From Deborah Feyerick, CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) — The New York City Marathon — scheduled for Sunday — was canceled Friday due to lingering effects from Superstorm Sandy, the city’s mayor said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg had said earlier in the week the race would go on — despite transportation, power and other issues — contending, among other things, that businesses could use the economic boost the event provides.
But on Friday, he issued a statement saying city officials and race organizers decided to cancel the race because they did “not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants.”
“While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” Bloomberg 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.”
Officials had been in meetings over the course of the day to decide if the race would go on in the midst of storm recovery efforts, according to a city official who declined to be named.
The 26.2-mile course typically winds across New York’s five boroughs, but does not include lower Manhattan, where heavy flooding left many neighborhoods in the dark.
The race had been scheduled to begin Sunday morning on Staten Island, where runners would have crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn and run through Queens before crossing the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan and the Bronx.
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