, Salem, MA

November 8, 2012

What to do when your marathon is canceled

On the Run Jay Kumar
The Salem News

---- — In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last week, the New York City Marathon suddenly became a controversial endeavor.

Initially, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the marathon would go on despite the struggles of parts of the city to recover from the flooding and power outages caused by the storm. But the onslaught of negative publicity via social media and public pressure caused Bloomberg to reverse that decision and cancel the marathon Friday night, just two days before 40,000 runners were going to make their way through the city’s five boroughs.

Ultimately, it was the right call. Resources were already stretched thin because of the storm, and there were still many city residents without power, food or clean water. Admirably, New York Road Runners turned its attention to the recovery effort, deploying its volunteers (as well as many runners who would have run the marathon) to help out wherever needed. Meanwhile, runners wait to hear whether they’ll be able to run NYC next year.

The NYC Marathon is a great race. I’ve done it twice, and it’s a truly glorious experience, starting in Staten Island and making its way through the entire city before finishing in Central Park. It’s a big event, and no doubt the folks who were going to run it last weekend are disappointed. But they don’t have to let all the months of training go to waste.

The sold-out Philadelphia Marathon, which takes place Nov. 18, announced this week that it’s opening up 3,000 lottery spaces for registered NYC Marathon runners. In addition, 350 NYC runners were able to sign up for Philly using charity numbers. Other marathons are taking advantage of the post-NYC influx of runners: The Harrisburg Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Pensacola Marathon and Malibu International Marathon all take place in the next few weeks and offer a potential replacement for NYC. A visit to reveals plenty of other races to choose from, as well.

For those runners who can’t afford to travel to another city to race and have decided not to do a different marathon, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Month after grueling month of long runs, nagging injuries, blisters, exhaustion ... all for naught. But compared to what the residents of New York City and New Jersey had to deal with, missing out on a marathon seems like a relatively small price to pay. There will be another race. There always is.

Starts and stops: Thanksgiving’s a busy time here on the North Shore. A time for family and friends, and also a crazy time for local retailers. But for local runners, there are road races to run. The ninth annual Wild Turkey 5-Mile Run takes place at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, at the Boys & Girls Club, 13 Hawthorne Blvd., Salem.

Sponsored by the New England Running Company and Brooks Sporting Company, the Wild Turkey is the largest race on the North Shore. The first 1,150 entrants receive long-sleeved Brooks tech shirts. Visit to register. Post-race refreshments, awards and raffles will be hosted at the Boys & Girls Club. For more information, call the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem at 978-744-0915 or email Doug Bollen at

The day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 23, marks the fifth annual Gabe’s Run. The 5K cross country event benefits the Gabriel Pacione Memorial Scholarships and takes place on the Hamilton-Wenham Regional cross-country course at Patton Park in Hamilton. The women’s race starts at 9 a.m., the men’s race starts at 9:45, and a one-mile fun run begins at 10:30. There are also team challenges. Visit for more information.


On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments or news to

Upcoming races Saturday, Nov. 10 21st annual Association of Great Neck Turkey Tune Up 5K, Great Neck Playground, 126 Little Neck Road, Ipswich, 9 a.m. 5K road race and fun walk. Contact: Peter Lucas (Association of Great Neck) at 978-356-9100 or Sunday, Nov. 11 R11A 5K Run and Walk, St. John's Prep, 72 Spring St., Danvers, 9 a.m. Event in honor of Rich Angelo. Cash prizes to top five runners, tech shirts, awards. Contact: Ashley Steeves (BNS Event Management) at 978-836-0271 or Wednesday, Nov. 14 Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. Email Thursday, Nov. 15 No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact Sunday, Nov. 18 35th annual Essex Turkey Trot, Essex Causeway, 121 Main St., Essex, 1 p.m. Challenging USATF-sanctioned 8K course, T Shirts, prizes, clam chowder. Contact: Mark Lynch (Essex Lions Club) at 978-768-7338 or Wednesday, Nov. 21 Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. Email Visit for more race listings.