Thursday, November 1, 2012

New York City Marathon NOT To Run

NYC November 2 - The NYC Marathon has been cancelled.

NYC - As rescue workers continue to pull bodies from basements and swamps in devastated regions across the city, strained city workers, exhausted after days of around-the-clock work, are about to prepare for another event: The New York City Marathon.

But residents and community leaders still dealing with unfathomable devastation are questioning why the city would be diverting resources as neighborhoods still lie in rubble, with many now desperate for water and food, the lights expected to be out for tens of thousands for several more days and the transportation system crippled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"It should have been delayed or postponed," said Dennis Murphy, 62, who lives in Pennsylvania and came to Staten Island — the staging area of the marathon — to help his daughter, whose house was damaged during the hurricane. "It's time to clean up, not celebrate," he said.

About 50,000 people are expected to flow into the city for the premiere running event, which spans 26.2 miles and passes through every borough, including many stretches that were under water during the storm.

Central Park, the location of the marathon's finishing line, remains closed by the city, due to the risk posed by fallen limbs, and downed trees remained scattered in the area Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier this week, however, that the marathon will go on.

“There’s tens of thousands of people who’ve come from around the world here to run," he told reporters at a press briefing at City Hall, arguing that officials expect to have most of the power restored by Sunday, and that the city needs to move on.

“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people, we have to have an economy. There are lots of people that have come here," he said. "It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind."

At the Central Park finish line Thursday, crews from Time Warner and Verizon were hard at work, with multiple large and small generators powering equipment — putting the finishing touches on marathon preparations, as other sections of the city sat dark.

Marathon guests have also locked down many of the city's hotel rooms — which are already in desperate demand among residents who have lost power or been evacuated because of the storm.

Bloomberg, however defended the decision Thursday, saying resources were not being diverted by the race.

“The marathon’s not going to redirect any focus," he said. "Keep in mind, by Sunday we’ll have electricity back Downtown. That will free up an enormous number of police. Also, a lot of the transportation needs that we have during the week aren’t there on the weekends.”

ING New York City Marathon officials declined to answer questions, and instead referred reporters to a statement that said this year’s marathon will be "dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane, and their families."

They have vowed to donate $1 million — about $26.20 for very runner — to a new "Race to Recover" marathon fund to aid relief efforts to help New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

“New York Road Runners thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy,” New York Road Runners' Mary Wittenberg said in a statement. “On Sunday, as runners cross through the five boroughs we want them to bring with them a sense of hope and resilience. The marathon is not just a race — it’s about helping NYC find its way down the road to recovery.”


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