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NYC Reverses Itself and Cancels NY Marathon on Sunday

Mayor Michael Bloomberg must have been listening to the chorus of detractors out there decrying his decision to go through with Sunday’s New York Marathon because city officials and marathon organizers late Friday afternoon decided to cancel the marathon after all.

According to the New York Times, officials were swayed by the growing opposition to the marathon, realizing the fallout would be too great if they went forward in a city that is still reeling and devastated from Hurricane Sandy.

Bloomberg had cited the decision by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to hold the marathon after 9/11 as his guide, saying the marathon would provide much needed morale and economic boosts to the city.

“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch,” he said in a statement Friday evening. “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 would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it,” he added. “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 recover from the storm and get our city back on track.”

The marathon has been held every year since 1970.

Perhaps the race became doomed when many runners started speaking out against the idea to move forward with it. Finally Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg, director of the marathon, succumbed to reason.
The controversy came as the death toll from Sandy increased to 99, as emergency workers continued to slosh their way through flooded homes looking for survivors and millions of people remain without power in the Northeast. Of the 39 people the storm has killed in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island, the borough hardest hit. In Staten Island, rescue workers yesterday found the bodies of two boys, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by flood waters.
According to the New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, the event would have brought $340 million to the city. The club also said yesterday that it would donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy. In addition, the Rudin Family, one of the founding members of the marathon, said it would donate $1.1 million and the ING Foundation said it would give $500,000.




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