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November 4, 2012

Recovering from Sandy

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

In his first comments since canceling the marathon, Bloomberg said he’d fought to keep it going but the controversy was becoming “so divisive” and too much of a distraction.

“I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to be able to take a break and that sort of thing. ... It’s a big part of our economy,” Bloomberg told WCBS-TV during a visit to Queens. As he spoke, he was met by catcalls from residents angry about the city’s response to the storm.

Many runners understood the decision, especially with the death toll from the storm at 106, including 40 in New York City. The destruction and power outages made many New Yorkers recoil at the idea of police protecting a foot race and evicting storm victims from hotels to make way for runners. More than half of the 40,000 runners were from out of town.

Some runners, though, vowed to never enter New York again. Pia Nielsen, who flew in from Copenhagen, said city and race officials would have to regain her trust.

But Lucy Marquez said she would come back, even as tears filled her eyes at the thought of the three young children she left at home in Mexico to run in her first marathon — a race her father competed in 12 years ago.

“Shock. Denial. Rage,” she said. “I love New York City. This is the marathon I want to run.”

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