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After mounting criticism, New York City Marathon is cancelled

marathon_opt_2_copyThe New York City Marathon was cancelled Friday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

People in the New York area are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.

Damage to the area is significant.

So why try to host the New York City Marathon while the region is still suffering?

"That controversy (about holding the race) grew and division grew over the course of the week," Howard Wolfson, NYC deputy mayor for government affairs and communications, told CBS News at a press conference about the cancellation on Friday night. "Those of us who love the city and those of us who love the race realized it wasn't the marathon if it wasn't a unifying event."

CBS added: Mary Wittenberg, president of New York Road Runners (NYRR) which organizes the marathon, said at the press conference that officials and organizers talked about a modified race or postponing the event, but decided it was best to cancel it this year. All the supplies -- including generators, food and water -- will be redeployed to people who need it.

An estimated 40,000 runners from around the world had been expected to take part in the 26.2-mile event.

"People are saying it's a morale boost, just like after 9/11, but that doesn't follow: from September to November was two months, this storm happened on Monday," Jaime Didora, a native of the hard-hit Far Rockaway section of Queens, told the Huffington Post. Her entire extended family is now staying with her in Garden City, Long Island. She added that those who need a morale boost aren't ready yet. "What about the people who wanted to run the marathon, who trained for it, but who are so exhausted from recovering their homes and being first responders that they can't make it? Is it for them?"

"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it," the mayor said in a statement. "We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."

 

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