By Jennifer Peltz and Rachel Cohen
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The New York City Marathon was canceled Friday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg after mounting criticism that it was wrong to hold the race while the region is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy.
With people in storm-ravaged areas still shivering without electricity and the death toll in New York City at more than 40, many residents recoiled at the prospect of police officers being assigned to protect Sunday’s race.
An estimated 40,000 runners from around the world had been expected to take part in the 26.2-mile event. The race had been scheduled to start in Staten Island, one of the hardest-hit areas by this week’s storm.
A few hours after Bloomberg insisted the race would be held, he reversed himself when top city officials lined up against him.
“We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it,” the mayor said in a 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.”