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Wittenberg said the relief fund announced Thursday had already raised $2.6 million.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — the police department’s largest union — called the decision to cancel the marathon "a wise choice."
ING, the financial company that is the title sponsor of the marathon, said it supported the decision to cancel. The firm’s charitable giving arm has made a $500,000 contribution to help with relief and recovery efforts, and is matching employee donations.
As of now, NYRR is sticking to its policy of no refunds for the runners, but will guarantee entry to next year’s marathon. But Wittenberg said that stance will be reviewed.
Eric Jones said he was part of a group from the Netherlands that collected $1.5 million to donate to a children’s cancer charity if the runners competed.
"We understand, but maybe the decision could have been made earlier, before we traveled this far," said Jones, whose group came to New York a day earlier.
Steve Brune, a Manhattan entrepreneur, was set to run his fourth NYC Marathon.
"I’m disappointed, but I can understand why it’s more important to use our resources for those who have lost a lot," he said.
Brune said he thinks foreign runners who traveled for the race will be even more disappointed.
"When you have a significant amount of people voicing real pain and unhappiness over its running, you have to hear that. You have to take that into consideration," Wolfson said.
"Something that is such a celebration of the best of New York can’t become divisive. That is not good for the city now as we try to complete our recovery effort, and it is not good for the marathon in the long run," he said.
Earlier in the day, race preparations seemed under way as normal.
White tents where the runners would meet were already erected. Plastic crates lined the park’s wall for two blocks, with tangles of electric wires and other setup equipment where workers buzzed around. A few TV news crews set up camp.
Along the race route in Queens, a couple of marathon banners hung from street lamps.
"I’m not a fan of what he’s doing," Manhattan resident Michael Folickman said of Bloomberg’s decision. "I think that if the bridge is cleared and the streets are clear, I don’t think it’ll wreak any more havoc than what’s already been wreaked."
"And I think it could be an uplifting experience for the city to have something exciting like that happen on top of this terrible hurricane," he said.
In Brooklyn, the effects of the storm were more apparent. One gas station had a long line of cars extending down the block. Another had dozens of people standing on the sidewalk, clutching red fuel cans.
In Staten Island, Eddie Kleydman said ruined neighborhoods like his are still waiting for help.
"Look at this," he said, motioning toward the huge piles of discarded furniture and household items that line his street. "Who cares about the marathon? We need garbage trucks, we need FEMA to act quicker. He’s worried about the marathon; I’m worried about getting power.
"So he called it off. He has to come here and help us clean," Kleydman said.
At the midtown New Yorker Hotel, the lobby was filled with anguished runners, some crying and others with puffy eyes. In one corner, a group of Italian runners watched the news with blank looks.Next Page >
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