The New York City Marathon will be run as scheduled Nov. 4 after city and race officials determined it would be safe to hold the 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) event as the area recovers from Hurricane Sandy.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference yesterday that the race is an important part of the city’s economy.
“The bottom line is, some people said you shouldn’t run the marathon,” he said. “There are an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people.”
Bloomberg said he might ask race officials to put a time limit on “stragglers” in order to ensure their safety.
The race is expected to attract about 47,000 runners this year, including about 20,000 international participants. New York Road Runners officials said race registration hours will be extended to accommodate late arrivals.
Those who aren’t able to make it to the race will receive automatic entry next year. No refunds will be given and the 2013 entry fee must be paid. This year’s race cost $255 for U.S. residents and $347 for international runners.
“There are tens of thousands of people who come from around the world here to run,” Bloomberg told reporters. “We’ve decided that the marathon will go on. We suspect by Sunday most of the power will be back, if not all of it.”
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
While some runners and New York-area residents have questioned the decision to hold the race, 2009 winner Meb Keflezighi said he supports the mayor.
“It will be something positive,” Keflezighi, 37, said in a media conference call. “The city has a lot of flooding, and to see people run through it is the complete opposite. We’ll give them a good show.”
Amy Hastings, the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon runner-up, drove to New York from Providence, Rhode Island, and said she’s eager to run and motivate the city’s residents.
“This is going to be a great event,” Hastings, a 28-year-old Kansas native, said in a news conference. “The storm was an incredible force of nature, and if any city can pick up from it and keep going, it’s New York.”
For the first time, the race will be carried on ESPN2, which reaches almost every U.S. household with cable or satellite television, and on ABC’s affiliate in the New York area as part of a five-year accord with the Walt Disney Co.- owned networks. New York is one of the five World Marathon Majors along with Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin.
Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, which organizes the annual race through the city’s five boroughs, said yesterday that the group is working with city officials to determine if changes need to be made to the course to avoid areas hit by the storm.
“We remain very much in assessment mode,” she said. “I can certainly say New York Road Runners’ efforts are well under way in several areas to maybe modify as may be needed.”
The 900-mile-wide (1,500-kilometer-wide) storm produced life-threatening surges in a region with 60 million residents and caused what may add up to billions of dollars of damage.