Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon - Conflicted, and feeling awful about it

I am so torn over this argument about whether the NYC Marathon should be run on Sunday or not. I'm WAY more grossed out by the hundreds of people that waited in line outside the Apple store for the new iPad mini. Ugh.
On the one hand, the New York City Marathon is one of the largest money-making annual events that brings in millions of dollars into NY; dollars that go to small businesses and dollars that can be used for repairs and rehabilitation of the city.
Supposedly all of the peripheral Marathon events have been cancelled, so that it’s just the race happening; a race that thousands of people, including my friends Kathy and Nick, have worked their ASSES off to qualify for and deserve a chance to run.
If it’s just a few thousand dedicated people running down some streets, what’s the harm?
And maybe all of the visitors that are coming into the city for the race can bring needed resources and exposure to the plight of those still devastated by Sandy.

But on the other hand, since Tuesday I’ve been glued to the news and can’t stop looking at the pictures of the three hardest hit boroughs – Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn – and the destruction is depressing as hell. I have a lot of friends and family in New York that are still without power, or if they have power are still having to do 3 hour commutes on foot to get into Manhattan for work because the subways are still closed in many areas. And the death and destruction in Staten Island and Rockaway Beach cannot and should not be ignored. And there’s something gross about holding the marathon when there are still this many people suffering. Especially given the fact that the marathon begins in Staten Island; I just don't know if I could do it.

I keep comparing this to Katrina, which was much worse in regards to lives lost and disaster response time. If the Mardi Gras parade was scheduled to happen a few days after Katrina would I have been mad? The answer is yes. And yeah, I get that Mardi Gras, with its drunken debauchery and ridiculous is not at all the same thing as an athletic race; maybe I should’ve used the Superbowl as a better analogy.

Regardless, I’m left with this icky conflicted feeling about the whole thing. Whatever happens, marathon or no marathon, I really hope that the runners that worked so hard to get to participate in this event aren’t criticized, chastised, or left to bear the brunt of people’s anger.

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