City officials and organizers of the New York City Marathon decided Friday (Nov. 2) to cancel Sunday’s big race amid an outcry from the public, runners and various politicians that the event would detract from efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“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,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg, director of the marathon, say in a statement (via the New York Times). “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. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination.”
The statement continues, “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.”
The marathon has been held every year since 1970 — even in 2001, just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.