Cancel the marathon soon but not immediately (tomorrow morning?)
Among the many details that remain unclear are whether race would be postponed or canceled entirely and how popular the plan would be among the field of nearly 50,000 runners who were expected to compete in Sunday’s marathon, thousands of whom traveled to New York from other countries.
Mayor Bloomberg and Wittenberg, who is chief executive of New York Road Runners, the organization that operates the marathon, repeatedly stood behind the plan, insisting it was best for the city. But many runners joined a chorus of politicians and area residents this week in speaking out against the plan to stage the marathon despite the widespread damage wrought by the storm Monday night.
Okay. It's official.
I am not running this year's NYC Marathon.
EW YORK (AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to sell the New York City Marathon as a symbolic victory for the city after a devastating storm, invoking two of the biggest symbols of them all — Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.
The former mayor, Bloomberg said, made the right decision by holding the marathon less than two months after the 2001 terror attacks: "It pulled people together, and we have to find some ways to express ourselves and show our solidarity with each other."
Then, he kept talking.
"You have to keep going and doing things, and you can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time," he said.
And once again, the city cringed, hearing another false note that renewed familiar criticism that New York's billionaire businessman mayor is tone-deaf to suffering during a crisis. By the time Bloomberg changed course three hours later Friday and called off the world's largest marathon, he already had offended a passel of flood-weary New Yorkers.
"He is clueless without a paddle to the reality of what everyone else is dealing with," fumed Joan Wacks, whose waterfront condo in Staten Island was under 4 feet of water. "He's supposed to be the mayor of all the city, but he's really the mayor of Manhattan."
Many runners already had decided not to participate this year.
Jonathan Jeffries, 65, a Manhattan business executive, said he had planned not to run his fifth marathon out of concern for police, ambulance attendants and others who assist the race. "These people are dead on their feet. I can't ask them to work on a Sunday and make sure I can have an ice pack on my knee at mile 26," he said.
"We are going to run some other day," he said. "This weekend, we are going to go out and help people."