As I write this it has been almost three hours since the announcement that the marathon has been canceled. It is a cancelation that should have been made on Wednesday not 36 hours before the actual event.
I, like most runners, would have been satisfied and okay with the cancelation of the marathon earlier in the week. In fact, that would have been the right thing to do. But it wasn’t canceled and those of us who raised and donated money wanted to run, albeit, with heavy hearts and mixed feelings.
Then the backlash started. I can understand anger, that’s fine. But people started threatening to harm runners during the marathon. There were calls to trip, push, and throw eggs at runners. Somehow the anger for the lack of response in Staten Island and other areas got directed towards the marathon and those running in it. Fine, be angry at the organizers and city for moving forward with the marathon but threatening to harm runners was wrong.
I am probably safe in saying that none of these people donated any money to recovery efforts or donated their time.
Many of the runners participating in this marathon were doing so through a charity and raise money for charities all year round. Last year over 34 million dollars was raised through the NYC Marathon and it was safe to say that somewhere around that amount was going to be raised again this year. In addition, New York Road Runners set up a new fundraising page and took one million dollars out of their reserves to start the fund.
There are thousands of runners who traveled from out of state and oversees to come to this event who are now out of thousands of dollars. For some, this may have been their bucket list race and once in a lifetime trip. Who refunds their money now?
During this entire week I saw runners stepping up and posting information on how to volunteer and donate funds while they were in New York. I also spoke with several European runners at the marathon expo asking what they could do to help.
This wonderful community that I am a part of is now organizing ways to continue to help by auctioning off their marathon shirts, donating items they bought at the expo, and organizing trips to Staten Island on Sunday.
We didn’t need to be bullied or threatened to do this, we would have done it anyway.