Archive for Friday, November 2, 2012

Lawrence runners surprised, disappointed by New York City Marathon cancellation

A man leaves the media center for the New York City Marathon in New York's Central Park, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled the race Friday amid criticism stemming from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

A man leaves the media center for the New York City Marathon in New York's Central Park, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled the race Friday amid criticism stemming from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

November 2, 2012, 6:18 p.m. Updated November 3, 2012, 3:12 p.m.


Lawrence residents J. Jenkins and Grant Catloth were confident they’d be able to lace up their sneakers and run the New York City Marathon when they left Kansas City Thursday.

But Friday’s announcement that the marathon was canceled, less than two days before more than 40,000 people would participate in the 26.2-mile run, left the pair without a plan.

“It seemed like there was no way they were going to cancel it,” said Catloth, 24. “I never had any doubt in my mind.”

But New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the decision to cancel the race amid stretched police resources and a growing public outcry against the marathon, which was scheduled to start in Staten Island, one of the boroughs hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

"It is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," Bloomberg said in a statement. "The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination.”

But, he said, “We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."

Jenkins, 40, said he was surprised and disappointed to hear the marathon was canceled.

“We wondered if the marathon would go forward, and we thought we received a definite ‘yes’ to that question,” said Jenkins, a manager at Gary Gribble’s Running Sports, 839 Massachusetts St. “The thing that disappoints me is that the decision could have been made sooner.”

Catloth, who works with Jenkins at Gary Gribble’s, said he felt Bloomberg’s last-minute decision was insensitive to runners who spent thousands of dollars — Jenkins estimated the trip cost more than $3,600 for him and his partner — and took time off work to come to New York.

“Runners are not exactly the type to hold down those $100,000 jobs,” Catloth said. “We planned for this thing financially and physically for half a year. All of a sudden, it’s gone.”

But both men said they knew parts of the city were in bad shape.

"As we were riding in from the airport, we passed lines blocks long of people holding gas cans to fill up," Jenkins said.

Friday evening, marathon organizers said runners would be able to get refunds on their entry fees.

Catloth ran his first marathon last year in Chicago, and said he hoped to use the New York run as a springboard to complete the five major marathons — including Berlin, London and Boston — in five years. Jenkins said he has run marathons in Chicago and Eugene, Ore., and was looking forward to participating in what is arguably the world’s foremost marathon.

Jenkins said New Yorkers he talked to were split on whether to hold the race, saying the city was “really divided.”

“We’d run in to some people who would be excited for us and wish us well,” he said. “Invariably, there would be someone next to them who either very openly or perhaps a little more subtly would say the race shouldn’t go on.”

With a free weekend in New York, Jenkins said he hoped he and Catloth could jog through Central Park.

“I imagine we will go for a run. We need to keep training, because there’s always another race on the horizon,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

Cancellation was the only decent option.

eotw33 5 years, 5 months ago

Cancelling the run is insensitive? At least I know where not to shop for running shoes. A lot more than two people lost a lot more than $3600.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

Reading comprehension is really important. He didn't say canceling the race was insensitive, he said the last minute decision was insensitive.

People travel from all around the country and the world to participate in the race. So yes, it was very poor on the part of the race organizers to wait until the last minute.

ksjayhawk74 5 years, 5 months ago

Bloomberg should have canceled the marathon on Tuesday. The huge problem with it for many people was that the race was going to be dedicating police, generators, water and other supplies for the race... at the same time there are people in the area who actually need those resources.

kufan1146 5 years, 5 months ago

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gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Several of you need to re-read the story. They're not insensitive to the plight of those in the path of the storm, they're just surprised that Bloomberg waited until the last minute to cancel. It would have been far better to cancel it earlier, before a bunch of folks showed up and before resources started being deployed for the race.

brewmaster 5 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Catloth is upset because the "run" as he says is "all of a sudden, it's gone." Since he evidently consider his "run" to be more important then thousands of people losing their homes, their businesses, their lives!!! then it's appropriate for my patronage of his store to be all of a sudden gone, too.

Pete_Schweti 5 years, 5 months ago

I seriously doubt any of the reading comprehension-challenged commenters on here with a chip on their shoulder toward these people have ever set foot in a Gary Gribble's. The race should have been canceled on Tuesday. That's all anyone is saying.

