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Should the New York City Marathon go on? Jobu weighs in.

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to those still dealing with the fallout from Sandy. We were without power for the last few days, but that pales in comparison to what even some of our friends near by are experiencing, let alone people from New Jersey, Lower Manhattan and Queens are going through. To be honest I never thought things would get as bad as they did. Everyone should help out however they can, whether it be by donating money or helping out a friend in need.

My post today isn’t about those hurt most by the tragedy though. My post is about the fact that, despite all the destruction in all five boroughs and the entire Tri-State area, Mayor Bloomberg still thinks its a good idea to run the New York Marathon. Not only is it probably dangerous (all those people gathered together, running through areas that are still in recovery), it seems to me to be completely insensitive and a little insulting.

I’ve heard both sides of this argument. Those in favor of putting on the 26.2 mile run through the streets of New York City say that it shows how strong the city, and its people, can be in the face of tragedy. They say we must show resiliency in our recovery, and that an event as polarizing as the New York City Marathon will bring people together and give them something to be proud of. Mayor Bloomberg has also stated that the race is good for the economy, and that the area needs a boost after the storm destroyed so many homes and small businesses alike.

For a guy who was handling this crisis well, Bloomberg missed badly here. (Stan Honda/Getty Images)

I get it, but I don’t really buy it. The same type of stuff was said after 9/11. We needed to bring baseball and football back to show the terrorists that they hadn’t won; That America was still whole. I understood it then, although you will recall that all major sports were postponed for a bit after the attacks. In this case, who are we standing up to? Mother nature? Do we think that another Hurricane won’t hit next year, or the year after, because New Yorkers got together to watch a bunch of people run around parts of the city that are almost uninhabitable? For crying out loud, the race kicks off in Staten Island, where bodies are still being pulled from the rubble!

There’s people out there who have nothing left. Their houses, possessions and even some loved ones are all gone. There are people dumpster diving outside super markets on the Lower East Side! Do you think it’s right to use any city resource to put on a race while its people are still suffering, in the streets and unable to get even word to their friends and families to let them know they’re OK? Every ounce of the city’s resources, whether it be man power or money, should be put to solving the many problems caused by the hurricane. At the very least, let’s make sure every missing person is found or accounted for before we send a bunch of people in short shorts to run around their tombs.

I know that last sentence was a bit strong, but think about it. Do the runners themselves even want to go through with it at this point? One avid marathoner, Gene Ratcliff, called it “the most hair-brained, self-serving act of idiocy I’ve even seen,(NY Daily News)” and called for the race to be canceled. I don’t even think they need to go that far. Mayor Bloomberg could just postpone it for a couple of weeks while the rubble is cleared out and people are helped in their hours of need. Then, once the city was back on its feet, they could have a marathon that everyone could enjoy.

Until this decision, I thought Mayor Bloomberg was actually doing a solid job dealing with the disaster. Unfortunately, he’s completely dropped the ball on this one. I don’t know if he’s trying to make this his “Giuliani Moment” or something, but it’s ill advised, and stupid. If you watch the video below, you’ll see he even said that the people who died in the storm would want this to go on! To steal a line that I’m sure many Staten Island residents used when they heard this… Are you serious, Bro? Is this really what’s best for the city, or what’s best for Bloomberg’s “legacy” as Mayor? It’s going to backfire, Mr. Mayor. There’s still time to fix this wrong, though. Don’t let them run on Sunday.

Some Coverage of the Marathon Decision:

Update 5:50 PM:

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the New York City Marathon has been cancelled. It’s definitely for the best, but might be too little, too late for my tastes. Also, Bloomberg compared what he was trying to do to what Giuliani did when he let the marathon run after the 9/11 attacks. The problem with that is that the 2001 NYC Marathon was almost two months after the attack. Healing was already underway, and the marathon helped the healing process. We’re still figuring out just how much we need to heal from. I’m glad he came around, but this will definitely be a black mark on his Mayoral legacy for quite some time.

Featured image courtesy of:

Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

3 thoughts on “Running On Empty: Bloomberg Drops the Ball on the Marathon

  1. Forget even the whole appearances angle. It’s more basic than that: running an event of this caliber requires resources, and those resources have to come from somewhere. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should realize that those resources would be better spent aiding those in need rather than guiding and protecting a bunch of people involved in an ultimately meaningless competition.

    For example:

    I’ve always thought that the whole “the ____ wins if we cancel” line of reasoning is a convenient proxy for “a lot of people who have lots of money are heavily invested in this, so we need to keep it going.”

  2. The New York Marathon is not some fun run or just a bunch of people running around the streets in their shorts. It is a professional athletic event involving some of the most hghly trained athletes in the world. One that generates millions of dollars in economic benefit to the city, as well as to national charities, If the logistical structure was not in place to run the event, then I can understand the need to cancel it. But then how do you justify holding the Giants game? You can’t convince me that there weren’t resources and energies put into that that could not have been utilized elsewhere in the area.

  3. Hey Jerry

    I agree with you about the Giants game. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t as offended by the Giants playing. It’s not even that I am a Giants fan. I was actually discussing this with Andrea and she was also not as offended by the Giants playing. None the less, I cannot argue that the Giants were ok in light of my marathon comments. I understand the importance of the marathon, which is why i think they should have just postponed rather than cancelled it. Granted, people did come from miles and miles and from overseas, so that would mess with a lot of their plans and training, it’s better than if it had been completely cancelled.

    I think i took the most offense that the race was being run in areas that were, and still are, desperate for help. Not that sending police and such to the meadowlands is better, but not using every available staten island police or firefighter, etc in staten island for relief for those staten island residents who have desperately need help seems worse.

    I’m not sure if i’m explaining myself correctly, because this is more of a gut feeling call. But you’re right about the Giants. no one seemed to raise a stink that they were still playing. That doesn’t seem fair to those marathoners at all.

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