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In the midst of disaster, should the NYC marathon still soldier on?

Rachael Abrams headshot
Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn Bridge, October 2012
New York City, and much of the East Coast, was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy on October 29.  Photo by World Vision USA/Twitter
Mayor Bloomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on November 1 that the race will go on as planned.  Photo Courtesy of Flickr user Rubenstein

UPDATE: The NYC Marathon has been canceled. "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants," said Mayor Bloomberg in a press conference.


A flood of people were in an uproar when they learned that NYC Marathon would carry on as planned despite the ramifications of Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday that "the city is a city where we have to go on."

Comments on the NYC Marathon 2012 Facebook page include the following: 

  • Yes, and don't forget not to trip over the debris and fallen trees and wave to all the people that are homeless and hungry because of the hurricane, while you run through what used to be their homes; while you drink the bottles of water we so desperately need!
  • They are still finding bodies in Staten Island. And the marathon is still on? What is wrong with this picture? Disgusts me. 
  • Instead of running, why don't they put their healthy bodies to use and help these people. DO IT FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY!

Well, it looks like the race is on — even though many New Yorkers are still suffering from blackouts, water shortages and a run-down homes. The race brings in a whopping $340 million and, sure, $1 million will be donated to the relief fund on top of the $1.5 million already raised from pledges. But is this really enough? 

How fast will this money be allocated? Will it bring back electricity, say, tomorrow? And provide for the thousands of people in shelters? 

One wonders — if the race was, in fact, canceled, would those people really be using their strength to help others? 

It's always a tough call, whether the show should go on. But in this case, Bloomberg might've been better off siding with the people of his city. 

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