In every way today was a sad day in NY.  The drama that’s been unfolding there finally came to a dramatic conclusion with the announcement by Mayor Bloomberg that tomorrow’s scheduled marathon there was being canceled. 

The sadness begins with the victims of the hurricane – sadness for the people who have suffered and will continue to suffer for says and weeks to come.  It was sad for the thousands of runners who had trained diligently for months to prepare for this event, and who came to NYC with personal stories of sacrifices made and challenges overcome.  It was sad for the economy of New York, which will now lose some 200-300 million dollars of business that the marathon had generated.  And it was also a sad day for the spirit of the marathon. It should never have come to this.

The marathon has always seemed to me to be a healing event.  When a people are challenged by tragedy – like the residents of Beirut who sufferd a political assassination of a popular civil servant days before their scheduled race, to the devastated residents of Washington DC, who were reeling from the events of September 11, 2001 – a marathon pulls people together and infuses them with hope.  A marathon represents not just the individual stories of those who participate, but also the culture of the community that supports it.  It is a communal coming together for the purpose of declaring that we are stronger than we thought we were; that together we can create something that celebrates life and the fortitude of our species.

Nowhere was this more true over the years than in New York.  Despite ethnic, political, and economic diversity that oftern seems to leave the city on the brink of chaos, the NYC Marathon always seemed to pull everyone together.  It was a public expression of joy that everyone could support.  Until now.  Over the past few days I’ve witnessed something I never thought I’d see: a public outpouring of anger at both the organization that would continue to plan for a marathon in the midst of a natural disaster, as well as anger directed at the individual runners who planned to race in NY.  Instead of symbolizing fortitude and determinaton, runners now came to represent epic selfishness and thoughtlessness.

The 2012 NYC Marathon has now been canceled.  But more than a race has been lost this season; we have lost a bit of the innocence that once graced our sport.  I fear marathoning might never be quite the same.


About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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  1. slowsammy says:

    How dare you, Homeless asked to leave hotels to give the room to a Marathon runner. A sad day in deed for the victims of the storm, not for runners. There are other Marathons I am surprise NY Road Runners have not made the decision on there own to cancel it out of compassion. Shame on all of you thoughtless people. This angers me I will boycott this marathon until I hear a positive note,as These race organizers help the folks effected by the storm.

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

    Smart Marath

    • horowitzrun says:

      I hope I was not unclear – I agree with you. I am sad for everyone who suffered from the storm, and sad that race organizers lost their perspective. When a marathon is no longer a symbol of hope, but instead becomes a frivolous distraction, and waste of precious resources it is not the event I had always loved. Thanks for your note.

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