This Sunday marks the running of the 2012 New York City Marathon. Though NYC has been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg has decided to keep the date as planned, instead of cancelling the race.
He is quoted in USA today stating that, “There are an awful lot of small business that depend on these people. We have to have an economy.” This comes as some surprise to sports fans, as the grand opening of the new Barclays arena, which was set to host the season opener for the New York Knicks and new comers Brooklyn nets, was postponed for a later date this past Thursday.
Not all New York residents are entirely sold on the idea of having 47,000 runners hit the streets this weekend. There is now a Facebook paged entitled, “Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon,” and a world of criticisms being thrown around in the Twittersphere.
The president of the Staten Island Borough, James Molinaro, opposed the NYC Marathon in the NY Times saying, “ My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster. If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade."
While there is much opposition, the event organizers are seeing the race as a way for NYC to move on from an unfortunate natural disaster. New York Road Runner CEO and Race Director Mary Wittenberg believes the race has a bigger impact than just sport, saying to USA Today, “Once again it never seems more true than this year, as was the case after 9/11. Our whole focus now is on delivering an event that can aid in New York’s recovery."
She also went on to say that, “The marathon really epitomizes the spirit of New York City, the vitality, the tenacity, the determination of New Yorkers and now our every effort is to once again tell the world that...New York City, as the may would say, is open for business.”
Though the race may be some what controversial, there is no lack of abundance of elite runners. The men’s field is headlined by a slew of Kenyans, most notably Wilson Kipsang, Moses Mosop and Martin Lel, as well as American Olympian, and former NYC Marathon Champ, Meb Keflezighi. The women’s field consists of Tiki Gelana, Edna Kiplagat, and up and coming American distance star Kim Smith. Tune in to NBC this weekend for all your Marathon needs, and enjoy the great distance action!