"Abuse of Power" read the banner headline of the New York Post Friday morning -- a message aimed at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has repeatedly reiterated his decision to move forward with this year's ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, despite Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.
The race may still be scheduled to go on, but public outcry is mounting, and it seems more and more runners are starting to defect, signing petitions and announcing boycotts of their own race.
The marathon's website says the race will be dedicated to the city of New York and the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but this has not appeased Penny Krakoff, a social worker from Crown Heights who is among the race's vocal protesters.
Although Krakoff was slated to run this weekend, she told Gothamist that she could not run when her attention and enthusiasm could be better utilized elsewhere. Instead Krakoff said she will use her official bib number to gain entry to Staten Island (the marathon's starting line), where she will then spend the day volunteering in the SI community.
She told Gothamist:
I cannot start a 26.2 mile run in Staten Island—people are missing, stranded, in need of resources. Brooklyn and Queens have equal devastation. Parts of Manhattan are without electricity, water, major hospitals are closed. The Bronx too has its own challenges. Today I will volunteer at a city evacuation shelter. Sunday morning I will catch the marathon bus to Staten Island. Not planning to run. Plan to volunteer instead and gather resources (extra clothes, bottles of water, food from runners at the start). Let's not waste resources and attention on a foot race. Who is with me?
While Krakoff's neighborhood in central Brooklyn was largely unscathed by the superstorm, beachfront Staten Island sustained massive damage. Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro reportedly broke down during a news conference Thursday while describing the situation in his borough, where at least 14 have died and hundreds are homeless, the Staten Island Advance notes.
S.I. Boro Pres just broke down during news conf saying hundreds now homeless & there is no help. Expecting # of deaths to rise #Sandy— Tom Llamas (@TomLlamas4NY) November 1, 2012
Perhaps unsurprisingly, local politicians in the area have also been vocal in their opposition to the marathon event, which may divert vital volunteers and resources.
"The notion of diverting even one police officer, one first responder, one asset away from this carnage is beyond irrational,” Staten Island Councilman James Oddo told the New York Daily News.
Others on Twitter seemed to agree.
In addition to Krakoff's efforts, there have been several "Stop the Marathon" petitions and Facebook pages. One Change.org petition has close to 6,000 signatures. Similarly, a Facebook page presumably created by runners also boycotting the mammoth race states:
We are a team of runners dedicated to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Due to the catastrophic events, we have decided to wear our Bib numbers on race day, BUT WILL NOT BE RUNNING. We will be volunteering and assisting those in Staten Island who need our help.
In a press conference Thursday, Bloomberg responded to some criticisms. He said he did not expect the NYPD to be stretched because the race is on a Sunday, when street traffic is limited, and he pointed out that power is expected to be back up in many areas by Saturday, according to The New York Times.
“The city is a city where we have to go on,” Bloomberg said.
What are your thoughts on the situation? Leave your comments below.
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