SIX local athletes have failed to travel to the United States for the New York City Marathon due to the Hurricane Sandy which hit the country early this week.
BY THE SPORTS REPORTER
The race, the world’s largest with a field of nearly 50 000 runners, is scheduled for Sunday morning in New York — barely six days after the Hurricane left parts of the city in ruins and crippled its transportation system.
Zimbabwe marathon runners Cashington Mavhunduke, Jenny Lovell and Lowelly Williams, who were set to compete in the 42km race, had officially cancelled their trip yesterday, while Paul Marais, Debbie and Collin Colgrave were still in the capital by late yesterday afternoon.
Mavhunduke said they had made all travelling arrangements and paid all costs for the race. They have no choice, but to cancel it.
“I was really looking forward to this race. I had been earmarked to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony tomorrow (today) for the Zimbabwe team, but it’s sad that would no longer be happening. After participating in the other races this year, I wanted to finish the year in style,” said Mavhunduke.
Mavhunduke, who is affiliated to Harare Athletics Club, took part in the Comrades, London and Two Oceans marathons early this year.
“We were supposed to have travelled today (yesterday) but because of the Hurricane we didn’t want to take chances. The airports have been closed in the US since Monday and we understand that some of the hotels we had booked collapsed. It’s no longer safe to go there,” he added.
Before Sandy struck New York on Monday night, the race organisers had expected as many as 48 500 to participate in this year’s edition. However, the number could decrease due to the disruptions to flights getting into the US.