Friday, November 2, 2012

Why the Marathon Should Go On

There is a lot of controversy today about whether or not the NYC Marathon on Sunday should go on. Many people, both NYC residents and not, strongly disagree with Mayor Bloomberg's decision to not cancel the marathon despite the widespread destruction from Hurricane Sandy. While I'm not in New York, I have seen the aftermath of many hurricanes since I grew up in Florida. The one thing that seems to help hurricane recovery the most is the community coming together. This race will not only bring the community together, but also bring outsiders into the community to help.

If this was any other event, like a concert, I wouldn't agree with holding it in the wake of a disaster. However, runners are kind, compassionate, and fundraising people. A good portion of the NYC marathon runners are already running it to raise money for a good cause. Runners are determined and willing to go the extra mile (pun intended). Marathoners put in a lot of hard work for little or no reward. Runners are good people and they help each other out. Wouldn't you want 50,000 determined and compassionate people coming to your city after a disaster?

I heard that many runners are using social media to meet up to help the community this weekend. The organization running the marathon is donating $1 million to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and asking each runner to donate $26.20. Major sponsors of the event are also donating money. Plus, the marathon weekend brings in over $300 million in revenue to the city. These donations and revenues wouldn't happen if the race were cancelled.

While Mayor Bloomberg says that no resources will be diverted from disaster help to the marathon, I think this is untrue in some sense, which is what most people are complaining about. The extra city employees (e.g. police officers) and race volunteers could spend their time instead to help hurricane victims. However, New Yorkers should think of the marathon as a fund raising event rather than a resource-draining event. The small investment of time from city employees and volunteers will yield a much bigger reward in donations and revenue. NYC can't afford not to have the Marathon this weekend.

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