(CBS News) Race organizers were expecting close to 50,000 runners to participate in the New York City marathon on Sunday, Nov. 4, but superstorm Sandy left many questioning whether the annual city event would go on. Tuesday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the race would proceed as scheduled.
New York Times sports reporter Mary Pilon joined "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday to address some of the concerns that the city, residents, and runners have around the upcoming race.
Pilon spoke about some of the critical issues, including the course -- which doesn't go through lower Manhattan but does end in Central Park, where downed trees are a concern -- and getting volunteers to their designated locations despite mass transportation closures.
But, she noted that the biggest issue will be getting non-local runners to the city. "How are these runners going to get here," Pilon asked. "World class athletes from around the world ... who, with our airports shut down, just can't get here."
Pilon added that even if logistical issues can be solved by Sunday, for many it remains a "taste issue." She explained that after the attacks of 9/11, people felt that the marathon was a "unifying" event, several weeks after a disaster, but that in this case, "this is a matter of days" and "the question of how the city's resources are going to be used is a fair question to ask," given the strain that the NYPD is under while conducting recovery operations.
Still, Pilon said the downside of canceling the marathon not only includes an economic impact for the hundreds of companies involving in putting on the event, but also for the many runners who have trained for months. "There's a lot of emotion tied to this event," she said.