NAIROBI, Kenya, October 30- Sunday’s New York Marathon is still on despite the Sandy super storm that has ravaged the East Coast of America.
Organisers New York Road Runners president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg declared on Monday that the hurricane would have no effect on the race despite heavy rains and wind battering the city.
London marathon champion and Olympics bronze medallist, Wilson Kipsang as well as women’s world titleholder and 2010 New York winner, Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop, who clinched the women’s Boston crown are elite Kenyan runners lined-up for the annual Big Apple race.
Kipsang who will make his debut in the race was scheduled to depart for the event on Tuesday evening having wrapped his training in Korkitony on Monday.
“The journey is still on. Wilson left the camp we have been training together this morning to prepare to leave for New York later in the evening,” Berlin Marathon champion, Geoffrey Mutai, who is also due to leave for the Big Apple on Wednesday told Capital Sport.
At a press conference, Wittenberg declared they had time on their side to prepare the route and for runners to make it to the city after the storm had passed.
“We are going to give everyone the time to get here and if they have to cancel, we will give them the chance to cancel up to Saturday,” Wittenberg told a tele-conference adding. “Runners who can’t get to New York in time for the race will be given automatic entry into the 2013 race. The entry fee for 2012 will not be refunded.”
Marathon officials are monitoring ferry terminals, which are a transportation resource in getting many runners to the start line, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which buses use to transport runners to the Staten Island beginning point.
They are also working closely with the city, Parks Department, and the Central Park Conservancy regarding Central Park, which hosts the last six miles or so of the race. The park was closed on Monday.
Organizers expect to reschedule flights to get all the elite athletes to New York early and Wittenberg was confident that most of the nearly 20,000 amateur international runners signed up would eventually make it in time.
The hours for number pickup will probably be extended for those who arrive late Saturday.
The ceremonial finish-line painting scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled, along with a news conference Tuesday.
A children’s run Thursday has been moved from Central Park to an indoor track, and the pavilion in the park has been taken down for the time being. If power is lost, generators or backup systems are in key locations.