Marathon

New York Marathon: Decision to Hold Race After Hurricane Sandy Is Mistake

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06:  Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya celebrates after winning the Men's Division of the 42nd ING New York City Marathon on November 6, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

New York City and the surrounding areas have a lot of things to worry about after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the northeast. Holding a marathon for runners from around the world shouldn't be anywhere near the top of that list.

Even though there has been plenty of debate about the race's fate after a week of turmoil in the nation's largest city, ESPN reports Michael Bloomberg has said the marathon will go on as planned, citing the economic impact the event has on the city.

It's the wrong decision. This wasn't a normal storm the city can recover from in a couple days. It's going to take weeks, if not months, for a sense of normalcy to return to the entire area. The fact so many people are still without power underlines that point.

To think it's a wise choice to divert any resources to help ensure the race goes off without a hitch when so many people are struggling is tough to comprehend. Every available person should be helping the recovery effort.

The list of things that should lead to the postponement of one of the biggest marathons of the year is extremely small, but a freak storm that paralyzed the city is certainly one of them.

The ESPN report states race organizers are expected to donate $1 million to a recovery fund with more than $1.5 million more from sponsors. While it's a terrific gesture that shouldn't go unnoticed, it's not a good reason to go on with the race, either.

Hurricane Sandy dealt the northeast a major blow. The overall damage estimates are being measured in the billions, not millions. Every time a huge storm hits the area from this point forward, it will be compared to Sandy.

In other words, these are special circumstances. Running the race on Sunday when a large-scale clean up has just begun and so many people are in need of assistance simply doesn't make much sense.

Bloomberg has been the mayor of New York City for nearly a decade, which means he understands the importance of the marathon better than most people. But, at least in this rare case, it's something that appears to be clouding his judgment.

Some things are more important than a race. Some things are more important than tradition. A devastating hurricane and the ensuing recovery is one of those things.

It should be common sense.

 

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