Although Bloomberg and Wittenberg said the marathon would not take resources from hard-hit areas such as Staten Island and the Rockaways in Queens, the race would have required police and medical personnel support.
Even before the cancellation, heated battles took place over Facebook and Twitter as to whether the race should go on in the wake of a natural disaster. Some posters called runners selfish and told them to go home.
"The honest truth is when the storm hit, I was amazed that they would even consider attempting to run the race," said Manhattan runner Kevin Browne, who participated in social media debates about the marathon but still planned to run it. "Anybody who's run it before knows the support that's required to get us to Staten Island and to get us to Central Park."
Other than Gatorade, water and food, the race requires barricades and police help, Browne said. Although he trusted that Bloomberg wouldn't hold the marathon if it wasn't a good idea, he said he would feel guilty if someone in a flood zone got hurt because a first responder was supporting his marathon run.
"The thing I found probably the most concerning was the fact that the New York Road Runners was asking for volunteers to help them manage the race," Browne said. "I thought, 'Oh my god, if people were to volunteer, they shouldn't be supporting the race, they should be helping people who are really suffering."
In an effort to use their New York trips for good, many out-of-state runners have set up volunteer efforts for Sunday right where the race is supposed to get started: Staten Island. One group will gather at the Staten Island Ferry terminal in orange to collect and distribute supplies to those in need.
Another volunteer runners' group is organizing smaller runs to benefit Sandy's victims. Even the Run Anyway NYC 2012 campaign on Facebook, which is four laps around Central Park rather than the race course, will collect food, clothing and supplies to distribute to victims.
Though Kim said he's disappointed that not running means he won't be able to raise funds for the American Heart Association, he and his partner won't be leaving early. They plan to volunteer in Staten Island while they're here, and get married on Tuesday, since same-sex marriage is not legal in California.They planned to tie the knot around the same time they decided to commit to their first marathon.