This is a guest post written by my sister Stephanie, in response to harsh criticism from many of her close friends and our family. These past few days have been very difficult to process, and Steph has had a particularly hard time with it. I decided to delete my Facebook account because the adult version of cyber bullying has gotten out of hand. In the end, love is louder. As runners we need to move on and continue to be responsible members of society instead of getting sucked in by all of the negativity. I know I will continue to support the American Red Cross and Race To Recover. I hope you all will be inspired to do the same, no matter what your opinion is on this topic.
Obviously, I have my reasons for not wanting this race cancelled. However, it angers me more that many people, who know nothing about the marathon, have decided to place a lot of blame on NYRR, the marathon, and the runners without educating themselves. Have you even looked at the course and where it runs? Are you aware that the people who are working to help with the destruction would not be pulled away (volunteers would replace police, etc.). There were still hotel rooms available in Manhattan (where most racers were staying). Any water or food given to marathoners was bought and paid for by marathoners with their entry fees. They are not being “taken away” from others. It would be nice for 47,000+ runners, their families, and all the volunteers to help out. In addition, it would be nice for NYRR to take runners’ food/water/ resources and distribute them to others. It is not required for everyone to give away their resources to help out others. A lot can be said on this subject. You have fresh water. Should you feel guilty about drinking it? Runners have been made to feel that way. I own a generator. Should I be required to hand it off to someone down there? No, but it would be nice. Just because NYRR rented some (with their own money) doesn’t mean that other organizations couldn’t. In addition, as of Thursday night, NYRR already raised 2.6 million dollars for this cause. I’m not sure of the additional amount that runners have since added, but each runner has been asked to donate at least $26.20 to the fund. There are a lot of organizations up and running, and uptown Manhattan is running as usual right now. Where do you draw the line on what should move on and when it should move on? I don’t hear many people complaining about Broadway being open or the Knicks, Nets, and Giants playing. Why so much coverage of the marathon and not these other organizations?
How many people signing petitions and liking things on Facebook even knew that there was a marathon this weekend? How many learned of the marathon because of the storm? How many people just jumped on the bandwagon and are in an uproar because of misinformation? How many people thought that just because service members were used in the past, and were slated to help out again, would be taken away from their current efforts?
A lot of the things that people are talking about are taking place where the destruction was bad (trust me, we have been watching the news all week and know all about it). But, the race course was not through the destruction. What would cancelling the marathon actually do to better the situation down there? It seems like a case of misery likes company. Recovery would not happen any faster with the marathon cancelled.
Running this race was more of a moral dilemma. We had decided to do it because we had a lot to lose otherwise. I feel really bad for what happened/what is happening in those areas of destruction. But, the reason the race was cancelled was not because the destruction was too bad or because NYRR was diverting resources. The race was cancelled because people who felt the race should not go on were threatening the lives and safety of the runners and the organizers. If I were someone petitioning the marathon, I would not feel very proud of that.
I hope that everyone who felt strongly enough to write about the marathon on social media and everyone who signed a petition doesn’t just quit there. Those people have a moral obligation to donate their time and money, not just the runners.