The New York City marathon has been cancelled in the wake of the destruction caused by superstorm Sandy.
The move came following criticism from New Yorkers that the event would tie up precious resources.
There was concern that the police force, which was already stretched, would be redeployed to patrol the race instead of focusing on casualties from the aftermath of the storm.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement: “We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”
A statement on the New York Marathon website says: “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 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 help New York City recover from the storm.
“New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race.”
An estimated 40,000 runners from around the world had been expected to take part in the 26.2-mile event.
To date, the storm has resulted in 96 deaths – 40 of which were in New York and 69 occurred when the storm swept across the Caribbean.
A total of 3.5 million homes in the East Coast are still without electricity