Canceled NYC Marathon still brings out athletes and supporters
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 16:11
After holding out hope for days, the organizers of the New York Marathon decided to cancel the race, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4. Due to the massive damage that Hurricane Sandy caused throughout the city, organizers decided that holding the race would be neither possible nor appropriate.
The announcement came after days of pressure from people who wanted the marathon to go on as planned as well as pressure from people who criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others for refusing to cancel the race.
Given the damage in New York, it’s hard to see how the marathon could have gone on as scheduled. But, had the timing been slightly different, the race could have lifted the spirits of an entire community that saw its neighborhoods and businesses destroyed by the storm. Indeed, many New Yorkers who wanted the race to happen hoped that it would provide a morale boost after the tragedy.
Less than five years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the New Orleans Saints went on to win the Super Bowl, the first for the franchise. The win provided a huge emotional lift for New Orleans, and united the city. Years after a tragedy, sports were able to bring a community together.
Even at Wellesley, sports can help unite a community. Last spring, I lined up on Central Street for my first Marathon Monday, and saw the campus come together in support of the runners. The race was able to bring Wellesley together, and I’m sure that the cheering was a nice way to remind runners of all the hard work they put into training.
In New York, runners won’t have the chance to justify months of training or reach the halfway point of an official race amidst screaming fans. But runners from across the world mapped their own unofficial courses throughout the city, proving that they could run 26.2 miles on the streets of New York. Athletes and fans alike congregated at the marathon’s starting point, and there was still cheering as the runners began their unofficial races. After flying across the country and world to get to New York City, some runners even spent their Sundays volunteering to help those who were most affected by the storm.
So many of the stories we hear about sports today are negative, and highlight everything that is wrong with competitive athletics. In the wake of bounty scandals and doping incidents, these runners serve as a prominent example of how sports can bring out the good in people.