By now you have all heard the numerous controversies surrounding the storm ravaged city and the NYC Marathon. If I may, I would like to examine the arguments posed by critics and have a logical discussion omitting all of the hysteria and hyperbole. At the conclusion please post your comments and vote in the following poll.
First, runner safety. Most of the New York City residents are calling for the marathon to be cancelled, which had led to rumors of widespread anger directed toward many of the participants. There are people calling for spectators to block the course and hold protest signs while booing. Let’s take a step back and look at the situation without involving Freudian displacement issues. Is the fact that the race going forward the fault of the runners? No, it is not. Should they cancel their trip that many have planned for quite some time? Once again, no. So why must they be the targets of unruly city dwellers who are clearly thinking with emotion alone?
Currently the NYC death toll from Hurricane Sandy stands at 40 but is expected to rise. Some people have lost their family members and homes, while millions are still without electricity. It is going to require an enormous amount of money to repair and rebuild after this storm. Taking that into account, I have to ask you, is it not a good idea to proceed with the marathon? This race (the largest marathon in the world) typically brings $340 million to the city that is clearly, desperately needed. It does not make sense to eliminate an event that helps local businesses thrive after the crushing blow dealt by Sandy combined with a stagnant economy. Many residents, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, want to postpone the marathon. “The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day.” said Stringer. This is probably even more ludicrous than cancelling all together. There is simply no way that tens of thousands of athletes coming from all over the country and the world can reschedule effectively enough for the race to be a success.
Others have voiced concerns over “first responders” being stretched thin to cover the event. Mayor Bloomberg has assured everyone that this will not be the case, but only time will tell. The storm that wreaked havoc on Monday and Tuesday demanded all of New York City’s resources. While this storm was not on the same scale as Katrina, it did manage to cause massive devastation to the northeast. Three days after the storms departure, police and fire are still scrambling but the bulk of the life and death emergency operations are over. Still, there are many reports of looting in the hardest hit areas. Police and security forces will be greatly needed to prevent the plunderous parasites that inhabit all major cities from stealing business blind during the event.
Apparently there are reports of most, but not all, hotels kicking out victims of the storm to accommodate the arriving athletes. Let’s try not to be emotional and employ some logic here. Runners made their reservations far in advance of this storm and a hotel is a business that must honor the commitments it made. While my heart goes out to the people that cannot return to their homes, I offer this as a suggestion: Why can’t the city relocate the victims residing in hotels to accommodations that would be cheaper outside city limits for a couple days? Runners would get what they paid for and storm refugees would be moved to a setting with some much needed normalcy. The bottom line is that you MUST get this revenue into New York City to help with the cost of long term aid and reconstruction. I want to assist the people affected by the storm as much as anyone else, but please don’t lose sight of the big picture. If the money does not start flowing from events like this, it will never get there. Soon the reporters will be covering another story, people around the country will go back to their everyday responsibilities and no one will think twice about the people displaced by the storm. Everyone with a mouth will have had their righteous rants over the next couple days, shouting about how it’s “immoral” to carry on with the marathon, but will soon forget about the New York City residents and their continuing needs.
While making the decision to let the race go on as planned is a controversial one, I happen to agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Probably for the first time ever). Not because I am a runner but because I am an American. When did we walk away from the American spirit of continuing with life as “normal” while still dealing effectively with a crisis? Letting this race go forward will show America’s resilience to the rest of the world as we always have in times of disaster. Are we still the great nation we once were or would we rather wallow in depression after such a catastrophe?© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running