Update: 5:30 pm: The New York City Marathon will not be held this Sunday.
After days of growing pressure from runners, politicians and the general public to cancel the marathon in the devastating wake of Hurricane Sandy, city officials and event organizers said the race will not be held this Sunday.
Friday, Nov. 2, 12:30 PM: Should they or shouldn't they?
As New Yorkers recover from the violent impact of Hurricane Sandy, a din of protest is rising against Mayor Bloomberg's decision to hold the city's marathon this Sunday.
A Facebook page called "Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon" has 33,610 likes — and counting. The progressive group, Change.org has been circulating a petition calling for the race to be postponed until spring.
The petition begins: "Police, fire and other emergency services should not be diverted to the Marathon during this time of crisis. This event is always a positive event and it should not be turned into a hugely negative drain on city resources."
New York City Councilman James Oddo tweeted today, "If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream." And Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, "The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day."
So far 41 people have been reported killed by the storm's effects in New York City and at least 19 of those deaths were on Staten Island — where the marathon is scheduled to start.
For his part, Mayor Bloomberg asserts that the race will have a positive net effect on the ailing city.
"There's an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these
people. We have to have an economy," Bloomberg told a news conference on
Wednesday. "It's a great event for New York, and I think for
those who were lost, you know, you've got to believe they would want us
to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left
The New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, said the event
will bring $340 million to the city. The club has also said it will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more
than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers
affected by Sandy.