"The NYPD has been working nonstop since Monday. A lot of us have damage of our own and families that are suffering but we are here assisting with the rescue, recovery, and relief efforts everyday. I understand that this is our job. We love what we do and we love protecting the citizens of NY but to host a Marathon (a run) while people are suffering? To have giant generators sitting around for the Marathon while thousands suffer without power? To have large water deliveries for runners? WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING? The NYRR have some nerve. Run for Relief? B.S. Run because you don't care about anyone but yourself should be the motto. How about you give back for once and help us recover the dead. Yes, I realize that you may be sheltered. You do realize that people lost their lives during this hurricane, right? In fact, right where you intend to start this marathon. Just a few miles away, a mother of a 2 year old and a 4 year old watched her kids get dragged away by a huge surge of water. They have not recovered the bodies of the children yet. Why don't you put the spandex away and put some boots on and assist us? Disgusting!!!" -- An NYPD officer on the NYRR Facebook page
After those words, do I even need to say more?
As a hardcore runner, I care deeply about our sport and how it is viewed by the public. By holding the New York City Marathon only days after the region was devastated on an epic scale by Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Marathon organizers and the New York Road Runners are doing irreparable harm to their own brand and to the great sport of marathoning.
|The generators in Central Park. It's great that the race can find its own|
power while tens of thousand of people are still in the park and cold and suffering.
Bodies are still being recovered. Many are still without power. People's homes were destroyed, leaving them homeless. Folks have no food and are hungry. The temperature is dropping. People are suffering. Much of the city's public transit is still down. Many gas stations are dry. Folks are fighting for fuel where they can get it. In New Jersey, the entire Jersey Shore is...gone.
And yet a race is going to be held on Sunday and run through areas of the city that have been devastated by Sandy. Right now, as I type this, there are gigantic generators in Central Park that are supporting race functions--generators that could be used to power entire neighborhoods. Emergency responders (EMS, police and fire), volunteers, sanitation workers and other critical resources will be diverted away from people and areas in need so they can support a freaking race. Runners will enjoy fresh water, bagels, thermal blankets and the like while hungry, desperate folks only a few blocks away are suffering like crazy.
By the way, the marathon starts on Staten Island, which bore the brunt of Sandy's destruction to New York City.
I genuinely fear for the health and safety of the runners, because they're going to encounter some pissed-off people.
The board of the New York Road Runners should take action immediately. Postpone the race for a month. Cancel it. Whatever it takes. Ask runners to instead volunteer and use their fitness to do some good. Send those generators to neighborhoods in need. Give people who are hungry the bagels and water that were to be eaten by the runners.
I agree with Phil McCarthy. The New York City Marathon has gotten "too big to fail." It's so big that (the soulless, greedy, tone-deaf and insensitive) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (you know, the mayor who pushed for a ban on big sodas) and race director Mary Wittenberg, who will both lose their jobs over this fiasco, are going to let greed and sponsorships take precedence over the right thing to do. ING, as the title sponsor, is complicit in all of this. ING should ask that the race be canceled.
Make no mistake about it; the New York Road Runners and the marathon organizers are doing irreparable harm to the race and to runners across the country. They are making us look like selfish jerks who don't care about anything except running.
I used to want to run the New York City Marathon. No thanks. I'm boycotting the race...for the rest of my life. And I hope you will, too. Please make your voice known here.