Jayhawks64 5 years, 5 months ago

I've been in gg's. if you can afford gg's prices, you can afford the cancellation. Seeing the devastation to the area, people so smart to shop at gg's should be smart enough to not be surprised by the cancellation.

James Minor 5 years, 5 months ago

Those insensitive New Yorkers!!! Runners planned and trained all year for this race and it was cancelled at the last minute??? What possibly could have happened that is more important than me setting my personal best in my new running shoes? I am going to write a stern letter to the NY mayor asking him what were the reasons for the cancellation!!!

riverdrifter 5 years, 5 months ago

Still, it brings many people to town and fuel is hard to come by right now. I never ran in it but have been there for it. I understand the decision. It's a mass of people they do not need right now. Good news is coming in though.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"When you have the old, disabled, etc., starving in the dark with no toilets,"

Why do starving people need toilets?

Regardless, sounds exactly like the future that RyanRomney have in mind. (In their minds, global warming, sea-level rise and monster hurricanes must just be ways to cull the riff-raff of the human race.)

RunningJay 5 years, 5 months ago

As someone who was also supposed to be running the NYC Marathon this weekend, I was pleased to hear the race canceled for this year. It should have been canceled as soon as the city was declared a Federal Disaster Area. These runners made the choice to go when they also had the option, as runners do every year, to defer their entries to the next year's race and lose this year's entry fee. This is what I and other runners did before the marathon was canceled. I really don't see how the race could have gone on especially when there is so much death and damage. Just the other day the bodies of two siblings (ages 2 and 4) were just found on Staten Island close to the starting line. Put this in prospective with something we live with in Kansas. Think if there was a marathon in Greensburg, KS days after the F5 tornado destroyed most of the town. Food and water is brought into town but the people of the Greensburg aren't allowed to have it, only the runners are. That is what was happening in New York before the marathon was canceled. I hope since Jay and Grant (and other runners who made the trip) are in New York they will spend their time volunteering.

riverdrifter 5 years, 5 months ago

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Mike Willoughby 5 years, 5 months ago

I am in NYC with J., Grant and Grant's wife. We are only saying that we wouldn't have made the trip if Bloomberg and race organizers hadn't of been saying it's definitely going on, all week long. We all of course feel terrible for those who've lost and suffered due to the storm but the powers that be we're telling us (and 47,000 other entrants plus their family and friends) to go ahead and come to new york cause "the race will definitely go forward."

Hundreds of thousands attended today's race expo where runners pick up their packets with friends and family in tow. Then these throngs of people leave the expo and funnel out into the city spending their tourism dollars and enjoying the city. This was what was disappointing. We came here because we wanted to celebrate the greatest marathon in the most amazing city in the world. We were excited for it and even after we were all sure it was going to be cancelled they told us no, it's still on. We thought it would help the city rally around a unifying event that could symbolize endurance, perseverance, and fortitude. We care about these people and this city. If Bloomberg had canceled last tues or even wed we would have cancelled the trip and stayed in Lawrence. No one is bitter. No one is angry. We just wish we were told before we came is all. None of the athletes we've met today after the news has at all been complaining about it. They all say the same thing. We wish that organizers could have made a decision to cancel earlier, before everyone arrived in the city on Friday.

We love New York and it was going to be awesome to see this great city in the midst of yet another amazing comeback from terrible tragedy, all from the middle of the streets while wearing an NYCmarathon number.

We'll see you next year New York.

agrabass 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, since all ya'll runners are in training mode, grab a shovel, head to Jersey or Queens and start clearing a path for trucks from the gas/electric companies to move in and restore power/rebuilding to people who have lived 5 days+ in the dark. A work out you will never forget, I am pretty sure. BTW 2/3 of Central Park is closed because of unstable old trees.

PhilChiles 5 years, 5 months ago

They may have considered holding the race, even after a major disaster, because of the economic benefits it would bring to people who probably could use some extra money. I can see why it would have been a hard decision.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

People will look for any reason or target to spew their hate. Think about it, the local runners didn't take to the media to complain. I am sure they were sought out by the media and asked for their thoughts on the cancellation.

Big deal they expressed disappointment over the timing of the cancellation. And who wouldn't be disappointed that you were told that the race would not be cancelled onlyntontravel across the country to learn that they changed their minds.

I don't know these guys but I can understand their disappointment and I don't hate them for it.

funkdog1 5 years, 5 months ago

The race should give people the option to either get a refund or donate their entrance fee to help the people of New York.

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