NYC Marathon Not Canceled, Sparking Outrage Post-Sandy

9:12 AM PST 11/02/2012 by Jordan Zakarin
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With the event scheduled to be run less than a week after the hurricane that devastated the city, many say the race is diverting resources from rescue efforts.

Protestors are lining up to march against the running of the New York City Marathon.

With the city still in shambles post-Hurricane Sandy -- flood waters have not receded, many are still without power, and bodies are piling up -- Mayor Bloomberg and the NY Road Runners have decided to go on with the 26.2 mile, five borough race, drawing criticism from all corners.

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“It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind," Bloomberg said in a news conference on Thursday. In response, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, who has been critical of President Obama and the Red Cross for its relief efforts, said, "My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster. If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade."

Staten Island, where the marathon begins, suffered some of the worst damage, with neighborhoods flooded and homes destroyed, as well as half of the city's 40 casualties.

Aside from charges of insensitivity, there are practical measures to be considered: the marathon is run by participants from around the world, most of whom require hotel rooms. That means that there are fewer hotel rooms available for locals who have been displaced from their homes.

Complete Hurricane Sandy Coverage

Additionally, the media tent at the marathon's finish line, in Central Park, will also use up power generators at a time when many are without electricity, and gasoline is scarce -- lines of cars waiting to get tanks filled have stretched for miles. The front page of the New York Post railed against this on Friday, shouting the headling "Abuse of Power!" and writing that 400 Staten Island homes could be powered by the Central Park generators.

On Facebook, activists have begun to organize against the marathon; over 30,000 people have "liked" the "Cancel the NYC Marathon Page," and posted angry messages and suggestions. One user wrote, "Poland Springs has paletes [sic] of water for runners to drink....Why don't they postpone the Marathon and give these paletes [sic] to people who need fresh clean water."

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is considered a potential mayoral candidate next year, also voiced opposition to the event, saying on Friday, “My first instinct was sure, we’re going to be ready for the big event. We can do anything in the world. We’re New Yorkers and that’s what New Yorkers do. But after visiting shelters around the city, seeing the devastation in Staten Island and Breezy Point and knowing that people are trapped in buildings on the Lower East Side and we cannot get to them, this is not the time.”

Additionally some runners have pledged to break off from the race to deliver supplies to shelters.

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