- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

The second Washington DC Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, was canceled yesterday because of the impending war with Iraq, organizers said.
More than 1,000 calls and e-mails were received at the marathon office yesterday, with many of the nearly 7,000 entrants suggesting they would not run the 26.2-mile race. Even some vendors who purchased booths for Saturday's runner exposition called to cancel, race officials said.
"Over 1,000 phone calls and e-mails came in today saying that they wanted to defer their entries [because] how safe was the city," race spokeswoman Angela Casey said. "Someone from the District said that the District police should be utilized for better purposes than policing a marathon, and we agreed with it."
Casey emphasized that the decision was made strictly by the race organizers rather than District officials or the Metropolitan Police. When mayor spokesman Tony Bullock was informed of the organizers' decision by The Washington Times, he responded, "All I can say is I'm stunned."
Casey said there were too many scenerios that could have impeded the race.
"It was brought to our attention by the District and federal agencies … that if something as small as a backpack was found unattended along the route, the race would be shut down," Casey said. "Even if a Port-a-John was out of place, the course would be shut down."
Casey said race officials made the call yesterday to give plenty of notice to runners from out of town. Entrants included runners from all 50 states and 14 foreign countries, including many elite athletes.
John Stanley, president of H2O Entertainment and race director, has had tough luck with this race, with last year's Palm Sunday running infuriating many churches and this year's security issues.
"All registrants will automatically be deferred to the 2004 race, which will occur March21, 2004," he said. "We apologize, however we feel that it is in the best interest of all runners, families, spectators and residents of the District of Columbia. No one's more disappointed by the turn of events than the organizers."
David Joubran, a 32-year-old District resident who ran the inaugural marathon last year and had been training for the past four months for Sunday's race, said he had no intention of missing this year's event because of the war.
"I fully planned on running," he said yesterday. "Sure, the thought [of a war] crossed my mind it's hard not to think about it. This is really disappointing."
Joubran not only ran the race last year; his company, Acumen Solutions Inc. of Vienna, was a sponsor and several of his employees ran with him.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide