Mayor Bloomberg: New York Marathon 'will go on'

Bruce Bennett

The 2012 New York City Marathon "will go on" as scheduled on Sunday, as officially announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday afternoon.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that the 2012 New York City Marathon will go on as scheduled on Sunday.

"There are an awful lot of small businesses the depend on the New York City Marathon. It's a great event for New York," said Bloomberg, who has been a proponent of not canceling the race, in large part due to the economy boost it gives the city.

The decision whether or not to hold the marathon was "entirely" up to the Mayor's office, according to race director Mary Wittenberg, who went on to say that it's more than just a race.

"I've always said the marathon is much more than a race - and once again it has never seemed more true than this year as was the case after 9/11. Our focus is to deliver an event that can aid in New York's recovery. We once again want to tell the world as the mayor would say 'New York City is open for business.'"

Wittenberg, President of the New York Road Runners, added that the race will "use more private contractors than past years to reduce the strain on city services."

The decision comes after many were calling for the marathon to be canceled, led by a vocal and angry opponent, Borough President Jim Molinaro, who said that holding the race would be "crazy, asinine."

"I just assumed it was canceled," said Molinaro. "My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster. If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon."

While the the question of whether or not the marathon will be run has been answered, what remains to be seen is how athletes will get to the start line Sunday morning. The race begins on Staten Island, with nearly half of the runners taking the Staten Island Ferry from lower Manhattan. But the Subway is not running in lower Manhattan, and it doesn't seem likely that it will be up and running by Sunday. Many other runners utilize buses that take the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, but that is currently flooded.

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