Bloomberg Cancels New York City Marathon Amid Backlash

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Facing mounting backlash over holding the New York City Marathon in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday that he has canceled this year’s race, despite his early assurances that no resources needed for those affected by the storm would be diverted. It marks the first time in the marathon’s 42-year history that it won’t be run.

“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. 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,” Bloomberg said in a statement Friday evening. “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.”

Bloomberg had initially cited the marathon’s ability to pull the city together, such as in the time after 9/11, as a reason to let the race be run this year. But the growing backlash made canceling it seem almost inevitable. The move comes after more than 25,000 signed a petition against holding the race, believing that the city’s focus should be on recovery of devastated areas. In New York City alone, 41 people have died as a result of the storm and 549,000 still remain without power, according to Con Ed. Entire areas of the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island remain decimated. Indeed, one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Staten Island, South Beach, is located less than two miles from the marathon’s traditional starting point at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

MORE: Viewpoint: Cancel the New York City Marathon

20 comments
shecyclesnbi
shecyclesnbi

@mmnjug The basics are a shambles. #DisasterPreparedness #Nairobi @philipkisia @EvansKidero @MayorGaladwa

shecyclesnbi
shecyclesnbi

@mmnjug How would the #Nairobi governor & mayor contestants would handle disaster preparedness? @philipkisia @EvansKidero @MayorGaladwa

J.j. Lasne
J.j. Lasne

NFL is big business. Not a 40km run.

J.j. Lasne
J.j. Lasne

Finally. What a pointless event this was.

Pat Collender
Pat Collender

Shouldn't has this marathon been cancelled at the beginning of the week? Why was it left so late for it to be cancelled?

NewsDogReports
NewsDogReports

I just saw a few ads that it was still on. get it right for once.

Cidney G. McCall
Cidney G. McCall

People have all kinds of complaints. A marathon is not the priority, getting back to normal is! Maybe next year... Geez!

urbanlad
urbanlad

Let us not forget this major misstep if and when Mike decides he want a room at 1600 PA Ave. This seems to have created a chasm amongst NY'ers - not a uniting event. What a fool. A no-brainer for anyone but Michael. Let's not forget.

Sarra Hajjaj
Sarra Hajjaj

How sad.. As if Sandy wasn't enough! Let's all quit our jobs cancel all events and cry for another 2 weeks!

Adriana Rodriguez
Adriana Rodriguez

Should instead walk, drive or run and help those in need! Quick!!

Kobe Ans
Kobe Ans

Out of respect for the victims and logistical problems too,I guess.

AmaizenT
AmaizenT

Smart Man, coulda just postponed though. RT @TIME *JBloomberg cancels NYC marathon amid backlash | http://t.co/ZAYWcWRm (via @TIMENewsfeed)

Cathie Chansamone
Cathie Chansamone

wise move. most of the city wanted it cancelled. he does represent the ppl.

clkung
clkung

@TIME what will happen to the millions who hopped on planes/trains/cars following Bloomberg's insistence all week that the show would go on?

urbanlad
urbanlad

@clkung They can turn around and go back home. At least they, unlike many have one. Their inconvenience is minor.