UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, New York Road Runners emailed NYC Marathon participants to inform them that the race has been canceled. According to ESPN.com,
the decision was made due to "criticism that the race should not take place as the city struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy."
Hurricane Sandy may have shut down the subway system and left thousands still without power, but it cannot stop the New York City ING Marathon.
In a controversial decision, mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that the race will be held. "For those who were lost, you've got to believe that they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those who were left behind,” he said.
Many are concerned about an inappropriate display of fanfare after such devastation as well as the resources that would otherwise have been used for hurricane relief being directed toward the race. Bloomberg, however, confirmed today that would not be the case, adding that it would be beneficial for the city financially. "There's an awful lot of small businesses who depend these people. We have to have an economy.”
With airport closings, cancelled flights, and the extreme loss of electricity impacting hotels and other accommodations, it’s unknown how many of the nearly 50,000 expected runners will show up. For those ready to go the 26.2 miles, here are five changes to be aware of:
- Friday’s opening ceremony and Saturday’s 5K have both been canceled.
- Private transportation has been organized for runners. No public transportation will be used by runners.
- Bloomberg has asked New York Road Runners to cap how late stragglers can complete the race (he said 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.) since power outages could make for dangerous running conditions at night.
- Runners now have until 10 p.m. (instead of the original 5 p.m. cutoff) to pick up their bibs.
- Last year the marathon raised $34 million for charities. This year they are asking people to donate to Sandy relief efforts, including the Mayor's Fund and the American Red Cross.
We wish the best of luck to all the runners this year.