INDIANAPOLIS - Nearly 50,000 runners started looking for somewhere else to go after the New York City Marathon was canceled in Sandy's wake, and hundreds of marathoners made the detour to Indy for Saturday's Monumental Marathon.
Executive Director Blake Bolden said about 300 runners who planned to be in New York this weekend are here Indy for Saturday's 8 a.m. start.
"A lot of them are from the Midwest and West Coast and suddenly Indianapolis became a very attractive destination," Bolden said.
Even before race officials in New York canceled the marathon there late Friday afternoon, people like Marie Jarrell of Chicago decided Indy was a better fit for her.
"I decided very late last night that I just couldn't do it," she said. "I had my boarding pass and everything ready to go and I just wasn't feeling good about it. "
Dominic Diomede, another Chicagoan, said he canceled his plans Thursday to run the New York race and drove to Indy on Friday. Like Jarrell, he didn't wait for the cancellation in New York to make his decision.
"There's a lot of suffering going on, and those resources spent on catering to the runners probably will be better spent catering to the residents there," Diomede said.
For Monumental Marathon organizers, the influx of these detoured runners could boost the national reputation of Indy's race.
"Cause we're really happy to have these people, and I can only put myself in their shoes and know what it must feel like to train and prepare for months to have that opportunity disappear, and we're glad to be able to help those people out," Bolden said.
This week, social media sites focused on running have featured postings praising Indy's marathon as a great alternative to New York, but at least one marathoner tomorrow will be thinking about the big apple.
"I'll get to the finish line one way or the other, and I'm going to run with an "I Love New York" shirt on," Jarrell said.
For more information on the Monumental Marathon, including the race route, click here.