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On the Cancellation of the 2012 NYC Marathon

It’s been over a week now since the ING NYC Marathon has been cancelled. Between needing some time to put my thoughts together and traveling, I haven’t had a chance to put down my thoughts about the marathon’s cancellation. Finally I have had to time go behind the keyboard and express myself in words to post here.

The first question everyone asks me when they find out I was supposed to run is: What do I think of the cancellation? I think it was the right idea at the wrong time. New York was under a strain and there was quite a bit of tragedy associated with the storm. The problem was they waited until Friday night to make the announcement, rather than Tuesday or Wednesday. Of the approximately 50,000 people who run the NYC Marathon, only about 10,000 from the New York area. 40,000 people traveled to New York City, had checked in at the Run Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center and were prepared to run Sunday morning.

The only thing I don’t understand is why people were blaming the runners that were planning to run the race. The media had not covered the extent of the damage to the outer boroughs initially and was never mentioned in Mayor Bloomberg’s press conferences. Unless people were connected to people in New York on social media, they had no clue it was happening. Then people online started writing threats against the runners, who again were most likely oblivious to it happening. People do not blame football or baseball players when games are run at inopportune situations, so why were the runners blamed for the decisions of the New York Roadrunners and Mayor Bloomberg?

Before the marathon was canceled, the marathon was already raising $3 million for hurricane relief (plus there were quite a few people raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for disaster relief around the marathon), and the script for the national television broadcast of the marathon was allegedly being altered to raise funds as well. Unlike the professional sports in New York and New Jersey, the marathon was trying to help the victims of Sandy. Once the marathon was canceled, thousands of runners donated their time and went out to help out in Staten Island, the Rockaways, and the Jersey shore.

In 2011, over $30 million was raised for charities that were being represented in the marathon. Charities have easily matched that, if not surpassed it in 2012, but they will not do so well in 2013. Because all the runners who were supposed to run this year were all given automatic entry in 2013, including all charity runners, the charity runners will not have their fund raising requirements for next year. While charity runners will undoubtedly raise funds for their charities again next year, they will most likely not have the requirements that are imposed by the charities to get a place in the marathon, so the fund raising will not be as high.

After training for a solid five to six months for the ING NYC Marathon, it was depressing to not be able to run the 2012 marathon. New York was not ready to have 50,000 runners go through 26.2 miles of the streets while there were so many people in need, but had they canceled it sooner, they may have been able to postpone it. Since they did not, there is nothing to do but to prepare for my next marathon and know that I will be out there running the NYC marathon again in 2013.

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