Mayor Bloomberg has announced the decision to cancel the New York City Marathon this year in light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. The mayor’s office announced the decision in a statement a few minutes ago.
“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” the statement said. “The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”
An anonymous person claiming to be a New York City Marathon worker who represents “a handful” of other race staffers has distributed a letter asking for the event to be cancelled in light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. In the letter, which was given to David Segal of the Long Island Progressive Coalition in the hopes they would distribute it, the author says the New York Road Runners club, which hosts the race, is sitting on a vast amount of supplies that could be used to help aid storm victims. The letter also claims police and first responders will be “pulled away from their jobs to staff the marathon.”
“Who could provide more assistance in this time of need than an organization like the New York Road Runners, who, in preparing for the marathon have amassed tens of thousands of bottles of water, apples, bags of nuts, pounds of pasta, medical blankets, and ponchos. Not to mention the scores of staff and volunteers, the trucks, the generators, etc,” the letter says. “Except for maybe the police and first responders who will be pulled away from their jobs to staff the marathon.”
Update (5:15 p.m.): NBC News is reporting the race will be cancelled.
Update (5:33 p.m.): And it’s confirmed, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement announcing his decision to cancel the race.
The author of the letter, who said they wish to remain anonymous to protect their job, provided Mr. Segal with copies of internal documents that appear to be legitimate and a picture of their staff ID with their name and photo covered to prove they work for the race. They said they are being supported by several co-workers. This evidence was shown to Politicker though we have not been able to independently verify this author of the letter works for the race.
coup de race
It’s the tale of two press releases.
On Wednesday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio sent out a press release entitled, “DE BLASIO APPLAUDS CITY’S DECISION TO HOLD MARATHON AS SCHEDULED.” Moments ago, however, Mr. de Blasio fired off a second one: “DE BLASIO: NEEDS REMAIN TOO GREAT TO DIVERT RESOURCES, MARATHON MUST BE POSTPONED.”