Athlete 'gutted' race cancelled

Jendi Paterson. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Jendi Paterson. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
After five months of training, Queenstown runner Jendi Paterson is "gutted" today's New York marathon has been cancelled in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Ms Paterson, Lakes Leisure's community programme and rec- reation co-ordinator, had only just picked up her race number on Friday afternoon (New York time) when she heard the "devastating" news New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced the race was cancelled.

Speaking from a hotel room a couple of blocks from Times Square in New York yesterday (Saturday evening US time), she said having the race called off at such short notice was "pretty gutting".

"You pick up your race number and you have got all that nervous excitement and then suddenly the race is off." She said she understood why the race had to be cancelled, but it would have been preferable to have had the decision made earlier.

"If they made the call on Tuesday, I wouldn't have flown all this way and neither would have my parents, who came with me.

"It's cost a fortune and now we are kind of stuck in New York with paid-for accommodation. It's a great city but it wasn't what I came for," she said.

She was yet to see any damage caused by the storm, but was constantly reminded via the media of the devastation. The one positive in the cancellation was that she was guaranteed a place next year - an offer she would "definitely" be taking advantage of.

"I have to come back next year. I have put too much into it this year to not come back."

She still hoped to have a good holiday despite the cancellation.

"It is a fantastic city and from what I have seen of it already I can see why everybody says it is the greatest city in the world."

She is due to fly back to New Zealand on November 13.

Before leaving for New York, Ms Paterson said on Monday that "excited" was not a strong enough word to describe the feelings that had built up over five months of training and preparation.

"It's hard to explain - it's when you always wanted to do something and then suddenly, you're about to do it," she said.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz