The New York City Marathon will be happening on Sunday, Nov. 4, as the city recovers from Hurricane Sandy. With thousands of New Yorkers still without power, mass transit running limited service and roads jammed with cars trying to make their way around, many New Yorkers believe the marathon should be postponed.
Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City and has left hundreds of thousands without power and many are homeless. The daily lives of many residents have also been affected. Most cannot commute to and from work, school has been canceled for the rest of the week and mass transit is running with limited service. As New Yorkers try to recover from Hurricane Sandy, Sunday may not be the best time to have a marathon. The New York City Marathon runs through parts of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan that have been hard-hit by the storm.
Understandably, the logistics of canceling the New York City Marathon, the world's largest according to the New York Times, and figuring out what to do with close to 50,000 runners who have paid registration fees or are coming from all parts of the world to take part in the race would require plenty of delegation, a rescheduled date that some runners would not be able to attend and money lost, by the organizers and the runners.
The easiest solution would be to let the race happen, but the Atlantic raises several important points about holding the marathon on Sunday.
Most importantly, the marathon will divert firefighters and police officers from Hurricane Sandy rescue and recovery efforts. Many argue that taking police and firefighters away to ensure the safety of the runners, while some sections of New York City have reported looting, is the wrong approach and some politicians are even more vocal in their opposition. James Oddo, a Staten Island councilman, called the plan “idiotic” stating “Just reached out to contact in Mayor's Office to state here and now on Wednesday that not one first responder and no resources should be diverted from our community to staff the NYC Marathon.”
Along with firefighters and police officers, the city also has to worry about resources that are in limited supply as well as displaced residents -- some of whom lack heat and remain without power. New York City should focus on rebuilding places such as Breezy Point, according to the Atlantic.
On Twitter, many are criticizing the decision to not postpone the marathon. Greg Anthony, a former New York Knicks point guard, said, “With so much death and devastation not sure why they're having the #NYCMarathon focus needs to be on helping people get their lives together.”
Still, everyone isn't opposed to the marathon, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who cited economic reasons and the morale boosting effects of the marathon for why he supports the race on Sunday.
Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of the New York Road Runners, told the New York Times, “We’re dedicating this race to the lives that were lost and helping.” Wittenberg believes that the marathon can be used as a charitable platform to raise money for relief efforts.