The 2012 NYC Marathon was going to be my first marathon. I spent six months and over 140 hours training for it. When Hurricane Sandy hit, I thought for certain that the marathon would be canceled or postponed and I 100 percent would have supported that decision.
However, that is not what happened. Our mayor (whom I generally support) declared that the NYC Marathon must go on. So, my family and tens of thousands of international runners all changed their flights to come to the city and run.
Immediately there was a huge cry of outrage against the marathon going forward, and social media became flooded with angry rants against runners.
I want to speak on behalf of myself, a runner, and say a few things.
1: We are not selfish. My running team and fellow runner friends have currently raised over $10,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief, and many of us have pitched in many man-hours hauling relief supplies, helping less fortunate friends with a couch to sleep on, etc.
2: Many of us are not outraged that we can't run the marathon. We are frustrated that the city officials flip-flopped. Many runners spent thousands of dollars flying into the city because Mayor Bloomberg & NYRR guaranteed that the race must happen. Had the race been canceled or postponed from day one (as it probably should have been), people would not have lost thousands of dollars to get to the city. For many people, this may have been their whole vacation saving for the year. Many of these people would have been happy to donate a portion of these savings to Sandy Relief funds, however now they cannot, as they have spent all of their reserve funds scrambling to get to New York City to run a race that they were guaranteed was on.
3: NYRR was criticized for having generators, fuel, food and Police/EMT resources that were needed for the recovery effort. Personally, I am outraged and shocked that the NY Giants and Brooklyn Nets both played on Sunday while the marathon was cancelled. Why the outrage from the public about the Marathon eating up all of these resources, yet nothing from the professional sports teams playing?
Need I say, the NYRR is a non profit entity, the Giants & Nets are for profit sporting teams. The NYRR will have to eat a huge financial loss for the cancelation, when the Giants & Nets certainly can afford to take the financial hit. The NYRR made a huge donation to the relief effort, but the Giants and Nets did not?
The generators, fuel and food must be taken away from the NYRR organization, but nobody questions the food, fuel, and many generators the Nets and Giants have within their stadiums and television broadcast command centers.
Why as a society have we said it is okay for the professional sports players to play on Sunday, but not the average person who has trained hard and is getting paid nothing? Why do average people have to make the donations and sacrifices, while the professionals do not?
The Giants and Nets should have canceled their games and diverted all the financial profit, food, fuel, Police and EMT resources to the hurricane recovery effort!