New York Marathon cancelled
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has cancelled Sunday's New York Marathon in deference to the recovery work taking place in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
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Bloomberg had, only hours previously, told a press conference that he was sticking to his guns over plans to hold the race despite the damage inflicted by the weather system.
With more than 40 deaths in New York as a result of Sandy and significant infrastructural damage including mass power outages, there had been criticism of Bloomberg's decision to devote the necessary resources to staging the marathon.
Bloomberg has previously spoken of the symbolic value of going ahead with the event but tonight backed down.
In a widely reported statement, he said: "The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City's life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch.
"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.
"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.
"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."