NYC marathon off amid storm cleanup

Published Saturday, 03 November 2012
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Runners from Northern Ireland who were due to take part in the New York marathon have spoken of their disappointment after it was cancelled at the last minute.

NYC marathon off amid storm cleanup
Water reaches the street level of the flooded Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. (© PA)

It was thought the event would go ahead on Saturday, despite parts of the route being badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

Portstewart runner Olivia O'Kane was due to take part.

Speaking to UTV from the US, she said: "A lot of people flew in at 1pm yesterday afternoon and a lot of people were coming in last night and there's hundreds of people that came from Northern Ireland and from Ireland to run it and they could have been told before Friday.

"The general consensus at the minute is that people are a bit annoyed that they came here to run the marathon.

"They feel that they could have been told before they arrived."

Before the last minute change of plans, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced the event was going to go ahead and be dedicated to the victims of the massive storm which battered the east coast of America earlier this week.

However residents were unhappy, fearing vital police and cleanup resources would be diverted away from the crisis in order to organise the marathon.

Ms O'Kane said she understands why the final decision was made but felt it could have been made sooner, before competitors flew out.

She said: "It's very disappointing because of the training and the time you put into it but at the same time, when we arrived in the city and seeing the state it is in it is totally appropriate.

"I suppose as one newspaper said in the US today Mayor Bloomberg said the city has to go on and wanted the marathon to go on but the people of New York didn't want it."

Over 47,000 people were due at the start line at Staten Island for the race which is watched by millions of spectators lining along the route - and which last year brought around $350m into New York's economy.

A linked event, a 5k dash to the finish line through Midtown, is also cancelled.

The mayor's office tweeted on Friday night: "We have decided to cancel the NYC marathon. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in days ahead for participants."

© UTV News
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