The ING New York City Marathon has been canceled. Amidst debate from city officials, citizens, and high-profile athletes, New York City has decided to abandon the race in lieu of more important events at hand.
The main convincing factor from the pro-marathon crowd was money and hope. The marathon was originally projected to bring $340 million dollars into the city, but that estimate is far lower after Hurricane Sandy denied the travel plans of runners from across the globe. Even when the decision to continue with the race was announced, NYRR had donated $1 million to the relief fund.
The race was nicknamed “The Race to Recover” by the media.
Now it’ll be “The Race That Never Was.”
Something didn’t feel right as we crossed the fence that separated the NYC Marathon Media Center from Central Park West. Inside the oasis that is New York City’s Central Park, construction workers barked orders at each other to busily prepare for Sunday’s race.
Central Park is usually delicately arranged to convince outsiders that there’s beautiful life within this concrete jungle. All eyes will would have been watching NYC this Sunday, but it’s not because the field of the marathon is of the highest quality or because the race is finally being broadcasted across the nation via ESPN2.
People will be watching because they will be trying to find the position of their moral compass. Should the marathon be run, or should it be canceled?
The destruction brought on by Hurricane Sandy has been compounded upon our arrival. I had just moved from NY to Austin, TX in September, so it’s only fitting that I return this week. While my house is only without power, that is nothing compared to other friends who now have nothing.
Nothing. I’m not talking lack of power or water damage. I’ve seen pictures from close childhood friends, elderly babysitters, and acquaintances that truly explain the extent of the damage. Houses and memories have been permanently destroyed.
Lives have been lost. People are in peril.
We sat in the media center eating a gourmet breakfast and laughing about general banter. When we saw huge generators powering machinery in the park, but I couldn’t help but think that they could have been put to better use.
This is a smart decision by NYRR and NYC to not hold the marathon. Even with the relief funds and belief of hope, it’s still a cop-out. Literal resources need to be put elsewhere in the city. People need to band together not under of the spirit of the marathon, but because there are those in need. Those that do not have.
Here is just some of the resources that can be distributed throughout the city:
62,370 gallons of Poland Spring Water
14,000 adhesive bandages
60,000 heat sheets
100's of power generators
Not to mention the manpower from the NYPD that will be correctly allocated towards area in need due to looting, traffic control, and general disaster relief.
Even though athletes will be upset that the race will not be run, there is a bigger issue at hand. I truly feel for those who have trained the past year in hopes of having a breakthrough in NY. Beyond the miles, there are those who have dreamed of this year for their entire life.
Right now, there are some athletes in the Hilton Hotel who have broken down in tears. This is their life, but they must sadly bite the bullet, swallow their pride, and look down the dark streets that they would have run through on Sunday.
If the marathon is about the indomitable human spirit, then shouldn’t we use that resource to bring the city back to its feet?
"it's hard in these moments to know what's best to do," NYRR president Mary Wittenberg said. "The city belieges this is the best to do right now."
That would be the true “Race to Recovery.”
More on this story:
Local NBC News in NYC
Updated on May 22, 2013, 12:12pm