It may seem like a crazy question, despite everything that has happened to New York City, but there are 47,000 runners wondering, “will the New York Marathon be cancelled?”
“N.Y.R.R. continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation,” Mary Wittenberg, the chief executive of New York Road Runners, the group that hosts the New York marathon, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events.”
Hosting a race that traverses five-boroughs, with 47,000 runners and 2 million spectators is a herculean task on a sunny day. Doing it days after massive flooding and fires stretches an already stretched, police and fire departments, as the city tries to dry out and get the basics of every day life back on board.
Runners have the option to defer their entry to next year. With airports closed, public transportation flooded and roads torn to pieces, race organizers are counting on a large amount of runners to defer.
“There will be a marathon,” said Norman Goluskin, a board member at New York Road Runners. “I don’t know how many thousands of people will run it, but I will say with confidence that 47,000 people will not be the number.”
The deadline to defer has been extended to this Saturday. Runners will be guaranteed a spot in next year’s marathon, but they will lose their entry fee from this year and have to pay a new entry fee next year.
At the end of the day the thing that may hamper runners the most isn’t a flooded course, but the logistics surrounding the race.
The course does not go through the areas that were hit the hardest by the storm, like through Lower Manhattan. But the Staten Island Ferry, which leaves from that area, to get to the starting line early Sunday morning normally carries thousands of runners, is out of service and may or may not be operating by race day. That scenario alone could leave as many as 20,000 runners looking for alternative transportation to the race start.
New York is a city built on public transportation, when it works, it works great, but as of today it’s barely working vans, runners and volunteers rely on New York City subways to get to the race. Some bus service is up and running, but it could be a long time before the subways and trains are up and running again.
There are those who think in light of everything that has happened, the marathon should be cancelled for this year, freeing up the resources for clean up and other services.
It seems that one way or another there will be a version of the New York Marathon this weekend, with how many people and on what route has yet to be determined.
Are you planning to run in New York this weekend? If so, how are you getting there. Should the race be cancelled or postponed?