New York City Marathon Canceled Due to Hurricane Sandy

11/02/2012 at 06:10 PM EDT

Bloomberg Cancels NYC Marathon
New York City Marathon in 2010
Andrew Burton/Getty
The finish line came before the race even started.

Amid a flurry of public outcry, the New York Marathon – which had been scheduled for Sunday – was called off Friday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg because of Hurricane Sandy.

"The marathon has been an integral part of New York City's life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch," he says. "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."

The race takes thousands of runners through all five boroughs, beginning with Staten Island, which was hit hard in the storm.

Some of the runners formed a protest group against the race, for the sake of volunteering in the greatly affected part of town instead of participating.

"The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination," Bloomberg adds. "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event … to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."

Bloomberg says more information lies ahead for the marathon's participants.

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