Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You shall have a medal...

Photo and medal courtesy of Elizabeth Maiuolo - thanks!!
I was fooling around on Facebook just before going to bed last night when I noticed that a friend had posted a picture of the missing medal of the New York Marathon that never was. When I asked her if it was still possible to get one, she replied that I had 5 minutes to post a picture of my race number - she was in the New York Road Runners headquarters at that precise moment and I believe that today is the last day for being able to pick up your medal. I rushed off a photo using Photo Booth on my mac - which turned out to be in reverse, I was in such a hurry:

I had to wait until I got up this morning to see that she had managed to collect my New York Marathon 2012 "Finishers" Medal! I'll have to wait until I go for the Marathon next year in order to pick it up, of course, but I'll get two medals for the price of one... Who knows? Maybe it will be worth zillions of credits in the future.

We're all still waiting to see what "carefully thought out plan" the race organizers come up with to compensate those of us who paid our $350 dollars and were left high and dry (albeit with a t-shirt and a medal to commemorate it). I've heard that some French runners are suing the City of New York for the money they have "lost" in flights and accommodation, as well as the Marathon entry fee but this seems futile in the land of litigation. If you flew in to see a concert that was cancelled would you hold the city responsible? Although it is true that in this case, the Mayor of NYC, Bloomberg, first said "yes, it would go ahead" and then "no, it wouldn't" but they were careful to give as a reason for cancellation the controversy surrounding the decision to go ahead, that could put the runners and the prestige of the event in danger. What is clever about this is that the decision was based on new information (the controversy) and not the already known facts about the impact of the storm. In any case, judging by the person who called us "selfish" for being a small group of people running up 1st Avenue, who knows what kind of disruptions would have presented themselves had the Marathon gone ahead, so I think they made the right call (in the end).

As to what the deal for next year will be, I think that the best thing to do is to give everybody who was due to run this year a guaranteed entry for next year at a significantly reduced price of $100, say. "Why not give free guaranteed entry if everybody has already paid the full entry fee?" I hear you ask. The problem is that if there is no fee whatsoever, 47,000 people will say that they are definitely running the Marathon in 2013 - they have nothing to lose by doing so - and yet it's likely that only a fraction of those people will actually turn up, causing the event to lose a lot of the momentum it has gathered over the last 40 years, as well as denying those who would otherwise have applied in 2013 for a place. On the other hand, it would be "unseemly" for the organizers  to take any money from us to cover their expenses when we have had to forfeit ours. The solution is simple: the $100 should go to help rebuild the houses and lives that were destroyed by the storm. That way, everybody wins.

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