NYC Marathon: Bloomberg did the right thing

In addition to my BodyPump prowess, I’ve been a runner since eighth grade. It is every harrier’s goal – including mine – to qualify for a major marathon, such as those in Boston, New York, Chicago, and so on.

Over 40,000 runners were supposed to descend on the Big Apple last weekend for one of the world’s premier road racing events. However, under immense pressure, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg made the difficult decision to cancel the race in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

On Friday morning, Bloomberg announced the race would go on as scheduled. Needless to say, my Twitter was exploding with anti-marathon tweets. “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was among those who voiced her displeasure, tweeting “They’re still doing this damn marathon and heating tents for the runners? Is this a joke? Help the (explitive) people who just lost their homes.”

As a runner, I can understand both ends of the spectrum here. I’ve done a couple of half-marathons myself, so I can sympathize with all the hard work these runners have done to qualify for a major marathon such as New York. Not to mention runners who traveled to the city from overseas, or the ones making their debut at the sport’s premier distance

Bloomberg even said that this was something the city needed to heal from the disaster. However, the tip of the iceberg came when it was announced that generators would be used to heat finish line tents and police and rescue personnel would be needed to staff the marathon, and the possibility victims who had lost their homes would be evicted from hotels to accommodate runners from out of town.

In the end, cancelling the race was the right call by Bloomberg. Had it been run, a dark cloud would’ve been cast over the folks that this race is all about – the runners. That’s not to say the mayor backed down under pressure. He knew it was the right thing to do. And he made the correct decision.

There is no doubt New York will recover from this tragedy – I have a lot of friends and fellow instructors who live in the tri-state area – but this was not the right time for such an athletic event. The resources that were in place for the race are better served for those who remain in the dark or without a place to live.

Fortunately, those who signed up for the race will receive guaranteed entry for the 2013 event. It will go on as scheduled in 2013. The runners will train hard and train often. They weren’t pleased with the cancellation, but they understood. However, I would love to see a meatball like Snooki try to run 26.2 miles!

To those in New York and New Jersey affected by this storm, keep the faith and stay strong. We’re all thinking about you.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.