This post was supposed to be about how Paul finished his first New York City Marathon. Instead, it's about how the race was cancelled some 36 hours before it was set to begin.
Paul heard the news late Friday afternoon, soon after he picked up his racing number and packet at the convention center in Manhattan
I understand why the race was called off. Resources are needed elsewhere after Hurricane Sandy, and a marathon at this point could look frivolous. However, I'm still sad that Paul's dream of running the New York City Marathon will be put off once again -- he was denied entry the last three years and only finally got in this year.
I'm sad, but I'm also relieved for Paul's sake. There was a lot of anger from some residents when the city and the running association said the race would continue as planned. There were even reports of people planning to throw eggs and batteries at the runners.
The vitriol is still high, and from runners, too. While runners entered in this year's race will get an automatic berth in next year's marathon, it appears that they will have to pay the $200+ entry fee all over again -- this year's entry fee may not be returned. And when many, many runners have said that they would like a refund, they're told by other runners that they're being selfish in the wake of so much devastation.
Personally, I wish the race would have been postponed instead of cancelled. Or cancelled days -- not hours -- before the marathon was to begin.
More than 40,000 runners were scheduled to run the marathon, many traveling from around the world and spending thousands of dollars to accomplish their goal. Of course I'm sorry for the havoc Hurricane Sandy wreaked on New York City, but allow me a little corner of sadness for the athletes who have trained so hard and so long and come so far to see the marathon taken away so close to the starting line.
Postscript: Paul and his running friends in one day raised more than $1,700 that will go to Brooklyn neighborhoods impacted by the storm. Then, on Sunday morning they ran 18 miles to one of the hardest hit communities in Queens, carrying supplies on their backs. However, at times they still got jeered by onlookers who assumed they were on a pleasure run.
In addition, one of Paul's tweets about his anger and disappointment over the marathon being cancelled was included in a BuzzFeed article that listed 15 tweets from runners after the announcement.
The comments about these runners being selfish and whiny made me very upset. Why isn't it OK to feel angry and disappointed about not running a race you've looked forward to for years? It certainly doesn't mean you care any less for those affected by the hurricane. I think Paul proved that Sunday morning.