Thursday, November 1, 2012

You can flood our streets, but you can't take our marathons!

The New York City Marathon is like the Super Bowl of distance running. Nearly 50,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators converge on the Big Apple for the big event.  For competitive runners it's one of THE races to win. For amateurs like myself, it's the holy grail of marathons. I'm fortunate to have registered last year as one of the last classes who will get automatic entry after three unsuccessful lottery attempts.  To me the New York Marathon represents everything that is right about running - the crowds, the support, the pageantry. I can't wait for my shot.

Thankfully I didn't get in this year. 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.

Crazy flooding in New York's Financial District
The NYC Marathon starts on Staten Island and runs through all five of the city's boroughs. According to the race director the course is relatively clear, but the bigger issue is getting people to and around the city. By all accounts the public transportation system is at a standstill, and that is very problematic getting runners and families around the city.

Herein lies the problem.
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!


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