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.