I’m not a marathon runner. I aspire to try a half-marathon, but I have yet to even work my way up to a 10K. Still, I’m incredibly disappointed in Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to cow-tow to pressure to cancel the iconic New York City Marathon.
The REASON I’ve never attempted to run even a half-marathon, is that it is a LOT of work. And it takes a LOT of time. Not just the 12 hours it would take me to actually run the dang thing. But the hours and hours of running, the diet-tweaking, the cross-training. It takes MONTHS to train for a marathon. (Unless you’re my cousin, Kevin, or Barney Stinson.)
|More than 46,000 runners completed the 2011 NYC Marathon.|
Hurricane Sandy certainly wasn’t a planned event. But it’s perfectly normal to carry on with a road race regardless of weather conditions. I was slated to run a 5K in North Carolina during Tropical Storm Gabrielle. I wussed out, but my neighbor went. It was her first 5K ever, and she ran, wind and rain and all, and placed first in her age group. There were a lot of no-shows because of the weather, and it was just a 5K, but runners are a stout and determined set. I was encouraged when I heard that Bloomberg had declared that the show must go on. Yes, New York needs the economic stimulus generated by this international event. But it was also that post-tragedy event that New Yorkers could get behind and declare, “We will not be defeated!”
New York is one of those pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kinda cities. Why, on September 21, 2001— just 10 days after a major terrorist attack– the New York Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves in New York. So, baseball is okay after a disaster, but not running? The city was still cleaning up, still trying to figure out how many lives had been lost. These events give us an opportunity to band together, to embrace our collective strength to carry on in the midst of tragedy. Through these seemingly routine events, we can shake our fist at the unexpected and yell, “Bring it!”
The official announcement on the ING New York City
Marathon website reiterates that “holding the race
would not require diverting resources from the
recovery effort,” and cites “controversy and division”
as its reasons for shuttin’ ‘er down.
Not anymore, it would seem.
I understand that people died as a result of Hurricane Sandy. (A LOT more died in the 9/11 attacks.) The city suffered some damage. Parts of the city are still under water. And don’t give me this bologna about city resources being used that should be helping victims. First of all, there was plenty of time to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. There was no way individual people could have prepared for 9/11. Secondly, the resources used to beef up security at that Mets game could have been used, instead, to search for remains in the rubble of 9/11. Very little police presence is needed at a marathon. They have oodles and oodles of volunteers chomping at the bit for a free t-shirt and the privilege of pointing runners in the right direction. They had it covered.
For some reason, someone was offended that people might be getting on with their lives. I heard the outcry and the threats on talk radio. There were calls to block the runners at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I can’t help but ask, “What the heck happened to America?” I remember walking in a Race for the Cure event in Portland, Oregon, just days after the 9/11 attacks. The customary color for Race for the Cure is pink, but there was a lot of red,, white, and blue in the mix that day as well. There wasn’t this defeatist attitude that we see after Sandy, this inane fear of succeeding in the face of adversity. Where did this America come from?
There are some runners who still intend to run the marathon route on Sunday, just as they’ve planned and trained to do for months. We need more people like this in America– people with strength and determination who accept that life isn’t perfect, and keep running, anyway. So, go ahead and cancel the marathon, ya big babies. We’ll keep on running.