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Should The New York City Marathon Be Cancelled?

Submitted by on November 2, 2012 – 10:31 amNo Comment

On Sunday, the 43rd annual ING New York City Marathon is set to take place in New York City. After months—and, in some cases, years—of training, about 40,000 runners and millions of spectators are set to crowd into the five boroughs to take part in what is one of the biggest marathon events of the years. Full disclosure: I have a cousin who is taking part in the race, and she has been very excited about the fact that she’s taking part in the race for awhile now. And, of course, I’m proud of her for having the dedication and the will-power to sustain many months of training in order to be able to complete the race. But, thanks to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, I, along with many other people out there, am beginning to wonder whether or not this race should really be run this year. As of right now, it’s still on. And, NYC Mayor Bloomberg says the run is going to take place. But, should it have been cancelled this year?

Part of me says yes. Hell yes, even. At this point, there are still parts of New York City where residents are literally sifting through rubble and debris trying to make sense of the destruction caused by Sandy. Parts of New York City do not have enough water, food, or even shelter for their residents. They’re waiting for FEMA to arrive and doing whatever they can just to survive. So, it seems downright disrespectful to set up a marathon to run through these areas of New York City. But, in order for the marathon to go on as scheduled, the race has to pass through these parts of NYC. Logistically, it seems like it’d be impossible for the race organizers, the New York Road Runners, to change the route of the race at this point. So, we’re essentially going to be sending thousands upon thousands of people into areas of the city that are uninhabitable. That just doesn’t sit well with me—or a lot of other people out there. How can you have people passing out water to runners in areas of the city where there is no water?!?

But then, there’s another part of me that says that race should not be canceled and that the NYC Marathon might actually be a good thing for the city. The most obvious argument to make here is that the marathon generates millions of dollars for the city every year. And, at a time when the city needs every last penny in order to start the process of rebuilding certain areas, canceling the marathon seems like it could be just as crushing as not canceling it. Additionally, since the Road Runners and Mayor Bloomberg went ahead and announced that the race was still on, there are already thousands of people in town for the event. So, canceling it now would not only crush the hopes and dreams of thousands of runners, but it would also cost a lot of people out there a lot of money. I realize that that sounds cold, especially when you consider how many people just lost their homes, their cars, and, in essence, their livelihoods. But, canceling the marathon would result in even more loss.

Unfortunately, there’s really no right answer here. It’s the definition of a lose/lose situation. All indications are that the race either has to be run or cancelled; there’s no postponing it. So, regardless of what happens, someone is going to end up being upset. I’m inclined to say that the race should be run. If nothing else, it will generate money for the city. And, furthermore, it’ll give us all the opportunity to sit down and watch the race and see New York City as more than just a city that’s in shambles right now. Although some people out there will be upset if it is run as scheduled—and rightfully so—the NYC Marathon will, at least for a few hours, remind New Yorkers and the rest of the country about what a great and resilient city that NYC truly is.

What do you think? Should the New York City Marathon be canceled? Or, do you think that it should go on as scheduled? It’s a very hot topic right now. So, please let us know where you stand.

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