etc) are stretched to breaking. Ask a cop if you don’t believe me.

    Anyway, good choice, now send those generators in central park to Coney and Staten Island!

    good luck all.

  5. I’ve held off on making any responses so far just to take it all in. I’m not in NY/NJ so I don’t have first hand experience but it seems in recent days the media has definitely brought more attention to the severity, especially on Staten Island. Even if it is somewhat sensationalized, it doesn’t matter. Priorities should be in cleaning up and getting resources to those in need, even if they are not directly in the city.

    I felt uneasy picturing a marathon going on 6 days after the storm. I was quite embarassed to say I was a runner. It just didn’t seem right. While I think NYers intentions were based in good faith (inspiring, recovery, hope), I think Mary and Co. were only thinking in terms of $$$$$ in the guise of it inspiring hope and recovery. Now it just looks even worse that they cancelled it so soon to the event. I’m expecting a ton of backlash and maybe even some lawsuits.

    Seeing the pictures of the generators in the park sent my emotions over the top. A sick, sick feeling. Probably why I just sat back the past few days and just waited for the emotions to settle.

  6. I recently started reading this blog and I really enjoy it. I like the variety of fitness levels represented and hearing different opinions on the many topics. However, I was very disturbed over the posts regarding the marathon controversy. We are all entitled to our opinions, but no matter how passionate you are about something, it becomes unproductive and downright mean to insult and belittle people. I write this knowing I could be attacked for that comment, but I feel like it needed to be said. Onto the topic at hand. I was slated to run the marathon and trained long and hard like the 40,000+ other people planning to run. While I am disappointed, I completely understand the need to cancel and agree with many others that the decision should have been made sooner for those that could have cancelled flights, etc… I should also stress that my feeling disappointment is nothing in terms of the tragic loss of life and destruction to homes and communities. People are in need and I don’t want those months of getting into good physical shape to go to waste. A wonderful group has emerged on Facebook: New York Runners in Support of Staten Island. We are meeting at the ferries in Battery Park tomorrow (8-8:30) in running gear with backpacks of supplies that we will run to those in need. Check out the page for more details and please join if you can. Keep up the good work Salty Running!

    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth! We were very disturbed too and it was very difficult to approve a lot of those comments. I really feel that the vitriol and nastiness prevented us from discussing the issues and truly understanding the situation. I don’t think any of the nastiness slingers were doing anybody any favors or helping anyone at all. They distracted from the hardship and the strife and understanding how the marathon would impact those suffering. I did want all sides to be heard, but now that the dust has settled I can really see those comments did nothing to further the conversation and left us wasting our breath defending Cinnamon who’s a wonderful person and should need no defending. A calm well formed argument would have done so much more good and furthered their purported agenda of defending those most harmed by the storm. I get where the anger is coming from, I do not, however, get how being nasty solves any problem at all. But thanks for sticking with us through that. As Cinnamon and I discussed, making it through that makes us much stronger!

      So sorry about the race – sure, it pales in comparison to what others are going through, but it still sucks. And good on you for pitching in!! Let us know how it goes!

  7. I really wanted to think they could pull it off. When I received a text on Wednesday morning from a friend heading to the race I didn’t understand why she was so worried. But we were dealing with our own storm here and being almost 9 months pregnant with 2 small children, no internet or tv for most of Tuesday I was way behind on what was going on. From what Cinnamon could tell things weren’t too bad. It wasn’t until Thursday that I really had a handle on what was going on and that was mucked up dealing with incredibly rude and downright threatening comments here which really prevented me from conducting any kind on intelligent discussion and asking questions to get an even better handle of what was going on and what the right decision would be. But knowing what I know now, I don’t think I could have gone either. I was surprised to hear 40,000 people had already showed up yesterday when they finally canceled it.

    But yes, I wanted to believe they could do it. I believe deep in my heart of hearts that it’s ok for bad and good things to occur together – that one’s enjoyment does not detract from one’s sorrow or pain. I believe people can do things like run marathons while others are suffering, but to do so and ADD to the suffering is over the line. At least in theory I believed they could pull it off without diverting resources from the storm relief and clean-up, but for me the last straw was hearing about the huge generators being used for race staging in CP while knowing the condition of SI and knowing so many of my friends and family are still without power. And then top that off with the incredible nastiness, anger, threats to the runners, etc. if the race went on and it just seemed like canceling was the only thing that made any kind of sense. (Hankest-I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss that part of the equation).

    And then a small added issue was that the race would have to rebuild its reputation for decades after that. At this point it still has a lot to repair, but not nearly as much. And it was starting to give all runners a bad rep.