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The annual New York City Marathon was canceled Friday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just hours after he said it would continue despite the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Many people, including top city officials, criticized the mayor for allowing the marathon to continue while many New Yorkers are without power, homeless, or searching for loved ones.
People were also angered at the idea that police officers would be assigned to oversee the race, while they could be helping those in need. According to ABC News, Bloomberg insisted that the marathon would not have diverted any resources from victims.
“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."
An estimated 40,000 participants were expected to run in the 26.2 mile event, noted the Associated Press.
The race has been held annually since 1970. It’s the first time the event has ever been canceled.