After Mayor Bloomberg assured everyone on Wednesday that the NYC Marathon would go on as scheduled on Sunday, he realized he’d made the wrong call and canceled the marathon Friday night at 5:30 PM. Honestly, I think it was the right thing to do all along. The city needs the resources of its fire and medical personnel to be dedicated to helping those in need right now.
However, it was disappointing that so many people in NY were mad at the runners for coming to their city once the initial decision had been made. The ugly things they wrote on marathon message boards made me concerned that I would be booed or tripped or even spit on for coming to their city to run a race that I’ve been anticipating for a year and training for for nearly 4 months. Was it selfish to want to run in the wake of so many people losing their homes and in some cases, even their lives? Maybe. But did I still want to run? Of course.
Had they announced the cancelation on Wednesday, I would’ve been fine with it. I wouldn’t have gotten myself excited. I wouldn’t have gone to the expo and felt the great energy and gone through all of the pre-race anticipation. And neither would 47,000+ other runners from around the world.
But, no. I had to hear via text from friends and family late on Friday that the NY Times had broken the news. No official word ever came from the New York Road Runners, although they did sent a special communication on Thursday morning that the race was still on. I’m still incensed about that. It’s just bad business.
That, and the fact that the same people threatening to harass the marathon runners wanted us to help with the recovery efforts as soon as the race was canceled. Why on Earth would I want to help people who didn’t want me here to begin with? I really believe that those threats are the actual reason the race was canceled. The city worried that the crazies would assault the runners and open up the possibility of major lawsuits against the race and the city. But honestly? If I donate my money or time to suffering people, it’s going to Africa or somewhere where the affected aren’t entitled. I was absolutely disgusted by the hypocrisy.
Yes, this is a first-world problem. In the scheme of tragedy and suffering around the world, it’s not such a big deal. But it is a big deal to me. I have devoted every waking moment of the last 4 months of my life to this race. So am I disappointed? That’s a big fat YES. Disheartened? You bet. In fact, right now I have zero desire to run at all. This whole thing has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I just need some distance.
I do plan on running in Richmond next weekend so my training doesn’t go to waste, but after that–and my half in St. Petersburg the following weekend–my shoes are going on hiatus.