NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg says resources won't be diverted from those in need – but the debate intensifies
Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty

You don’t have to turn on the news for long to see New Yorkers who are still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Staten Island residents made tearful pleas on camera this morning, describing how the lives of elderly people in the much-devastated borough are in danger without help. In Queens, at least 80 homes were burned to the ground. Much of lower Manhattan is still under water and without power.

The New York City marathon, a race that takes thousands of runners through all five boroughs beginning with the hard-hit Staten Island, is still scheduled to go on this weekend. But not that everyone is pleased with that decision.

Penny Krakoff, a Brooklyn resident who is entered in the marathon, tells that she doesn’t feel good about hitting the starting line, and thinks the race should be postponed.

Instead, she’s hoping to gather a group of participants to volunteer on Staten Island Sunday.

“I cannot start a 26.2 mile run in Staten Island – people are missing, stranded, in need of resources Sunday morning I will catch the marathon bus to Staten Island. Not planning to run,” writes Krakoff. “Plan to volunteer instead and gather resources (extra clothes, bottles of water, food from runners at the start). Let’s not waste resources and attention on a foot race. Who is with me?”

No word yet on if other runners have joined her (Gothamist promises to update), but a group of Marathon runners on Facebook has announced that they will depart from the race to help.

“Runners will show up at the starting line, but will break off en masse at different points of the city to deliver supplies to places hardest hit and without power,” it says on the Facebook page. “This will mean departing from the race, to head to various buildings, running up and down stairs delivering water and canned goods, etc.”

As for the resources being delegated to the race, reports that “Last year, 8,000 people volunteered as part of the marathon, 4,500 pounds of pasta were served at the pre-race pasta dinner, 32,040 gallons of Gatorade were handed out, and 62,370 gallons of Poland Spring Water was made available to runners who splashed it on their faces while throwing 2.3 million cups on the ground.”

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has maintained that running the marathon will not divert resources. On Thursday, he said that “electricity was expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up ‘an enormous number of police,’ ” reports. “This city is a city where we have to go on,” he said.

“The marathon brings an estimated $340 million into the city, and race organizers say some of it will be used for recovery efforts,” the Post reports. “New York Road Runners, which operates the event, will donate $1 million to the fund and said more than $1.5 million in pledges already had been secured from sponsors.”

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