NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Runners in town for the New York Marathon said they would spend Sunday taking part in hastily scheduled charity races or helping with Hurricane Sandy relief.
Sunday's prestigious race was canceled at the 11th hour due to the ongoing storm recovery, leaving scores of out-of-town competitors in the Big Apple with suddenly cleared schedules.
One group of about 500 runners, including contestants from Europe and U.S. Olympic rower Alison Cox, planned to fan out across Staten Island and drop off supplies to residents as the ran.
"Initially we were just going to do a run to raise some money and then we thought, hey, we've got these legs that are ready to run 26 miles, why don't we actually run in Staten Island and get things that people need?" said Dr. Jordan Metzl, a marathon veteran and one of the organizers of the ad hoc race.
Metzl told the Christian Science Monitor he was disappointed there had been a negative perception of the marathoners during the debate over whether or not to cancel Sunday's big event and wanted to pitch in and help out.
The Monitor said other unofficial runs of varying distances were taking place around New York with many contestants toting backpacks with bottled water and other items to hand out to people in need.