Wednesday, October 31, 2012

About The Marathon That Almost Was

First and foremost, I must say that our hearts and prayers are with all those affected by mega-hurricane Sandy.   What a terrible, terrible path of destruction she left.  The images and stories are enough to send chills up your spine and enough to leave you speechless, if even for a moment.

As most of you who follow me know, I have been training long and hard for one of my most awaited marathons; the 2012 ING NYC Marathon.  I have run the miles, all the miles preparing myself for this event.  I have counted the days until I could cross this item of my bucket list.

As of today, I have entered 49 races ranging from 5k's to Ironman, and everything in between.  I have started all 49 of them and I have finished all 49 of them.  NYC Marathon was to be #50.

I say "was to be" because due to the events of the past couple of days, and after long thought and consideration with the help of my family, I have come to the sad conclusion that I must defer my entry to next  year's race.

The picture started getting more in focus when we found out that our flight to NYC has been cancelled, and that there's nothing available for us to book at this point and time.

The news also reported that electricity would not be re-stored to parts of Manhattan for 4-5 days.  That would be Saturday or Sunday at best.  Even if we had managed to get to the city, what would we find?  And even if we could get there, how about returning home?  When would we be able to do that?  What about food supplies?  What about transportation?  Still reports of the subway being under water.  Way to many things that could put a damper on what should be a memorable experience.

But the damper on my experience was not what ultimately led me to make this choice.

Recovery from something like this takes a tremendous amount of resources; these need to focused on helping people get back to some sort of normal life. They should not be focused on making sure a visiting marathoner has a good experience.

The logistics of this recovery are a nightmare... Here's what a post on facebook had to say;

"I hate the comparisons to 9/11 as I don't think it's appropriate, and it's been brought up by the media and politicians. I was in NYC for 9/11. This is different in terms of the specific area of impact on logistics - transportation, electricity, water, sewage, cable/internet, cell phone coverage, etc were all running for the rest of Manhattan and the metropolitan area. It is hard time for a lot of my friends in Manhattan and NJ right now, many of which are displaced. They are telling me that I should not come up. They are having a HARD enough time trying to get to work with the amount of street traffic. Subways and other public transport will not be running for a while. No running water or electricity for days. So sewage is also an issue. Lines for groceries, which are emptying shelves. People walking around with flashlights at night, no traffic lights let alone as they climb stairs in darkness to their apartments. Still spotty cell phone coverage because towers were affected. Many hotels are not operating, and many residents are already taking in friends and family. Not much more room for visitors right now...

I don't know that our immediate presence in the next few days would contribute to NYC's economic recovery, but instead perhaps create more inconvenience and distraction for the existing residents. Perhaps we should allow emergency, health and safety services to be devoted resources to recovery, restoration and to those in need. A nice gesture would be for NYRR to donate our non-refundable fees (at least the the non-sunk cost portion), which are currently being spent on clearing Central Park for the race only and installing race signage."

The reports are that the race will still take place.  I'm sure there's plenty of people that'll find a way to get to NY to run the race and I'm sure they'll make the best of it.  Everyone has their priorities and own reasons for doing what they do...

...But for now, I'm doing my small part; albeit a small part, to help in the recovery.... I'm staying the heck out!