Lynchburg, VA- Before Sandy even came on the radar, runners from all over the world were preparing for the New York City Marathon. Despite the devastation there, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced the Marathon will go on as planned.
Critics say the city hasn't recovered enough to host that many people. Supporters say it's symbolic of the city moving on. And runners can't decide whether to follow their minds, or their feet.
We spoke with a runner in Lynchburg that's having mixed emotions over that decision. Heather Cavaliere is the Manager of Riverside Runners in Lynchburg. She's running in the NYC Marathon Sunday.
The race will span 26 miles, five boroughs, and millions of dollars-worth of damage.
"I don't know how they're going to fit it all in, with the damage they have," said Cavaliere.
The race course is one thing.
"They're saying that the marathon course is pretty protected from a lot of the bad places, where damage is really bad," she said.
But just getting people to the course poses a problem. Superstorm Sandy shut down planes, trains and automobiles, making it difficult for thousands of runners to get to the start line, let alone the finish. And critics say the city won't be able to handle the runners that do make it.
"I don't want to be someone who adds to the problems that are already going on in the city," said Cavaliere.
Sandy ruined housing plans as well. Cavaliere is now staying with her brother-in-law in New Jersey, who may or may not have power.
"I've been calling hotels just to see if we could get a room anywhere but everything's booked," she said.
The marathon was projected to pour $340 million into the city.
Organizers don't know how many of the 50,000 entrants will show up, but Cavaliere wants to do her part.
"They're still having it and I'm trained and ready to go, so I'm going to try to make a little economic impact," she said.
And she might help lift the spirit of the storm-battered Northeast.
"A lot of people are like, well this is a way to recover, to kind of remember that there's still something to celebrate...we can grow after this, it's a big process to clean up, but you know, we can get through it."
Cavaliere and her husband are starting their drive to New York Friday morning.
Runners who can't get to New York in time should have until Saturday to withdraw and reserve a spot in the 2013 marathon.