(Memphis) – There was anger in the streets of New York Saturday after the city’s mayor cancelled the New York City Marathon, which had been set for Sunday.
“I think the race should have been cancelled or postponed, but it should’ve been earlier so both sides were happy,” said Jesus Amarante, who flew in from Fort Lauderdale, FL for the race. “That way we wouldn’t have incurred the costs. I would’ve been disappointed, but I would’ve understood, but to cancel on the 11th hour, you just don’t do that.”
More than 47,000 runners, most of them from outside New York expected they would take part in the world’s largest marathon. Among those in New York for the race were some Mid-South runners.
They were more disappointed, than angry.
Jennifer Randle planned to be at the New York City marathon to support two of her friends this weekend, but once super storm Sandy hit the northeast, news coverage of the devastation changed her mind, “[It] gave a description of a chaotic city, so I didn’t want to go into that chaos already. There was already enough going on.”
As of Friday, the race was still on, so Linda Sessoms and a few others went on to the Big Apple, but before leaving Memphis Sandy forced them to make some quick changes.
“[We tried] calling Tuesday and Wednesday, we weren’t able to get anybody. The phones were, you couldn’t get through,” Sessoms said.
Turns out their hotel flooded and had no power. They rebooked somewhere else and made the trip anyway, only to find out after they picked up their race packets, that the marathon was cancelled.
“[The mayor said] the race has always been a way to bring the city together and it was just too much, too many people were still hurting,” said Sessoms. “Things just weren’t where they should be, but they didn’t want to bring a cloud over the race and over the city.”
The New York City mayor thought it would take attention away from the people who needed it most, the city’s storm victims.
“A lot of people are hurting, but they’re positive that things will turn around. Not tomorrow, but it’s getting better for them and people are looking forward to having it next year,” said Sessoms. “We can come back next year.”
Race officials are asking runners to run a different route tomorrow. They’ve invited marathoners to fill up backpacks with non-perishable foods and hit the streets to help the storm victims. Sessoms said she’s considering it.