While New Yorkers and millions of others in the northeast are dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, just hours after Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave it a green light, has left a group of Las Vegans spending the night in the Newark, NJ airport.
Marathoners Becky Solomon and Joe Gersten, flying from Las Vegas with their spouses, were mid-air as the mayor changed his mind.
"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," said Bloomberg in a statement. "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."
The group found out when their plane landed in Newark.
"When we touched down and landed and turned on our phones they were beeping like crazy with the texts and emails of friends and family," Solomon said from the airport food court.
"We were sort of blindsided because we heard from the mayor and New York Roadrunners that the marathon was going forward," Gersten said.
The group of four rebooked a flight back to Las Vegas Saturday morning without a problem, but no available hotel rooms nearby left them spending the night in one of the terminals.
"It's not going to be comfortable, but it's gonna pale in comparison to what the people in Staten Island are experiencing," Gersten said.
The runners trained four or five days a week for several months to run in the prestigious marathon that was expected to have 40,000 participants this year.
They're disappointed, a little frustrated, but are in no question keeping it in perspective.
"I'm not going to be the one to say, 'Hey, my training supersedes what they're dealing with right now,'" Gersten said.
"We wish we could be in the city, we also wish we could have a hotel room to sleep in tonight, but luckily we're around friends so we'll have a good time tonight, enjoy it, and go home tomorrow," Solomon said.
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