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Bloomberg faces outcry over Sunday's NYC Marathon

Associated Press Modified: November 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012
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"It's hard in these moments to know what's best to do," NYRR president Mary Wittenberg said. "The city believes this is best to do right now."

The course runs from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on hard-hit Staten Island to Central Park, sending runners through all five boroughs. The course will not be changed, since there was little damage along the route.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police officers will not be taken off storm-recovery duty to work the marathon. He said the estimated 2,000 officers on the marathon route come in on their days off, on overtime, while those on storm duty work extended shifts on their regular work days.

Michael Sofronas of Manhattan used to run the marathon and has been a race volunteer for four years, serving as an interpreter for foreign runners. But he said he won't volunteer this year.

"I'm also really very aghast at the fact that we've just gone through the Sandy hurricane and I believe that the people should not be diverted to the marathon. They should focus on the people in need," he said. "It's all about money, money from everybody. The sponsors, the runners."

A Swede who arrived in New York this week to run in the marathon sided with the mayor.

"It doesn't feel good, coming to New York," Maria Eriksson said. "But the marathon has been planned for such a long time. And besides, it brings so much money to the city. That should help. What help would it be to cancel?"

Other runners were torn.

Olivia Waldman, who lives on the Upper East Side, said: "I want to be a part of this marathon and I also want to be a part of the hurricane relief. I'm trying to help where I can, and the marathon is going on, so we have to help in making that go forward."

But John Esposito, a Staten Islander helping his elderly parents clean out their flooded home, said: "They brought giant generators to power the marathon tents while we've got thousands of people without power. ... How about putting one of these generators here? Have some compassion."

Adam Shanker of Short Hills, N.J., said he moved his family from his dark and cold house to a Manhattan hotel, only to learn they were being kicked out Friday to make room for someone with reservations for the marathon.

"I hate Mayor Bloomberg," he said. "It is absolutely retarded to have a marathon starting, especially in Staten Island, where people just lost everything in the world. And they're going to have these people run through our streets like celebrating some kind of run, which I think is great, but not now. ... And now people who can't even get rooms are getting kicked out of the only rooms they have because these people have rooms. And, you know, what is he thinking?"