Sunday, November 4, 2012

The New York City Marathon: Facts Over Fiction

As Mayor Bloomberg continues to pout over the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, there seems to be a revisionist history of sorts concerning the actual reasons why it was called off.

In a letter addressed to all 47,000 entrants into the race, the New York Road Runners Club, headed by their president and CEO Mary Wittenberg, stated her position as to the cancellation.

"It became increasingly apparent that the people of our area were still struggling to recover"

That much is true.

"That struggle, fueled by the resulting extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants, created conditions that raised concerns for the safety of both those working to produce the event and its participants."

Well, liar,liar pants on fire...and all that.

Basically she is saying it was all the media's fault, and if they ran the race, the residents of NYC would attack the runners and race officials right there out in the street. Give me a damn break.

As someone who watched with fascination, as the growing rumble on Twitter became a wasn't the media that shut down the race. It was the people. The idea of busing 47K people to the starting point in Staten Island was the initial problem. A mile or so away from where they are still doing a house-to-house search for the missing, (never mind that there are areas where houses no longer exist) they planned to bring in all the supplies needed to kick off the race. Port-o-Sans, food, water, first aid stations, police, etc. Precisely all the things people on the other side of town desperately need...and still do not have.

Then there was the media tent in Central Park. Powered by generators large enough to each fire up over 100 homes, there they sat, ready to keep the media warm and charged. Although I personally would have loved to have seen the overhead shot as the TV helicopter panned from the celebration at the starting point to the utter devastation which would have been in camera view, it was idiocy to think running the race was anything other than a bad idea.

As for the safety of the runners and the crews...absurd. New Yorkers have a whole lot more on their minds. The idea of residents seeking vengeance is not only absurd, but insulting to all who live there. Mary Wittenberg should know better and be ashamed of herself.

In the end, it was cancelled because it should not have been run. Period. Thankfully, the transparent motive of lots of cash, was finally trumped by human decency.

Because when you listen to what the people are saying, that's what you get.


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