There is a debate raging on the Internet, and surely amongst actual people in the area, about the running of the ING NYC Marathon this weekend, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I’m all about running in new circumstances- the unanticipated hills of Tallahassee, the difficult elevation of Denver, and the impending snow runs I have to look forward to in Boston.
There is so much of me that believes the text of the picture to the right. New York has faced disaster before, and has had the opportunity to rise through the dedication of people, and marathon running is a wildly communal endeavor. Just as so many people have looked out for each other during these trying times (check out the Mashable collection of images for proof of spirit in the face of darkness), so too do distance runners take care of each other.
However, I wouldn’t run the ING NYC Marathon if given the chance. As someone who has been on the administrative side of a race, I have been privy to the citywide resources that it takes to successfully pull off such an undertaking as a road race. And for all the arguments that have surface about “it’s just for a few hours” and “the recovery won’t happen because the race doesn’t happen”, I agree there. But in times where frustration and unrest is rising as difficulty continues, now is not the time.
There is also a case to be made for the indulgence of corporate races that I will touch on only briefly- the amount of money involved with cancelling a race of this magnitude is significant, and that will hurt the bottom line of this race in subsequent years- but at the end of the day, I don’t want to balance my argument on that. I would rather bring it back to the people who are enduring the difficulty of a destroyed home. Should life go on as normal? Sure. But not yet. Not just yet.