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NYC Marathon Runners Can Receive Refund Of Entry Fee After Race Was Canceled

New York City Marathon sign (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

New York City Marathon sign (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Marathon runners can receive a refund of their entry fee after this year’s race was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

When the event was called off last month, officials said that they had a no-refund policy, but had not made a final decision on whether to make an exception. Organizer New York Road Runners informed entrants on Thursday that they had three options to choose from — one of them a refund.

Runners can otherwise go for a guaranteed spot in the 2013, 2014 or 2015 marathon. They would have to pay the entry fee again, but at the 2012 rate. Getting into the race is extremely competitive, making a guaranteed spot very valuable to runners.

Or they can accept a spot in March’s NYC half-marathon, paying the entry fee for that race — though availability is limited.

But veteran New York City Marathon runner Anne Driscoll, an Upper West Side resident, isn’t pleased with these options.

“Did NYRR really wait seven weeks to tell runners that we can pay another $266 if we want guaranteed entry to one of the next three NYC Marathons?” Driscoll posted on Facebook. “Patiently waited for a slap in the face.”

The refund applies only to runners who had not withdrawn before Oct. 24, when forecasts of a massive storm started to emerge. The refund excludes an $11 processing fee. Entry costs ranged from $216 to $347.

Sandy devastated neighborhoods across the New York area six days before the marathon was to have begun on November 4. Among the hardest hit by flooding was Staten Island, home to the starting line. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYRR officials initially announced that the race would go on. But as criticism mounted, they canceled the marathon less than 48 hours before it would have started.

By then, thousands of out-of-town runners had already arrived in New York, with international entrants often spending several thousand dollars on the trip. They vented that while they supported the ultimate decision, it should have been made days earlier, before they boarded planes.

Organizers initially expected about 47,500 runners to compete.

“Our commitment is to work hard over the coming year to serve our runners and community, and to return the ING New York City Marathon to being our city’s best day,” NYRR President Mary Wittenberg said in a letter to entrants on Thursday.

Marathon runners — do you plan to take the refund and not have a guaranteed spot in next year’s race, or will you pay the fee for next year and take the guaranteed spot in either 2013, 2014 or 2015? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)