Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving Forward After Marathon Cancellation

The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. 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. 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 help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. The Expo will remain open tomorrow.

Above is the statement on the NYRR site. Mixed feelings here after the demise of the 2012 NYC Marathon, though I think they made the right decision in the end.  Not going to rehash the reasons to do so pro/con, though if you want a sampling, head to the NYRR Facebook page.  I will say that at work today (involving non-runners and casual runners), the majority opinion was that the race shouldn't be held this weekend. A lot of potential tipping points - the coverage of the Staten Island children who died? New York Post coverage (hugely against the race).  Who knows.

So what's next?  Going to be interesting. Much of the revenue and expenses NYRR has involving the race are so-called sunk costs. Money has been spent by runners to get here, pay NYRR; in turn, NYRR has shelled out a fair amount in race preparation.  While I'm sure there's insurance involved in the event of some calamity such as this, I wonder how much it will cover.  I also wonder what this means for the 2013 local races put on by NYRR - will there be any change in cost?  What about the national TV contract?

As much as I think some runners are disappointed and frustrated from the decision, others are fine with it. A number of my friends and colleagues were conflicted by the race, whether they were planning to run or volunteering.  I have no direct skin in this game, though was facing potentially similar issues earlier this year with Boston with the heat - do they cancel? Should I defer?

One suggestion for NYRR as they deal with the fallout (because there will be significant from both sides - the ones who wanted the race to be run, the ones who didn't and wondered why it took so long): Be open and honest with your thought process, and discuss how the organization wants to move forward.  There are huge schisms in the New York running community when it comes to NYRR and its focus, whether it should be local or national.  

Today's process was a bit ugly, but it also can be used to help move things ahead.  We run. We discuss. We debate. We forgive. We heal.  How?

We run.


Chicken Underwear said...

We run

Anonymous said...

I especially like the last paragraph... thank you for
helping me understand this
Marathon Cancellation.