Up to 500 Irish runners and many Irish charities will miss out because the New York marathon was canceled.
It is an especially tough blow for many of the Irish charities as they depend on the New York City marathon for signficiant funding as runners commit to raise large sums for them. One estimate is that close to $1 million in funding is lost for various charities.
Among the charities affectd are Crumlin Children’s Hospital, GOAL and Irish Autism Action. Keith Duffy of Boyzone was down to run for Autism while former world indoor mile record holder Senator Eamon Coughlan of the Chidren’s Hospital was also in town for the event.
On Friday Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the Marathon’s cancellation.
The statement read “The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination.
“We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, so we have decided to cancel it.”
Bloomberg however reiterated his confidence that the race would not draw services away from those in need and insisted, throughout the week, that the international event would take place.
However the opinion of those New Yorkers affected by the storm was made evident as the week went on.
On Friday the New York Post’s front page was a photo of two large generators being used for one of the Central Park marquees being set up with the headline “Abuse of Power”.
On the news a Staten Island resident who was crying for help, in the form of food and water, told CNN “We're freezing our asses off with no power, no nothing….I'm sorry, [Mayor Michael Bloomberg] is delusional."
In Brooklyn a sign was posted outside a home which read “F.U. Mayor and Your Marathon”.
Anne Lieberman a resident of Fort Greene said told ESPN “I understand the marathon being held for financial reasons, but I think they finally realized just how f---ed up it is to host a race when people don't have basic necessities to live.
"I mean, this stuff out here looks post-Katrina-like."
Mike Francesa, a native New Yorker and WFAN radio host, said “Now you want the street to be littered with half-full water bottles from guys who are running in the marathon, who are pouring it on their heads and throwing half-used bottles in the street and in [New] Jersey they don't have water?!"
The Village Voice newspaper said “New York City doesn't have resources to waste right now, especially on a stupid race.”
On Saturday Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that temporary fuel trucks would be deployed to areas in New York City and Long Island for emergency vehicles and the public. He also announced that 80 percent of the New York subway system had been restored.
However the situation is not improving for all residents. Those the worst affected areas may be without power for another week and many have lost their homes entirely.
Priscilla Santos, in Coney Island, told NBC 4 New York the situation there was dire.
She said “What I'm dealing with is a whole week, basically, of losing income... no heat, no water, no toilets, no food, no nothing.”
Happily as the thousands of runners arrive to New York, having hoped to run the Marathon, these able-bodied and kind spirited athletes are turning their hands to volunteering to help those in need.
One of the runners Meg Stlnick, from Wichita said “We have so many skill sets among us all and we're going to go out there.
“We have thermal gear. We're going to put out backs into it just as we would 25 miles. We're going to help these New Yorkers in any way we can.”
Another runner, Tyler Kaltenbach from Portland said “I feel like the right decision was finally made, but I think it was made two or three days too late... now that I'm here, I want to make an effort to volunteer and do something to help.”
Here’s NBC’s coverage of the race cancellation:
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
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