Irish runners arrive in New York for city marathon

Fri, Nov 2, 2012, 00:00

AN ESTIMATED 500 Irish runners have overcome superstorm Sandy and made it to New York to be among the 50,000 athletes getting ready to run Sunday’s New York city marathon.

It is believed just one runner was delayed, according to Colette Cowlard, director of Sports Travel International, which has organised flights, race entry and accommodation for 380 people travelling to the city for the marathon this weekend.

“We had just one runner delayed for a few hours on Wednesday. He was due to be on a morning flight and got an evening one. It has been a hard week with hurdles to overcome but in the end everything has worked out fine,” she said.

“We have been very, very lucky. Almost all our athletes were going out on flights at the end of the week. Colleagues in Europe have not been so lucky,” she said, adding that up to 500 from France due to fly on Monday and Tuesday had been unable to travel.

“They were booked on flights earlier in the week which were cancelled and then they couldn’t get on to flights later in the week.”

It had been “touch and go” at the start of the week as to whether the marathon would go ahead. “We were very confident it would go on though, that New Yorkers would pull out all the stops to make it happen. They’re like that. They don’t like to be beaten.”

Many subway lines remain closed, while parts of the city have neither running water nor electricity.

However, following an assessment of storm damage the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, said on Tuesday that the marathon would go on.

Eugene Coppinger, assistant race director for Dublin city marathon, is in New York and said some of the smaller events around the marathon had been cancelled.

“The police and emergency services here are really stretched, so they need them to focus on the marathon itself.”

Mr Coppinger is in New York to promote the Dublin marathon at the New York Marathon Expo.

“We have a stand here and will be meeting a number of American charities. A lot of the charities here look at the marathons on around the world each year and decide which one their fund-raisers will run in.”