New York runners opt for Monumental Marathon

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled Sunday's New York City marathon late Friday afternoon following a barrage of criticism. It came as the city tries to recover from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

But days before that decision, many runners had already opted out on their own. In fact, several signed up to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this Saturday instead.

Michael Laurianti of Cincinnati was among those who stood in line at the Monumental Expo to snag a last-minute entry.

"I raced here to sign up and see a lot of other people behind us, so thank God we got here early," Laurianti said.

Monumental Race Director Blake Boldon said early Friday afternoon, "We're doing all we can to accommodate runners in the Midwest who are not able to get to New York and don't want their 12-16-week training plan to go to waste."

Boldon said 40 runners had signed up Friday morning alone, with less than 100 spots left.

Lisa Zigterman of Chicago was among those who pulled out of New York for Indy.

"Mainly, it was the uncertainty of not knowing if I was going to run, if the flight would go, and a marathon is stressful enough," she said.

Nicole Golding of Columbus said, "I kept thinking it would be canceled because the hotel called and said it was without power, electricity and water."

While some saw the marathon as a boost to morale and the economy - it brings in $350 million - others called it a slap in the face to storm victims.

Bolden said he received a text from a friend in New York whose "concern is a lot of negative energy and press about the race in New York."

She was considering coming to Indy to run.

Before learning the race had been canceled, Golding said she was frustrated because "I thought the marathon people in New York would call it off and not put it on our shoulders because it's a painful decision. And I thought all the resources they're using for the marathon would be better used by the people in New York City."

Ultimately, that was a deciding factor in canceling the race. For runners, there's always next year. For storm victims, it's about coping with urgent needs today, tomorrow and for many months ahead.