Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon cancelled in wake of Superstorm Sandy

Mayor Bloomberg's office announced this afternoon that the New York City Marathon would be cancelled this weekend, reversing his stand this week to keep the marathon on, saying it wouldn't divert resources from Sandy recovery efforts and that it would bring New Yorkers and racers from out of town together.

Personally, I think cancelling the marathon was the right call. The city and surrounding areas are in a fragile state right now. As someone who lives on Long Island, less than 25 miles from Manhattan and even closer to Queens and Brooklyn, three of the boroughs where the race would take place, I've been without power for four whole days now - no heat in the freezing cold, no hot water, no fridge or stove, no lights. I spend my mornings and evenings in the dark and my days lugging what I can to whatever nearby facility has electricity for me to recharge & catch up on the news - hotel yesterday, library today. My father's house flooded and was damaged, and many of my neighbors and friends lost everything they owned. Now, even though the winds have died down and the waters have receded, while many of us wait for the power to go back on, all of us are dealing with a severe gas shortage, limiting travel for all of us and generator use for others. We don't need a sporting event to rally around - for the most part, we've been rallying around each other. We have more important things to think about, like how we're going to stay warm tonight or where we're going to stay if we don't even have a home to go back to. And for families and friends of the approximate 100 people who were killed in Sandy's fury, there's a whole other set of emotional issues to deal with.

Hotels were facing the dilemma of evicting evacuees, those without homes, in order to honor reservations for those running in the marathon. While Bloomberg claimed no resources or manpower would be diverted from the recovery effort for the marathon, clearly there were supplies like generators being used for the marathon that could have been put toward those affected by the storm. So good on Bloomberg for finally having some common sense and making the only obvious decision regarding the race. There's always next year.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by Sandy - hope things start/continue to get better for us all, soon!

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