(NEW YORK) — The decision to stage the annual New York City Marathon in the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged city has drawn objections from critics who say the city is ill-prepared for an event that could hamper recovery efforts.
More than 40,000 runners and millions of onlookers are expected to converge Sunday on the city’s streets, some of which are still damaged from the superstorm that left at least 37 city residents dead.
Despite round-the-clock efforts to bring the city’s power grid back online, hundreds of thousands of city residents are still without power. Mass transit has also been interrupted.
It’s unclear how much of the race’s 26.2-mile course will be back to normal. The race goes through each of the city’s five boroughs.
Critics such as ABC News sports consultant Christine Brennan have questioned why a city crippled by the deadly storm that blasted the nation’s East Coast should spend so much energy on a race instead of a recovery.
“It just seems wrong if one police officer leaves his or her job helping others because of the storm to go work at a road race,” Brennan said.
James Molinaro, the Staten Island borough president, has called the decision to go forward with the marathon “crazy.”
The race begins on Staten Island, which was hard hit by Sandy.
“What we have here is terrible, a disaster,” Molinari told reporters Wednesday. “If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade.”
But New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagrees. Not only is the marathon about symbolism, he has said, it’s also about restarting New York’s small businesses. He says those who died would want that.
“You’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those who have been left behind,” the mayor said at his briefing Wednesday.
Others share Bloomberg’s take, including Molly Pritz of Boulder, Colo., who finished 12th in last year’s marathon as the top U.S. female and traveled to New York again to run in this year’s marathon.
“The New York City Marathon shows off the spirit of the city like no other,” Pritz, 24, told reporters. “I think after tragedies, the best thing we can do is come together and celebrate.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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