Editor’s Note: WTOP’s Paula Wolfson chronicled her quest for a Marine Corps Marathon finisher’s medal in her “On the Run” blog. She now turns her attention to the athletic pursuits of others and the challenge of mixing family, work and fitness in our busy lives “on the run.”
WASHINGTON – The New York City Marathon is one of the biggies – 48,000 runners and a cast of thousands working behind the scenes to clear their way through the five boroughs.
But this year, marathoners will be taking to the streets of a city still reeling from superstorm Sandy, and many are weighing the pros and cons of running in a disaster zone.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and race organizers say the event is good to go, but some local runners are having doubts.
Marathoner Daryle Lademan, of Arlington, Va., has already dropped out.
Now, Lademan is no ordinary runner. She has competed as an amateur across the country, while holding down a high-powered job, by the way. Her times are terrific. She has qualified for the Boston Marathon, and she loves to run in New York.
“It is a huge event,” Lademan says. ” It is a bucket list for a lot of people, and it certainly is – apart from Boston – the holy grail for recreational marathon runners.”
But she won’t be running it this year.
“I can’t in good conscience see myself traveling to a race to further burden a system right now when there are so many people in dire straits in that city,” she says.
For those who have never experienced it, there is just one word to describe the New York City Marathon: huge. Lademan likens it to a big military operation that takes a massive toll on the city’s first responders and infrastructure.
The mayor says the marathon won’t divert resources from the victims of superstorm Sandy, but Lademan and others like her aren’t so sure. At any rate, she says, the devastation has been so vast, the city needs to catch its breath.
She says she weighed all the arguments before she made her decision, noting that the marathoners were projected to spend $350 million in New York this weekend. But she says morally, she just couldn’t hit the asphalt in the Big Apple. Not now.