Lost Weekend for Local NYC Marathon Runner

Thousands of runners found out Friday there would be no NYC Marathon

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to cancel the New York City Marathon was hard to fault, but some runners wish he'd made it sooner. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2012

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that Sunday's New York Marathon would be canceled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy came a little late for Alhambra runner Janice Bessler.

    Like thousands of other hopefuls, she knew the marathon might not take place, but she flew out anyway - just to be ready.

    "The day we flew out, we were not sure we wanted to be here," she said.

    But if the Marathon was going to happen, Bessler said she wanted to be part of it. Over the years, the event has become a five-borough celebration, and with a field of 40,000, it's also a boon for the New York economy.

    Not far from where the marathon was to have started Sunday, on Staten Island, the superstorm that hit earlier in the week had claimed 20 lives, and left thousands of people still without power, heat or homes. Holding the marathon didn't sound like a good idea to many of them.

    After all, relief efforts were still kicking in, and there were long lines at the few service stations open, underscoring a regional gasoline crisis.

    With transportation yet to recover, the marathon would have closed roads and bridges. Bloomberg envisioned the marathon as a tribute to New York's resilience, but many people saw it as an annoying  diversion.

    "I can understand the anger," said Bessler. "It's just a race."

    What some of the marathon visitors have found harder to understand is why the mayor waited until Friday  to call it off.

    Bessler happened to be at the race expo when the decision came down.

    "I could see people crying," she said. "But I understand why the race was canceled."

    Frustration seemed to be the common theme for those for and against running the race. For everyone in the area, it was not the weekend they had anticipated.