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NYC Marathon canceled — Was this the right decision? (Poll)

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New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg holds a news conference to announce the cancellation of the 43rd New York Marathon in New York on Nov. 2, 2012. Organizers, police and even athletes called Friday's cancelation of the New York Marathon the correct decision in the wake of the devastation caused by killer superstorm Sandy.

New York And New Jersey Continue To Recover From Superstorm Sandy

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Marathon runner Brighid Lane sits with luggage as she waits to enter the East Village apartment she was set to stay in for the NYC Marathon weekend on Nov. 2, 2012 in New York City.

East Coast Begins To Clean Up And Assess Damage From Hurricane Sandy

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Workers clear a downed tree blocking East 96th street in Central Park the morning after Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012 in New York City.


The New York City Marathon has been canceled, though reports indicate it may be rescheduled for a later date.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the announcement.

The announcement came as power came back on in many parts of lower Manhattan. This follows public pressure to cancel the event and mounting criticism that it was scheduled to go on.

The marathon has been held every year since 1970 — including in 2001, two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

With people in storm-ravaged areas still shivering without electricity and the death toll in New York City at more than 40, many New Yorkers recoiled at the prospect of police officers being assigned to protect a marathon on Sunday.

Over 47,000 runners were scheduled to participate in the marathon. Nearly 40,000 of the runners were already in the city when the announcement was made, Road Runners chairman George Hirsch said, the New York Times reports.

"This isn’t the year or the time to run it. It’s crushing and really difficult. One of the toughest decisions we ever made," marathon director Mary Wittenberg said, the Times reports.

KPCC's Sharon McNary, a runner herself, was scheduled to participate in what would have been her 100th marathon as a pace setter for other runners.

There were moral questions among runners if it was OK to go on with the marathon when there were families that still hadn't buried their dead and the National Guard was being sent to help the city dig out following Sandy. There was also an increasingly negative and hostile tone toward the runners on social media.

Runners were made the decision wasn't made earlier, leaving some in the lurch after making big expenditures on travel. One man who flew in for the marathon from Mexico said that his trip cost him $2,500.

Danna Chapman, who flew in from Texas on Friday, was there to celebrate her 50th birthday and remission from breast cancer after raising $3,000.

There had been doubt about whether the marathon would go on earlier in the week, but the organization behind the marathon and Mayor Bloomberg had said that it would.

"People run with their heart, and brain, and legs, and money," McNary said.

Some runners are looking at doing volunteer work in the city now that the marathon has been canceled.

Mike Roe and Sharon McNary with Shirley Jahad and AP

Earlier:

Hurricane Sandy has disrupted life in New York, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg and organizers of the New York City Marathon have decided that Sunday's race will go on. That decision has generated controversy in that city and among Southern California runners.

Heather Shenkman is an Encino cardiologist who was thrilled to score a marathon entry this year. It's one of the toughest tickets in road racing -- people apply via lottery year after year hoping to score a racer's bib.

"This was  a no-brainer," Shenkman said. "I've wanted to do this race for years. I was so excited when I found out I got in, and as long as the race is going to be held, I'm going to find some way to get there."

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She considered her participation as a way to support the city’s economy. But that was BEFORE she realized that her hotel had no heat - and that she’d have to find another hotel and alternate transportation to the race. Heather Shankman’s decided to cancel her trip. She’ll run the Santa Clarita Marathon this weekend.

New York City Marathon crowds are famous for their size and enthusiasm.

But this weekend, will people welcome this five-borough parade  and the diversion of police and fire services, ambulances and volunteers when there’s still a lot of cleaning up to do? 

John Flynn is a documentary filmmaker from Culver City who was planning to celebrate his 50th birthday by running the marathon. Drawing on his experiences helping out after some of California's earthquakes, floods and fires, he's decided to stay home. (Story continues below the poll.)

"Throwing an event like the marathon in there, I think would cheer people up but at the same time it's going to be a drain on the city resources, and I'd far rather help from afar, send them a check through the Red Cross or some other organization," he said.

Instead he's going to spend the day with friends, running and walking the length of Sunset Boulevard from the Westside to Downtown L.A. That's about 25 miles, and with the walk from his Expo line train station to his Culver City home, he'll register about 26.2 miles for the day.

Cody Westheimer, a music composer and Los Angeles endurance athlete, had planned to be in New York for business and the race. But when his meetings fell through, he questioned whether he should also cancel the race.

"I decided I just couldn't go run a recreational event in a disaster area. Staten Island looks horrible. While I am pretty devastated that I won't be running NYC this year I think of all the people who are still without water and power and the cleanup and recovery efforts. I just feel like any Marathon efforts and resources should be aimed towards getting the city back."

Marathon organizers are offering guaranteed entry into next year's race to runners who cannot get to the city or who prefer not to deal with post-disaster New York. Refunds? Fuhggedaboutit!

Full disclosure: Sharon McNary will be running the marathon Sunday. She is a volunteer who is part of the official pace team of runners  who help other runners hit their time goals. It'll be  her 100th marathon.

This story has been updated.

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