New York City Marathon Cancelled Under Weight of Public Outcry

Mayor Michael Bloomberg succumbed to the public hue and cry and cancelled the ING New York Marathon.  His announcement came just hours after announcing that the Marathon would go on even as the city is mired in Superstorm Sandy’s recovery efforts.

Mayor Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg, director of the Marathon, both stated that the event should continue because it could be a potential morale and economic booster. The race has been held every year since 1970 and was even held just two months after the September 11 attacks.

Bloomberg, in his announcement to cancel the event, said, “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 costs associated with the cancelation are likely to be very significant, and the tens of thousands who traveled to NYC to participate are surely disappointed by the timing of the decision to cancel.  The choice was between running the iconic event that is very much about the ability of the human spirit to triumph over adversity and cancelling the event because it appears insensitive to human conditions on the ground.  By cancelling the event, some of the resources that were allocated to the Marathon were transferred to other needs, including those focused on Hurricane Sandy.