The 43rd edition of the New York city marathon will go ahead as planned on Sunday despite the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of New York Road Runners, defended the city’s decision to stage the event after some called for the race to be cancelled.
The race, which runs through the Big Apple’s five boroughs, usually draws around two million spectators to watch the 40,000 participants.
Many people have offered to work as volunteers while runners plan to raise money to help victims of the storm.
Reasons to run it
Defending his decision to go forward, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited the thousands of out-of-town visitors who come for the marathon.
“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people. We have to have an economy,” Bloomberg told a news conference earlier in the week.
“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 behind.”
“If the city is able to put on the marathon safely and it doesn’t divert resources away from rescue, then runners should take to the street,” said Lisa Tobin, 35, a pastry cook from the Bronx who will be running in the ING New York City Marathon for the first time.
Dave Jaffares, who tends bar at Mullanes Bar & Grill, said they usually make $2,000 to $3,000 more on marathon day. The bar is along the marathon route in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
“It needs to happen. The marathon is coming at a great time. It gets people back into the idea that we are New York,” said Jaffares. “This is what we do, we do a marathon every year. Nothing stops us.”
The New York Road Runners, which organises the marathon, said the event will bring $340 million (265 million euros) to the city. The club also announced that it will donate at least $1 million (778, 000 euros) to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy.