New York, USA – Amid ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â ING New York City Marathon.
“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New YorkersÃ‚Â participateÃ‚Â in and millions more watch,” Bloomberg and New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg wrote in a joint statement issued Friday afternoon.
“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 marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.”
The storm, which hit the U.S. east coast on Monday, caused billions of dollars in damage and left millions without power. Tens of thousands are still struggling without electricity or in temporary shelter as of Saturday morning.
“From the early stages of this week, the marathon ceased to be about running, and was all about how best to aid New York City,” Wittenberg said at a news conference on Friday. “It is with heavy, heavy hearts that today, tonight, that we share the best way to help New York City at this time is to say that we will not be conducting the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.”
“Over the course of the week it became clear that the marathon –which is really one of the best days in the life of the city, a moment of unity, happiness, joy, celebration and everything that is New York– had become divisive and controversial,” said Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications Howard Wolfson.
“Those of us who love the city, and those of us who love this race recognise that it wasn’t the marathon if it wasn’t a unified day. It wasn’t the marathon that you love if there were people who were pained by running it. And so, in very closeÃ‚Â collaborationÃ‚Â with Mary and her team, we decided that it would be best this year if we cancel.”
Organisers of thisÃ‚Â IAAF Gold Label Road RaceÃ‚Â said they wouldÃ‚Â applyÃ‚Â all their resources, including generators, food and water, into the relief effort.