NEW YORK (PIX11)—The New York City Marathon has been canceled, following a flood of criticism against Mayor Bloomberg and marathon officials who had planned to hold it in wake of Hurricane Sandy aftermath.
The announcement came in Friday afternoon as a result of a meeting with city officials, PIX 11 News has learned.
"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division."
"The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."
"We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event even one as meaningful as this to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead for participants."
Hours earlier, Bloomberg appeared to be resistant on postponing the annual premier distance-running event, insisting that it was not going to interfere with ongoing aid to storm victims.
"We have to have a city going forward," Bloomberg said. "There are New Yorkers who have lost loved ones and nothing will replace that. People have lost their homes and we have to make sure that we do everything we can to help them recover. ... and I assure you we are doing that."
"If I thought it took any resources away from that, we would not do [the marathon]."
The mayor even claimed to have received counsel from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani over the decision.
"[Rudy Giuliani] said to me this morning, 'You know right after 9/11 people said the same exact thing,'" he said. "New York has to show that we are here and that we are going to recover," Bloomberg continued, insinuating that New York is more of an ongoing non-stop business with priorities.
"While we help people, we still help companies that need the business, still generate a tax base so that we can still have resources to help people."
"I think Rudy had it right, you have to keep going and doing things," he said. "You can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time. That's what human beings are good at."
While acknowledging the mass death and growing number of missing residents in wake of the storm, Bloomberg had insisted that holding the marathon wasn't something insensitive but rather something New Yorkers can celebrate over.
"[We need to] give people something to cheer about in what's been a very dismal week."
Critics maintained that the city's reasoning was not substantial considering the devastation surrounding the race route, namely Staten Island where the race commences. At least 20 people have been confirmed dead in the borough, and many remain missing. Staten Island accounts for half of the fatalities in the region.