After several days of holding firm that the New York City marathon would run, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday evening that the race will be canceled.
The mayor’s office confirmed the cancellation minutes after NBC News broke the story.
In the days following Hurricane Sandy, the Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks game at the Barclays Center was canceled and many believed the marathon should follow suit.
Bloomberg said the race, if run, would not defer resources from devastated areas to the marathon.
“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,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Bloomberg said he did not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants.
“We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this – 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,” the statement read.
Detractors said that it was not appropriate for a race to be run through the five boroughs as searches continued for survivors of Hurricane Sandy and residents are still without power and homes.
An online petition gathered 28,000 signatures in support of postponing the race.