I suspect this post may not be one of my more popular ones. And I'm sorry, I still haven't gone through all the contest entries. I'll try to announce by the end of the week.
Unless you've been hiding in a bear cave for the past week, you know about the giant storm that hit the east coast. You've seen pictures of the destruction, and you've possibly even seen footage of the first bi-partisan event in years (Chris Christie saying Obama has done a good job responding. Whoa.). And if you're a runner, you've probably seen an article speculating whether the New York City marathon will go on.
There are different camps on this, with some saying that it's ridiculous to put on a marathon during this time, and others saying that the show must go on.
I believe that while there should be no major safety compromises in putting on the New York City Marathon (and I certainly don't approve of people badgering NYRR during the storm), if it at all possible, the show should go on.
Diverted Resources: The most common argument I've seen is that the
money of the entry fees and food should be diverted to people in need
from the disaster. NYRR isn't FEMA, and whether we
approve of this use or not, using the entrance money for something else
would be a gross mismanagement of funds. Our federal government uses taxes for disaster relief, which I completely approve of, but they can't seize money from NYRR.
Personnel. There has also been the argument that police
officers, firemen, etc. should be doing more important things on
marathon morning. My understanding is that the extra personnel
used for events like the NYC marathon was paid for by event entrants as
well and is on top of the normal level of service. Like...on marathon morning in any city, it's not like the rest of
the city goes without a police force or firemen. There's still the
argument that the extra personnel should be put on disaster relief,
which I agree with should the situation still be awful come Sunday
morning. I don't think anyone is saying that NYRR should pull firemen
off a burning house But if those most problems aren't addressed by this Sunday, the disaster relief program has major problems. I believe in New York's ability to get people on their feet by then.
Additionally, I'd argue the same thing with the volunteers.
While there may be a small amount of people who would volunteer to clean
up the streets if there were no marathon, I'd argue that most of the
volunteers specifically wanted to be part of the marathon, not just a
volunteer effort. And just like NYRR's funds, people's free time can't
be automatically diverted somewhere else.
Personal Investment: I have seen the argument that it is ridiculous to inconvenience those affected by the storm so that people can parade around New York looking for personal bests. This minimizes the sacrifices (financial and personal) that many have taken to get to the marathon. While my own personal investment is pretty small (my brother lives in New York so it's just the cost of the entry fee and plane ticket), for those who have spent thousands and planned for months trying to get to NYC. For them it IS a big deal. Not as big of a deal as a burning house, but it's ok to care.
Comparison: This isn't 9-11. Or even Katrina. This may be the point that may make me sound like the biggest jerk. But I have heard comparisons in the NYC marathon debate to the time after 9-11 when baseball was trying to figure out how to change their schedule. This is not to minimize the despair of the people who have lost loved ones or had property damage in this disaster, but to compare Sandy to 9-11 or even Katrina is kind of awful, in my opinion. They are not the same and thus the aftermath should be considered differently.
Cash Money: I hate to say it, but there is a ton of money that comes
into New York for the New York City Marathon. I am sure the city
doesn't want to miss out on it (as is completely justified), and I'm
guessing most small businesses will be happy to get the business of the
tourists in town. Also, cancelling or moving the New York City Marathon
would surely have crazy financial consequences for NYRR. And it
wants to survive, just like any other business. Can't blame them for
The Triumph: I think it would be cool for New York to show the world how quickly they can come back from Sandy. If they can do it there, they can do it anywhere :).
So...what do you think? I truly don't mean to offend anyone by this post, but it is how I feel right now. Educate me if you think I'm wrong!