Bloomberg says he fought for NY marathon to go on


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C), US Senator Charles Schumer (2nd R) and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (R) view hurricane damage in the Breezy Point area of Queens on October 30, 2012 after fire destroyed about 80 homes.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has revealed he battled hard for the marathon to go ahead because he believed it would have been good for the people and the city.

"I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to be able to take a break and that sort of thing. There are lots of people in this city - some hurt, some not. It's a big part of our economy," Bloomberg told CBS-TV today.

“But it was just becoming so divisive that whether it’s a good idea or not, we just don’t need the distraction.”

But his remarks, which were made during a visit to the borough of Queens, were met with angry jeers from residents who are still struggling without power and adequate shelter.

The mayor also issued an apology to all runners, especially those who had flown in from around the world, including Australia and Europe, for the big event.

"I’m sorry. I fought the battle, and sometimes things don’t work out."

Mayor Bloomberg announced the race would be cancelled on Friday, reversing his stance earlier in the week that the marathon would go ahead. It followed mounting pressure over the best use of resources and concerns runners would face abuse along the course.

The New York Post took credit yesterday for Bloomberg's decision to cancel, saying it had "shamed organizers and the city" into realizing that essential resources that could be used for storm victims, such as generators, were being used for the race.

In an article today, The Post accused "the clueless" marathon organisers, New York Road Runners, of being "cry babies" for sending out an email to the 47,000 participants "blaming the media coverage" for the cancellation.

The email read: “The decision was made after it became increasingly apparent that the people of our city and the surrounding tri-state area were still struggling to recover from the damage wrought by the recent extreme weather conditions,” the letter reads. 

“That struggle, fueled by the resulting extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants, created conditions that raised concern for the safety of both those working to produce the event and its participants.”