Will I Run NYC Marathon 2013

My Life as a Runner > races > Will I Run NYC Marathon 2013
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Having run over a dozen of races, one starts to develop opinions as to which races are his/her favorites and which are not. For example, I’d run Boston as long as I qualify. California International Marathon is also one of my favorites, too. On the other hand, I won’t run San Francisco Marathon or Disneyland Half again. There are various reasons for liking and not liking: Organizers, cost, timing, location, etc. After this weekend in New York City, NYC Marathon is on the verge of becoming one of my not-gonna-run marathons, even without running it.

Since I became a marathoner, I’ve always wanted to run New York City Marathon, because it is the largest marathon on earth. Because it is one of the Majors. Because it is in New York City! So, I got myself qualified earlier this year and registered to run. Last Friday, I traveled to NYC, across the country, amid controversies the marathon should not be run when so many storm victims were still trying to recover from the disaster, only to find out that the marathon was just canceled after minutes of my arrival at JFK. I had mixed feelings about the cancellation; thus, I did not react to the news emotionally.

The marathon Sunday’s come and gone. After the cancellation was announced, I’ve read a few articles about how runners reacted to the cancellation and what New York Road Runners (NYRR) was doing. I even sympathized with NYRR for having such a bad luck coinciding with Sandy and having so many people pointing fingers at it even though the decision was primarily made by the NYC Mayor. But such sympathy quickly disolved when I read a New York Times article this morning. According to the article, it is waiting to hear from its insurer before deciding to give entrants the refund, even though, I am understanding, its financial position would not be endangered if it refunded the entry fee to all entrants.

About a month ago, I had read another New York Times article that reported how big NYC Marathon became and how NYRR’s President and CEO, Mary Wittenberg, might have changed culture of the running club by bringing big corporate sponsors and expanding its programs beyond needs of local members. I don’t live in NYC or not a member of NYRR, so I did not come to any conclusions as to whether I believe the accusations made by some, then. Now? I am still not drawing any conclusions yet, but I am finding the criticism valid.

I understand there might have been a clause somewhere in the waiver/disclaimer we all signed that the entry fee is not refundable, whatsoever, period. But I’d like NYRR to give us the entry fee back and show NYRR is a decent organization and puts the runners first before its other agendas. According to its web site, NYRR strives “to give everyone on the planet both a reason to run and the means and opportunity to keep running and never stop.” It would make a good gesture and would make me want to run the marathon next year if it refunded. Sure, NYRR may say the demand for running NYC Marathon is so much stronger that it can get away with not refunding and lose my support. Sad if that is the case. But again, there are so many choices when it comes to running a marathon. It does not have to be a NYC Marathon if the organizer, a non-profit organization, does not listen to and is out of touch with its supporters and participants.

As I finish this post, I received an email from NYRR saying it is addressing our concerns and needs more time to answer our questions. NYRR, don’t disappoint me. Give me a reason to run NYC Marathon next year!

  • ulrichsblog
    November 8, 2012

    When my wife and I learned about the nyc-marathon news, our thoughts were both with the victims of the storm, as well as with the collegues, prepared for the run. Friends ofours travelled from vienna/austria to nyc. You can imagine their delight when they heard about the cancellation.
    I really hope the nycrr is a runners-friendly organisator, i also know others who aren’t.
    Best wishes and good motivation!
    Ps. My next marathon is an indoor run in vienna, 16 rounds in an exhibition-hall.

    Regards ulrich

    • Koji Kawano
      November 8, 2012

      Thanks, Ulrich! Have fun in your next marathon. Never heard of an indoor marathon and it sounds challenging!

  • drakeford299
    November 8, 2012

    I hope you get in next year – it will be my third time trying to run NYC… will keep things crossed for ya!

  • drakeford299
    November 8, 2012

    Will keep things crossed for you – it will be my 3rd time trying to get in!

  • Run and Jump
    November 10, 2012

    In Dublin, the organisers of the Dublin Marathon are putting on a special invitation-only marathon in a city park for any Irish runners who were due to run in New York. They are collaborating with the NY organisers and presenting New York finishers’ medals at the end. So, runners will get to honour any charitable donations they received. An Irish solution to a New York problem!

    • Koji Kawano
      November 11, 2012

      Nice! I’d be interested in knowing how many people will run. Keep me posted!

  • LizForADay
    November 11, 2012

    Can you imagine the disappoint for the first time marathoners. Unfortunately mother nature makes her own plans and no one can change it. 🙂

  • jend1229
    November 29, 2012

    Just wondering if you had an update on the refund?

    • Koji Kawano
      November 29, 2012

      Nope. I saw NYRR’s Facebook message saying it is still working on it… It’s taking much longer than I thought it was going to take.

  • runariran
    December 2, 2012

    You know, there are so many great marathons popping up everywhere. If I never run that one, I am fine. I guess for me, it is just the experience of the run, not necessarily the venue. I would be bugged if a marathon didn’t refund me the money, or even offer me some sort of compensation, by way of entry into another of their races, or discount to something. As much as it was not their fault that this happened, it is not yours, either. They need to thank you for choosing their marathon in the first place. I would not run it again, if this was not taken care of, one way or another.

    • Koji Kawano
      December 3, 2012

      Agree. Having run a few races, my basis of selecting a race is changing and I don’t have to run any races that are hyped-up for nothing. I have not heard or seen anything from NYRR about the refund, so I am still waiting to find out. Every day I wait, my interests in running NYCM are steadily disappearing. Kind of sad.

      • runariran
        December 4, 2012

        Well, if you’re ever in the mood to come to Utah, there are so many, and I have been so impressed with the way they’ve been run. 🙂

  • Richard
    December 13, 2012

    Hi Koji,

    Just read your entry and, as you know, I was in the same boat and was dismayed that (1) they didn’t cancel the marathon on Tuesday and (2) that they did cancel it on Friday after the $340 million worth of hotel rooms and food were locked in. Also, (3) that they did not seriously consider other options such as the mayor of Philadelphia’s offer to have the marathon in Philly or the idea of running it completely in Central Park.

    However, I am still pretty sure they will offer us guaranteed entry into the 2013 race. They probably will keep our money, which definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Nevertheless, I still recommend that you run the race sometime, hopefully in 2013. It is really an amazing event and, despite everything, I think you will find it to be quite the experience.

    And, while I only expect to be able to keep up with you for a mile or two after which you will leave me in your dust, it will at least be fun to run even just that short distance with you.


    • Koji Kawano
      December 14, 2012

      Thank you, Richard! I really want NYRR to give us the money back. Not that I need money but I want the club to be good to runners and want it to show it. I know they had spent money before it canceled. They had insurance though I don’t know the details of insurance coverage. If they lose money this year, I am sure they will have revenues coming in next year and be profitable again. Anyway, still waiting to hear…

  • cal23blake
    December 18, 2012

    I’m in the same boat, I really want to run NY, just seems an awesome experience. Fingers crossed for 2013! Good luck with yours!

    • Koji Kawano
      December 18, 2012

      Thanks! NYRR is sure taking time to figure things out!

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