After the upcoming ING New York City Marathon became a point of controversy in the midst of Hurricane Sandy recovery, Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled it, saying the event shouldn't divide the city.

 

Critics had argued that the race, scheduled to begin in Staten Island this Sunday, would distract police resources from people who are still desperate for hurricane relief.

 

"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," Bloomberg said in a statement. "The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."

 

He added in the statement, "We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event – even one as meaningful as this – to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."

 

New York authorities has been discussing whether or not to go ahead with the city's marathon on Sunday, which attracts more than 40,000 runners, as recovery from the effects of deadly superstorm Sandy continues, a city official said.

 

"There's discussions about doing it (putting off the marathon), but whether a decision has been made yet I don't know," said a city official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, on Friday.

Fury escalated throughout New York at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's initial decision to proceed with the marathon, even though he vowed the event would not divert any resources from storm victims.