Spence Green

التكرار يعلم الحمار

I work at Lilt. In addition to computers and languages, my interests include travel, running, and scuba diving. more...

The 2012 New York Marathon was a leadership failure

without comments

Dear NYRR:

I want to add my voice to what must be a growing chorus against the leadership of both your organization and the mayor’s office. This was to be my second New York marathon, so I was well acquainted with the application rules and the organization of this race. The logistics are complex yet NYRR typically manages the event with considerable care and professionalism.

That’s why this year’s debacle came as such a shock. It was a leadership failure on the part of both Ms. Wittenberg and Mayor Bloomberg. Had the race been cancelled on Monday immediately after the storm, participants would have had amble time to modify travel and hotel plans. However, the official email from NYRR encouraging participants to travel to New York did not arrive until 11pm PST Wednesday evening. As late as 1pm EST on Friday the mayor was still publicly advocating the race. Then at 5:20pm EST media outlets reported that the race had been cancelled. It was not until later that evening that NYRR sent an email, and no information has been released since.

Ms. Wittenberg and Mayor Bloomberg chose the worst possible course. They incensed the population of the Tri-State area. They wasted the time and money of tens of thousands of runners. And they publicly mislead everyone while pressure mounted behind closed doors. Surely more thoughtful people close to the two leaders advocated against the race before Friday. To top it all, the NYRR statement announcing the cancellation solicited donations for the relief effort. Before I left Brooklyn on Saturday night I had already “donated” close to $1200 to the local economy, and the international participants surely must have contributed much more.

I suspect that NYRR will hide behind its cancellation policy. That is its right, as the broad language of the policy covers even dithering, indecision, and prevarication. While Ms. Wittenberg is the de-facto running boss in this country, she has no right to defame the sport of running generally, which she surely has done. I’ll think hard about participating in the future, not because the marathon is hard–it is–but because the organizers lionize the dollar rather than the local community or the spirit of competition.

Very repectfully,

Spence Green
Stanford, CA


Written by Spence

November 6th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Running

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.