Local runners affected by NYC Marathon's cancellation - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Local runners affected by NYC Marathon's cancellation

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

You've seen the images of destruction and you've heard the cries for help. While Hurricane Sandy's physical presence is long gone, the emotional and financial damage is just getting started.

"The City of New York right now is talking about getting water out of the Battery Tunnel and preparing for a marathon," said New York State Rep. Michael Grimm. "We're pulling bodies out of the water. You see the disconnect here?"

It was that realization of a disconnect that prompted the city on Friday to cancel, for the first time in history, the world famous NYC Marathon that was scheduled to take place on Sunday.

"It is with incredibly heavy hearts today that we share that the best way to help New York City at this time is to say that we will not be conducting the 2012 ING New York City marathon," said Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Runners. 

Known to attract runners from all over the world, this year, three Lake Charles residents who spent months training found themselves caught up in the city's last minute decision to cancel the race. We spoke, by phone, with one of them who's no stranger to the havoc that natural disasters can wreak, having gone through Southwest Louisiana storms himself. Runner Sterling Neblett said he understands why the marathon was canceled. 

"Water that was being used for the marathon should be donated to the victims instead and that kind of press is relentless up here," said Neblett. "I think that it really pushed the mayor and the people who organized the marathon to reconsider their position."

He shares with other marathoners the feeling that position should have been changed sooner. 

"I don't think that anyone is mad necessarily that they couldn't run the marathon, I think they're more mad that they actually traveled here and prepared this week," Neblett said. "If they would have made the call on Tuesday, then people would have been able to adjust their travel plans, you know maybe safe their airline ticket fares."

Still, with thousands of runners in the city with no race, Neblett said crowds of runners got together in Central Park Sunday morning for a run.

"There were thousands of runners that decided to run in Central Park together despite the marathon being canceled," said Neblett. "Just a huge crowd of runners there today."

Showing that a storm can't stop the city that never sleeps ... or the people who visit.

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