NY runners get special Dublin marathon

Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 00:00

Irish runners who missed out on the New York City marathon yesterday after it was cancelled will be given the chance to run the distance in Dublin later this month.

The organising committee of the Dublin marathon have confirmed that they are putting the finishing touches to plans for a marathon in the Phoenix Park to facilitate some 500 Irish athletes who had travelled to New York for the race.

In the immediate aftermath of superstorm Sandy, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted the event would go ahead, would lift spirits and generate income for the city – it is worth about $340 million (€265 million) to New York annually.

However, last week concern mounted that the race would divert resources from efforts to help flood-ravaged parts of the city and Mr Bloomberg opted to cancel the event last Friday.

Assistant race director of the Dublin event Eugene Coppinger said it was “absolutely right” that the New York marathon was cancelled, although he suggested the announcement could have been made earlier in the week.

He confirmed that the Dublin marathon organising committee planned to hold an invitation-only marathon later this a month to accommodate more Irish runners who were due to race in New York.

“A lot of people who were planning to run in New York have collected a lot of money for charity and they might feel guilty accepting that money if they don’t complete a marathon,” Mr Coppinger added. “That is why we want to give them that opportunity.

He said there had been discussions between the Dublin and New York organisers over the weekend and it had been agreed that runners who took part in the Phoenix Park event “will race in their New York vests and will be given the New York medals”.

Race organisers have a very strict no-refund policy. However a spokeswoman said that those runners who had been due to run in the New York marathon would be given the chance to race in the city’s prestigious event at some point in the next five years if they wished. About 140,000 runners applied for one of the 47,000 spots in the race.

Former athlete Eamonn Coghlan was in New York heading up a team of runners who planned to race to raise money for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. “Everyone who was planning to run is obviously very disappointed but under the circumstances, there is no question but that the race had to be cancelled,” he said.

“We were staying in mid-town which was not too badly hit, but five or six blocks away people had no electricity for six days.”

Members of his team did the original marathon route of four laps around Central Park yesterday morning. The marathon course moved out of Central Park and into the five boroughs in 1976, as a way to invigorate a bankrupt city.

Nearly 2,000 athletes ran the Central Park route. The unofficial run was organised through Facebook on Saturday and dubbed the “Run Anyway New York City Marathon”.

Irish Times journalist Emmet Malone was in the city for the race. “There was an air of inevitability about the cancellation, but it should have happened sooner. People were getting very worked up about it on Friday and it has been very difficult to get information out of the organisers,” he said.