By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS —
All year, area runners Chuck Crowley and Tim Wheatley were preparing to compete in the biggest marathon in the world, the New York City Marathon.
But the unfortunate consequences from Hurricane Sandy forced New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to cancel the marathon in controversial fashion for the first time in its 42-year history last Friday. The marathon was scheduled to take place last Sunday.
Crowley, a Floyds Knobs resident and the Providence High School cross country coach, said he and Wheatley made their decision not to go to New York last Wednesday, two days prior to the official cancellation.
Crowley got a phone call from his sister, Elizabeth Majkowski who lives on Long Island, that influenced his and his running partner’s decision.
“We were all set on Wednesday evening to go. I checked all the reports online and it sounded like the race was going to go on,” said Crowley, who has competed in the New York City Marathon once before in 1995. “But my sister called and said don’t come. She said the city is in a lot worse shape than it has been portrayed.”
After Crowley heard his sister’s report, he called Wheatley, a Georgetown resident who was going to run in the New York City Marathon for the first time, and they both decided not to run in the marathon.
“I called Tim Wheatley and he was really upset,” Crowley said.
Crowley said he and Wheatley were originally planning on staying with some family members in New York. But those family members had been without electricity for several days because of the hurricane.
As a back-up plan, Crowley and Wheatley reserved a hotel room in New Jersey that still had electricity. But their decision to not run in the marathon became easier when they found out several New Jersey gas stations were closed and trains from New Jersey to New York City were shut down because of no power.
“We were going to drive, but they had long lines for gasoline in New Jersey. Some people said that 80 percent of the gas stations in the state were closed,” Crowley said.
Crowley, who grew up in Queens, has been a huge fan of the New York City Marathon since its inception in 1970.
“I used to watch it all the time on TV,” Crowley said. “I knew all the places where it went to.”
Crowley and Wheatley have been running together for 15 years, and Crowley said running in the New York Marathon side-by-side was their next goal.
“After we did the Philadephia and Boston marathons, we said the next one we had to do was New York,” said Crowley, who stated that him and Wheatley are planning to compete in the New York Marathon next year.
Instead of competing in the New York Marathon, Crowley and Wheatley ran in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon last Saturday in downtown Indianapolis. Crowley and Wheatley had to drive up to the Circle City last Thursday to register.
Like the two Southern Indiana runners, several competitors who were to run in New York competed in the Indy marathon.