Will Hurricane Sandy Stop the New York Marathon?

Hurricane Sandy's arrival in New York City and has affected many lives and ended in tragedy for some too. Sporting events have not been spared, and one of the world's most famous marathons is destined to be affected by the aftermath of the storm. Various bloggers have expressed their views on the New York Marathon scheduled to take place on November 4, 2012.

NYC Marathon 2008

NYC Marathon 2008, by Barry Yanowitz on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Hip as I Wannabe, a New Yorker who is hoping to run the marathon, captures the imagination with her post, “Hurricane Sandy is Messing my Marathon”:

As I write this blog the great state of Maryland is experiencing the beginning onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, the “superstorm of the century.”

Stores have run out of supplies. Children have been called out of school. The government has been shut down. Power outages are expected. Tubs have been filled with water.

People are hunkered down waiting for her to hit.

In my own city, we are under a flood and severe wind warning. It’s been raining ceaselessly for hours.

Oddly enough, none of that worries me. All I can think about is how this storm is going to affect my marathon. (If there is even going to be a marathon.)

I know, I know…. most ridiculous concern ever.

I just can’t help it. I’m supposed to travel to New York on Saturday morning. I’m worried about the train station being shut down and power outages.

What if our hotel is without power?

What if the whole city is a disaster?

Have they ever cancelled the New York Marathon before?

The Run Lounge, another blog, asks a similar question in the post, “Will Sandy stop the New York marathon?”:

So it was with some surprise that the RunLounge read that Mayor Bloomberg had announced that despite the damage and chaos, the New York Marathon, scheduled for this Sunday, would go ahead.

The logistics of a big city marathon are daunting enough, without the thought of trying to accommodate thousands of runners in a city where so much of the infrastructure is damaged or out of action. The New York Road Runners naturally defended the decision to go ahead with the race, stating that it was more important than ever that a race designed from birth to bring together the boroughs of the city and create unity, should help New Yorkers come together once again as the race did in 2001 after the 9/11 tragedy. But in that case the race was a couple of months after the event and most of the infrastructure in the city that was affected was back up and running. In New York the tunnels that lead to the start of the race in Statten Island are still full of water and the ferries to the island cannot run – how will people even get to the start?

Runner's World blog adds an interesting angle to the dilemma facing race organisers on why the marathon should go on:

Adapt the race, improvise, work with the city, change the course, cut the trimmings, do without banners and bleachers and choppers and even bib numbers and times, whatever it takes, but let the race happen. Don't let it sink because we have made it too big and too high-tech. Keep faith with all these people like Kurt who have come, often at great difficulty, from Newcastle NSW or funerals in Wellington, from Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi, every city around the world. They're marathon runners, they know what difficult means.

To go ahead with such a big race after such a huge storm will be very very difficult. To cancel it is unthinkable.

I'd love to see it finish, just this once, alongside the beautiful James Farley Post Office Building on 8th Avenue, with its inscription borrowed from Herodotos:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The blog I Run These Towns defiantly publishes a post, saying “You can flood our streets, but you can't take our marathons!”:

As Hurricane Sandy has ravaged NYC, the fate of the NYC Marathon hangs in balance. The New York Road Runners have committed to holding the race as scheduled on Sunday, but it's going to be a challenge for a city recovering from a devastating storm. I'm sure to a lot of people the New York City Marathon is not high on the list of things to worry about. But this is an eve that brings in approximately $340 million in revenue to the City. That's not something you cancel lightly.  Holding the marathon is a testament to the resiliency of the City of New York and their commitment to this important event. As the city and region continue to clean up from the storm, I will keep my fingers crossed that the marathon runs smoothly on Sunday. Sandy you can destroy our boardwalks, but you will not take away our marathons!


  • paul

    Marathon?????? Unconcienable!!!!!! One more time…..food,water shelter,now.

  • cabobilly

    I am glad i don’t live in New york ! The more i her about this Bloomberg guy the more i don’t like him! He sounds like he should be running a communist Country! How did he get elected? He sounds like a dictator ….. I feel sorry for the people that have been effected by the storm ! Hopefully who ever wins the election gets the people the help they need and not just talk about helping with speeches!

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