- (Photo: Reuters/Kena Betancur)
The NYC Marathon has been canceled by New York City officials Friday, meaning about 50,000 runners who came to the Empire State won't run Sunday. Mounting public backlash has seemingly been assuaged with the impromptu decision, and there is currently no news of rescheduling the event.
The NYC Marathon's cancellation was revealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who originally intended to use the event to motivate New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast. Previously, he equated the event to 2001's NYC Marathon, which was held despite 9/11 just two months prior.
"Rudy (Giuliani) made the right decision in those days to run the marathon and pull people together," Bloomberg said earlier today. Other politicians, however, weren't so easily convinced.
Manhattan Borough President Stringer said that New Yorkers "are struggling to keep body and soul together," he was quoted by The New York Daily News. Instead of the marathon, the city should "focus … on the crucial task of helping out neighbors recover from this disaster," he added.
Similarly, City Council Speaker Christie Quinn, an ally of Bloomberg's, said the mayor's original choice was "not a decision I would have made."
Bloomberg's stubbornness regarding the continuation of the run wasn't completely unwarranted though- the historic marathon has endured ups and downs every year since 1970. The mayor also addressed a common criticism, pointing out that "holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort," in a statement.
Supporting the mayor's first stance was Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of New York Road Runners and the director of the marathon. Still, voices of politicians, runners, displaced area residents and the general public were louder.
After days of mounting pressure, Bloomberg relented.
"The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination," he began in a statement. "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.
"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," he added.