The interwebs are a swirlin’ with New York City Marathon hullabaloo. To do it? To not? I’ve seen blog posts and comments recognizing the for and against the running of a marathon for 40,000 people through a city less than 7 days outside of a major weather/public health & safety crisis.
My friend Miss Zippy opened a great conversation on her blog with really thoughtful comments. Check them out here. There was a great op-ed in NY Business Week (a Bloomberg publication) about why the marathon should NOT be run. And today an announcement from NYRR establishing a foundation benefiting Hurricane Sandy victims in NY/NJ.
So for what it is worth, here is my .02. I am a past participant in NYCM. In 2007, I ran my first race for Team Hole in the Wall and it was a once in a lifetime experience. Running the streets of the city with all of its sounds and smells was amazing. Coming into Manhattan for the first time to the wall of cheers brought tears to my eyes and seeing family and my teammates at mile 17 with giant hugs, incredible. I recommend to every runner I know that they apply for the lottery to get into NYCM or even better run for my awesome team.
With all that said, I just think it is irresponsible for organizers to allow the marathon to go forward this weekend. We are talking less than a week post a mildly catastrophic event that still has residents of NYC without power. The largest commuter system in the country is not fully operational and nor will it be by Sunday. The resources of the city, police, fire and rescue, power companies, water companies, etc., are already being maxed out with recovery efforts and we are going to take them away from their posts to run a footrace? Really? I love my marathons and I love my friends who run them, but in the end, they are simple races. There are others. In the bigger picture of citizenry, this is where I think our marathon mania needs to take a back seat to humanity.
I have heard and respect the arguments of New York Resiliency and good feelings for the city. I have heard about the 350 million dollar influx of cash that marathon participants bring on this lovely fall weekend. Nevertheless, I’m sticking to my guns on this one and sitting firmly in the no camp for NYCM.
So there you have it. If we are friends (or you are one of my three cyber stalkers) and you plan to run NYCM, awesome. I will not judge you for two seconds. You have trained, paid a fortune, and deserve an amazing time. I don’t think you as the participant should be forced to choose which is why I put the onus for the decision on NYRR and Mayor Bloomberg.
Feeling the need to do something about all of this? Pop on over to the American Red Cross and give of your race piggy bank to help those whose minds are surely not focused on a little marathon this weekend.