The marathon pumps $350 million dollars into the economy. So no wonder it felt like a celebration on the race expo’s opening day.
Thousands of runners from all over the globe were picking up race packets and shelling out cash for running gear. Hugh Gaither sells $14 socks. He says he would have lost out if the biggest marathon in the country was cancelled. Though, he says sales on the first day are not as strong as he expected: “We probably sold a few hundred so far, we would expect to sell a few thousand before it’s all over with under normal circumstances, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Missing the race would have also been a letdown for Diana Schmaetenk, who traveled from the Netherlands with a friend. They each spent $3,000 on flights and hotels. Schmaetenk says she worried about the money going to waste. But then, seeing Sandy’s damage helped put that in perspective. “That’s life. The marathon is just a game, a sport of game. It’s not so important with the storm,” she says.
Officials for the New York City Marathon have revised their policies for those who can’t make it this weekend. Anyone stranded because of the storm will automatically be allowed to run in 2013.