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Should NYC Marathon have been run despite Sandy?

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

The New York City Marathon was canceled due to the aftermath of Sandy. This is a controversial topic among runners because it is a tradition in the city but it would suck up vital resources.

“Run the New York Marathon?”

The main argument on one side of the dispute is that New York City is not prepared to receive 50,000 runners and their families and friends on Sunday. People express the loss of power, water and transportation as the top problems. A large majority of the runners come from overseas and need accommodation in hotels. This causes trouble form subway stations not working, to flight delays and cancelation.

Several subway stations are flooded and others have people waiting on lines for three hours. The airports have begun to operate on a four-day accumulation of delayed flights. Residents of NYC are in search of a place to take a shower and to charge their phones.

Hosting the marathon would be a cost the city is not ready for and an inconvenience to the residents. It would also promote struggles in a city when it should showcase the best of NY.

On the other side of the debate are the people who believe the NYC marathon would help the community, financially and emotionally.

The main argument on this side is last year’s marathon brought $340 million to the city. The marathon covers most of its own costs, therefore it would not cost the city much money to host it but rather bring in money.

The training the runners have put in throughout the year has gone to waste. Also many non-profit organizations like Leukemia and Lymphoma Society depend on the NYC marathon runners to gather donations as they finish the race.

Runners around the world have expressed their opinions on the sensitive subject. Members of one of the running club on campus, UConn Endurance support both sides of the issue.

Lauren Kuda, a 7th semester nutrition major supports the cancelation. “There are so many families without homes and food, having an event where a lot of money must be spent accommodating runners does not seem right,” said Kuda.

She supports the runners who donated their hotel rooms to families in need, as well as those 1,300 runners who went out to Staten Island, generally the start of the race and helped clean out homes. These racers ran a different type of marathon, carrying garbage bags and backpacks full of donations.

“Being a runner, if I had trained for the marathon and it was cancelled I would be devastated but would turn it into something positive by helping as much as I could,” said Kuda.

Patrick Casey, a 7th semester history major, is discouraged by the cancelation, and believes it would not only help financially with the effects of Sandy but also emotionally help residents cope with the tragedy.

“I think that aside from an event like the ING brining in millions of dollars of revenue to business owners that are seriously hurting right now, this would provide a distraction to people who are living through this nightmare,” said Casey.

This would be a shinning example of New York’s will to carry on. In 2001after the 9/11 attack, the NYC marathon served as inspiration and hope for residents and for the country. “I think it was a mistake canceling something like this famous event that takes place every year, it would have been something people could get behind and lift themselves up,” said Casey.

The marathon has brought runners from all around the world dating back to 1970 with 127 participants. In 2009 it became the first marathon with more than 40,000 official runners. Due to the popularity of the marathon, participants are selected by a lottery system. Last year there were a world record 46,795 finishers.

The men’s record is set at 2:05:06, made by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011. Mutai also won the Boston Marathon that year making him the first man to win both races in course record time in the same year.

Margret Okayo of Kenya holds the women’s record set at 2:22:31 in 2003. Okayo also won in 2001 and has won the Boston Marathon, London Marathon and the San Diego Marathon on two occasions
The first course consisted of repeating Central Park. Nowadays the route covers all five boroughs of NYC. Beginning in Staten Island crossing over to Brooklyn then Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, across Central Park South and finishing at Columbus Circle.

Where the course begins is suffering Katrina-like devastations and where it ends is currently closed.

Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter has offered to hold the NYC marathon in Philly. But the Philly Marathon is in two weeks, which brings up another controversial topic.

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