I had the pleasure of visiting New York once. Several years ago, I was able to attend a Yankees game in the original stadium, tour the Empire State building, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and of course Times Square. I fell in love with the city and it's variety of people and cultures. Truly iconic in so many ways. I can't wait to come back.
I am so sad to see the destruction that Hurricane Sandy has wreaked upon your city and it's surrounding Burroughs. There are simply no words as I watch the suffering of your residents and their loss.
However, when I heard the news that you are declaring the annual NYC marathon would go on? Well, I found some words and for you sir they are not kind ones.
What in the hell are you thinking??
Coming from an experienced runner with 8 marathons, and too many half, 5k, 10k 's to count - I am well versed in all that it takes to put on such an event. Particularly the size and magnitude of the beloved NYC marathon. I don't think I make my comments or observations ignorantly.
Your people are without power, homes, food, clean water, and other basic necessities. However, you are going to take those very things and funnel them to the marathon? Most marathons have aid stations at about every two miles with cold water, gatorade, fuel and first aid necessities for the various ailments a runner many encounter while tackling 26.2 miles. Those are the VERY things your residents are crying out for!
So trying to view it from your perspective I can only assume that the enormous amount of money that the marathon generally brings in for your city is what is driving your decision. It has to be. Because from a runner's perspective it's much different.
Yes, many have spent months training. Long hours, incredible fatigue, spending their time and money to prepare so it would be disappointing to find that the event you so looked forward to and trained for would be cancelled.
But it's such an easy fix.
Defer each runner's registration to next year. No fees. They are guaranteed in. Done.
For runners flying in, airlines step up. Allow transfer of flights to 2013. No fees. Done in the spirit of good faith and brotherhood.
Hotels. Leave the residents that have been able to seek shelter there alone and house them as long as need be. For those marathoners who had previous reservations, credit them for next year. No fees.
For the runners that are local and don't require either of the above - show up on race day with your work gear on. Join in the clean up effort. Donate blood. Donate your goods where you can. Donate the anywhere from 2 to 6 hours you would have spent running the marathon to working and serving your fellow man in crisis.
FEMA will help you Bloomberg. POTUS has already told you he will give you the funds you need. You don't need the marathoner's money, but you do need the respect from your residents, the athletes, and the rest of the nation who is watching you in disgust.
Make the right decision Mayor. Do the right thing for your residents. Cancel the race. Hope that the airlines and hotels will see to be as flexible as you are, and then gladly accept all the help from the thousands of athlete's that I am willing to bet would show up anyway. Not prepared to run, finish or even PR - but to jump in and do what we American's do best.
Help, serve and love one another.
Do the right thing Mayor. Just do it.
a little old lady who likes to run marathons in Utah