A race to recovery
graphic November 1, 2001: 12:04 p.m. ET

Mourning or defiant, the marathon is inseparable from New York.
By Jake Ulick
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  • A survivor's marathon dream
  • Why we run marathons
    NEW YORK (CNNmoney) - Heavy in symbolism, big in numbers, the New York City Marathon is a lot like the city that hosts it. This year more than ever.

    On Sunday, when 30,000 runners look across New York Harbor, they'll see a Manhattan skyline altered by terrorism before meeting what could be the largest, loudest crowds in marathon history.

    "When the attack occurred on Sept. 11, New York was hurt, America was hurt, the world was hurt," said Allan Steinfeld, who as president of the New York Road Runners Club, is race director. "This is an opportunity to fight back against terrorism."

    A tribute to the victims, a stand for normalcy, or just 26.2 long miles, the marathon meets a city rebuilding its psyche and economy.

    To that end, marathon officials estimate the race will pump about $118 million into New York's economy, as the mostly out-of-town runners and guests fill hotels, restaurants and theaters.

    Every cent is needed. By 2003, the attack will have cost the city as much as $105 billion, the city comptroller's office said in a preliminary report. The figure goes beyond tourism to include loss of property, cleanup costs and lost taxes and business.

    Guy Saldi, who manages Il Palazzo and Pellegrino's, two restaurants in Manhattan's Little Italy, about a mile from the attack site, knows all about the attack's financial cost.

    "It's coming back very slowly," Saldi said of his business. He expects a pick-up this weekend from pasta-seeking runners, but frets that, longer term, commerce may never return to pre-terror levels.

    Runners mke their way across the Verrazano Bridge in last year's marathon
    Uptown, the Mayflower Hotel, yards from the marathon finish line, cut the price of a one-bedroom suite to $295 from $320 a night. While the hotel expects a full house this weekend, Kurt Thomas, a Mayflower manager, sees the marathon effect as short-lived.

    "We have lost a lot of business," Thomas said. "Usually, this time of year we are a completely booked through December."

    Still, marathon officials say they had no cancellations from runners wary of coming to New York, where a 61-year-old woman Wednesday died of inhalation anthrax.

    A record crowd?

    The 31st New York City Marathon is dedicated to the Sept. 11 victims, some of whom were in the race.

    Race officials put that figure at "under ten," a number much smaller those racing on a victim's behalf.

    John Cahill, a Manhattan resident, is among them. He's running in honor of his childhood friend from Greenwich, Conn.: Rob  Noonan, a 35-year-old employee of Cantor Fitzgerald. The bond trading firm, housed in the World Trade Center, lost nearly 700 employees in the attack.

    For its part, the road runner's club is trying to raise $1 million for victims.

    Race security, the organizers say, will be "even more encompassing than usual."

    More than 2,300 polices officers will be on hand and New York Harbor will be closed to marine traffic. With the exception of TV helicopters from NBC, the Federal Aviation Administration is enforcing a no-fly zone over the city.

    There will also be tight security at the 24 water stations along the course, and organizers are warning runners not to take any food or fluids from well-meaning spectators, which had been common in the past.

    And for the first time, race organizers gave police the names of all 30,000 runners -- 13 from Algeria, three from Zimbabwe, and everyone in between.

    Rudolph Giuliani, meanwhile, will ride in the lead car for his final time as New York's mayor. He'll pass what forecasters say will be more than 2 million spectators jamming sidewalks, pressing up against police barricades in what could be New York's most optimistic event in months.

    "People walk away from this event totally changed," said Steinfeld, the race director.

    Since Sept. 11, the same can be said about New York. graphic


    A survivor's marathon dream

    Why we run marathons