In the wake of harsh criticism, the New York Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled.
Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg insisted, in true bread-and-circuses style, that the race would go on. New Yorkers objected that the race would tie up desperately needed resources like police, generators, gasoline, food and water.
Much of the city is still suffering without electricity, plumbing, heat and food, not to mention that part of the route is still underwater and strewn with debris. Over half a million people along the route are still without power.
(see more pictures of the route HERE)
It’s obvious by Bloomberg’s rather graceless press statement that the decision was made under duress.
“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. 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. 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 New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead for participants.”
The race draws approximately 40,000 runners from around the world. Mary Wittenberg is the chief executive of New York Road Runners, the organization that operates the marathon. She, along with Bloomberg, insisted that continuing with the race was best for the city. Thousands of runners, however, spoke out against the plan to stage the marathon despite the widespread damage and suffering from Monday’s historic storm, joining online appeals to boycott the event or volunteer instead on Sunday to help stricken families, according to USA Today.
Just today,72 hours after the storm, photos and reports painted a grim picture of life in the city. Residents of New York City were lining up for hours to acquire food and gasoline and to attempt to access the very limited public transportation that is operational. Gasoline is rationed to just a few gallons per person, with at least a 3 hour wait to get the fuel. Many residents have resorted to dumpster diving for food. Clean water is hard to find. Looting and violence are becoming regular occurrences.
We really shouldn’t be surprised. After all, soft drink Nazi Bloomberg actually felt so strongly about the city’s sugar intake that he actually passed a law regarding how big a beverage can be. Who can really be shocked that he found allocating funds and resources to a race more important than helping those who are homeless, shivering and hungry?
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