Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Debate Hasn't Run Its Course

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Debate Hasn't Run Its Course

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - While the debate continued to rage Thursday over whether holding the New York City Marathon in the wake of the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy is prudent, preparations were in full swing to get the course ready for the event to go off as scheduled Sunday morning.

Although Central Park remained closed to the public, New York Road Runners workers were busy in the park erecting the finish line area and grandstands for spectators. New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg said a revised plan for transporting runners to the start on Staten Island will be announced today.

Wittenberg said that plan will utilize, at the city's request, the Staten Island Ferry and private resources toward buses that will carry runners from Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey and Long Island in addition to Manhattan. In past years, most of the runners had to travel to Manhattan first to be transported to the start.

"The city very much wants the Staten Island Ferry in the plan," Wittenberg said. "It will be a different plan than the plan we had last week, but it's a plan that will mix private resources and the Staten Island Ferry."

Wittenberg said the 26.2 mile course "is in good shape" and will not be changed.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg again defended the decision to go ahead with the race, saying it won't divert city resources needed to help Sandy's many victims in the five boroughs.

The mayor said during his daily news briefing that electricity is expected to be restored in downtown Manhattan by Sunday, which would free up an "enormous number of police."

"Police are there to keep the peace, if you will, and they really aren't going to be involved in the massive cleanup," Bloomberg said. "That's the sanitation department, fire department."

Wittenberg said the organization will be utilizing more private contractors to alleviate the strain on the city's workers, but questions and criticism for the event continued.

"I just assumed it was canceled," Staten Island Borough president James Molinaro told the Staten Island Advance. "My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster. If they want to race, let them race with themselves. …

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