How #Twitter Cancelled the NYC Marathon

It might sound ridiculous; but at the heart of it, it’s true.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the devastation that so severely hit New Jersey and New York, Mayor Bloomberg made the, albeit tentative, decision that the 2012 ING New York City Marathon would go on. He, along with New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg, issued a joint statement that held that the marathon would not take away significant manpower from the recovery process and acknowledged the event as “a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this city.”

True as that might be – the race has been held annually since 1970, even in 2001 just two months after 9/11 – it was the opinion of the majority, at least of those who voice their opinions publicly, that holding the marathon, just days after what can only be described as a disaster, would be a travesty.

The outcry was instant, and it was loud. Many called for runners to turn around, walk away, and aid in the recovery process when the starting gun fired. Others rightfully, but perhaps less dramatically, questioned how the government could justify sacrificing any amount of manpower when residents of Staten Island were facing life or death situations, when all of Manhattan was struggling to get back on its feet, when there was a soon-to-be gas shortage and still millions without power.

In this day and age, to ignore all of that is a lofty task. Tweets from “average Americans” and members of the media alike make their way into the mainstream, #topics go viral in a matter of minutes, and the chorus swells louder than it could ever have before. Mayor Bloomberg had to acknowledge the majority, admit that his decision just might have been a rush to judgment, and ultimately do the right thing by postponing the marathon.

Simply put, it’s just about impossible to justify holding a major, major event — essentially, the same as a parade — just 2.7 miles away from this:

I’m sorry Sandy messed up your training schedule, marathoners, but I’m pretty sure the manpower can be put to better use.


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