To run or not run the marathon

Superstorm Sandy has really done a number on us runners.  Just like the reasons for picking one presidential candidate over another, there is now a debate about whether to run or not run the NYC marathon.  We are seeing arguments going both ways and many of them are plausible and justifiable.

We have heard that the mayor pulled generators from Staten Island where there is no power so that there will be power for the marathon.  We have heard from marathoners who say that the city needs the lift and economic boast that the marathon brings.  Even the NY Road Runners Club is kicking in a million for the relief efforts with sponsors throwing in a million or so of their own money.

Now granted, I am 400 miles away but I do have family down there and friends who are already there to run Sunday.  I really cannot comprehend the damage and loss of life.  My heart truly goes out to them.  Steph and I were suppose to be there but family matters took precedent.  So here is my take….should the race go or not go?

In my opinion, every well planned event should always have a backup plan especially one that covers such a wide geographical area and one that is involves a sport that can be impacted by the weather and environment.  Heck, we even plan for such…for example, if we have a BBQ on our patio we have plan B.  We can move it to the garage or we can move it indoors.  Never mind the size of the event, there is simply no excuse for not being better prepared.  And even all the preparation in the world can be upheaved by a single uncontrollable act.

So what should the backup plan be?  Those of you who live in the northern suburbs know that Westchester County with its beautiful parks and roadways could serve as an alternative route.  And there are 3 railroad lines that run through it from the city.  So getting runners from the city north shouldn’t be a problem assuming the railroad is running.

The route could be altered to include the parkways of which there are 5…Saw Mill, Sprain Brook, Bronx River, Cross County and Hutchinson.  All of these interconnect and eventually they end up in the Bronx.  I don’t think it would be a big deal to close one or perhaps two because if I remember from my days living in Hartsdale, parts of the Bronx River Parkway used to be closed to vehicles on Sunday for runners and cyclists.

From there, they could eventually pick up the original course except for Staten Island.  It may not be a true NYC marathon but at least it is a marathon and perhaps, a very special one.  I can’t imagine how many runners would love to tell their grandchildren and great – grandchildren….”I did the once in a lifetime Superstorm Sandy NYC marathon!”

Meanwhile, prayers go out to all of those who are digging out, who are searching and rescuing, who lost loved ones.  May God shed his grace on them.

And so in absence of an alternative, it is of my opinion that the marathon should be cancelled and the registration fees refunded or applied to 2013.

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