Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 2012 NYC Marathon

A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about a NYC marathon post.  I was planning to reminisce a little about my experience at NYCM last year and talk about the amazing-ness that is the NYC Marathon.

NYCM 2011 - Taking off again after seeing the Hubs in Manhattan around mile 17

Then came Sandy.

The focus of the post I was planning shifted to the NYC Marathon and hurricane Sandy.  I was going to post about whether or not I would have deferred (most likely), or gone ahead and flown to NYC as planned.  The Hubby and I talked about whether it would still be the same NYCM experience.  Would the spectators who made the marathon a huge annual cheering party still be cheering? Or, would they be angry that the race had been held after all they had just been through? Would they boo the runners?    How difficult would it be to get around the city and to the start line?  Would the volunteers still be there?  After all, they had just gone through a horrible experience.  Would the course change?  And if so, how much?  Was it right to run when so many were in need of the water?  So much to think about.

Then, the decision was made to cancel the race.

Officials insisted - the race will go on!  Imagine being in NYC already and seeing this one minute....

And this the next!

While I do agree with the decision to cancel, I believe the decision should have been made once officials were certain that NYC was going to be hit by Sandy.  Monday, Tuesday maybe?  Wednesday at the latest.  To cancel it before the storm hit might have been a bad idea.  I've lived near the Gulf coast my entire life and I can't tell you how many times we've prepped for storms, only to have the storm change directions at the last minute.  It happens.  But, I think NYC officials and NYCM made a crappy call to cancel the race on FRIDAY.


I mean seriously?

A lot of athletes travel into NYC on Friday, if not before.  I know a few people who wait until Saturday (like me), but I imagine those are the exception.  So there you are, an international athlete, who has traveled thousands of miles to race and boom, no marathon.   I totally understand the why behind this decision, just not the timing.  I had two friends who had already arrived and picked up their packets at the expo before the decision was made.  Another friend arrived in NYC late Friday.  She turned on her phone when the plane landed, only to find she had numerous emails and text messages about the race cancellation.

Luckily, many athletes made the best of a bad situation and volunteered their time in NYC to help the victims of Sandy.  I was happy to see the numerous Facebook posts and tweets about how runners were making their way to Staten Island with water and other provisions.  Other runners ran laps around Central Park to get in an unofficial 26.2 miles.  My friend with the cell phone flew home the next day and ran the San Antonio marathon a week later.  Compared to the loss the people of New York and New Jersey are experiencing - loss of lives, loss of homes - not having your marathon and trip go as planned is pretty minor.

While I was sad and disappointed for my friends who traveled to NYC, I do understand the why behind the decision.  As of today, there are still 120,000 people in New York and New Jersey without power and 43 people in NY have died.  To add insult to injury, the area was hit earlier this week with brutally cold temps and snow.  Though New York and New Jersey were hit with the worst of the storm,  Sandy reached 1,000 miles across.  Overall, Sandy has killed more than 100 people in 10 states. Per the Huffington Post, damage has been estimated at $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Katrina.

Holy cow y'all!

As you can imagine, help is still needed.  If you would like to help, you can make a donation to the American Red Cross here.  Other than that, I'm sure the people in the affected areas could use your prayers.

So what were your thoughts on the whole NYCM fiasco?  What do you think should be done for the athletes who were planning to race?  Refunds?  Guaranteed entries for 2013?  I'm curious know your thoughts!


Lisa said...

I have to say I feel the exact same way about the cancellation. Bloomberg should have called it off at least by Wed evening. I had a friend fly out Fri morning with his family. Had it been cancelled before he left, he could have driving to Indianapolis to run his marathon there.

Robin said...

Even though I wasn't running the NY Marathon...I agree that it should have been called off a lot earlier than it was. That way people could have cancelled their reservations a lot earlier.

Anne said...

I believe officials should have cancelled sooner, like Thursday. I think they were hopeful things would be returning to normal because, of course, Manhattan was getting back on its feet but the rest of the city was still in the dark.

I'd look closely at the waiver signed to see if there are any refunds. Usually, there isn't. And deferments would just mean a big mess next year, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, you take a big risk entering a marathon during hurricane season.

Stephanie said...

I think this is a great story about perspective. It's OK to take running seriously, but when compared to people not having a home - you kind of realize what's really important.

On the Right Track said...

It's very sad how the whold thing went down...and i agree that it should have been cancelled...way too much destruction and devastation up here and in the surrounding areas...One bad call by one person, who in his heart only wanted good from it...and it was surely needed...just not the right timing.
so unfortunate for those who missed out...lost out...or never got here.
As a New Yorker I can tell you personally that I have never seen so much pain, devastation and despair among community members. Our schools are just opening...our power just returning...some lives just rebuilding...