Well, all that hubbub over New York City still hosting the marathon in spite of being hit by a hurricane, and attendant freakouts by area newspapers and radio hosts, just reached a surprising conclusion: the race is off after all. The office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted:
We have decided to cancel the NYC marathon. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in days ahead for participants.
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) November 2, 2012
In a statement, Bloomberg said the race was called off due to it being a “source of controversy and division,” rather than as a symbolic unifying event to help the city get back on its feet. It’s hard for me to say whether this is definitively the right move or not: I’ve been without power most of the last week, rendering me unable to really dive into this issue. I heard Bloomberg say earlier today that the city had devoted sufficient resources to dealing with the storm’s fallout, and the “source of controversy and derision” statement all but admits the race was called of purely for PR purposes, not to actually divert more resources to Sandy cleanup.
What I can say is that at least to me, the city doesn’t look any better for canceling. If you’re going to make a ig deal about going on with the race, go on with the race. If you’re going to cancel, cancel before the last possible second.The waffling now makes it look like the city never really had much of a solid plan to begin with, and obviously plays right into the hands of those who said it should have been canceled (or at least postponed) from the start.
And I can also say that (again, for PR purposes) it’s very unlikely that any resources going to the marathon will now be going to people who need it worse – can’t risk that outcry. Maybe this was ultimately the best decision – it’s true that rather than a symbol of a recovering city, the marathon was shaping up as a symbol of a deeply divided one. But it’s a decision that, in real terms more than terms of perception, is likely to change next to nothing, and I don’t see how any of this reflects very well on Bloomberg.
And for some additional marathon talk, here’s our own Dan Fogarty with the team from America’s Radio News earlier this evening:
Getty photo, by Patrick McDermott