A GROUP of local runners have spoken of their disappointment at not being able to compete in this year’s New York Marathon.
Barry Dempsey, Olivia O’Kane, Richard Hogg and Fionn McAlpin, who are all from the Coleraine area, are four of over 47,000 participants who had registered for the world famous race.
They flew out to New York last Friday morning to compete in the popular event for local cancer charity, Action Cancer.
Just hours after they arrived, Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg announced that the marahon wouldn’t be taking place in light of the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy.
The cancellation came amid growing criticism that holding the race so soon after ‘Sandy’ would drain resources and be an affront to residents recovering from floods.
The marathon has become a part of autumn in New York, a day when the city turns out to cheer the best runners in the world as well as joggers lucky enough to gain entry.
It was even run after the September 11th terrorist attacks as crews worked to find human remains and clear the mound of rubble from the collapsed World Trade Center towers.
On Monday afternoon, Barry Dempsey speaking from his Manhattanhotel room, told The Times that the devastation in the city was clear to see.
“When we got into the taxi to drive from the airport to our hotel, we just knew it wasn’t right.
“New York is usually a place that is buzzing, full of life - but at the minute it is miserable.
“There is no atmosphere.”
Barry and his three running pals tried to get home early in light of the cancellation, but expensive flights have kept them in New York.
“I checked flights to come home a few minutes after the annoucement was made, at that point they were £320, five minutes later and they had rocketed to over £1300 so we just decided to stay and come home as planned on Wednesday.
“We’ve been doing some sightseeing, and to be honest that’s a marathon in itself,” joked Barry.
“We’ve each raised £2,600 through help from family and friends and various fundraisers.
“But, Action Cancer, who we were all running for, have organised an event in Dublin - three laps around Phoenix Park later this month, so at least our months of training and hard work haven’t been wasted,” said an up beat Barry.