Gotham City Runs Joker NYC Marathoners Out Of Town / A Parody…

Spiderman crawled along the gigantic video board on 8th Avenue. His two-story-tall figure in a cat-like crouch, peered down at the New Yorkers who scurried past underneath. His masked head panned the street, looking for easy prey.

But the locals were not the bad guys in this episode.

No, Spidey was here to protect his city from a far more dastardly foe.


There went one now!

Moving slowly – almost hesitantly – and staying stealthily close to the towering skyscrapers, a 50-ish jogger slipped under the web slinger’s gaze. The nerve of this skinny balding bastard! In broad daylight yet!

His unscrupulous sidekick, a fetching leotarded damsel with flowing blonde locks (of course), hung close to his side in rhythm step.

What no-good deed could these two Public Enemies Number 1 and 1A be up to?

I covertly followed them up 8th Avenue toward 57th Street, where they took a quick and unexpected right turn. Obviously, this was an attempt to lose me. I broke into a trot to keep pace.

After a block I was closing on them. Their conversation was now audible. But their words were strange. Were they speaking in code?

No, but still something foreign to my ear.

Was it…Dutch? Russian?


As we turned north on Broadway and headed toward Times Square, even more of these scantily clad invaders descended upon us. Joggers from every nation, speaking in tongues and sporting colorful villainous costumes made of special sweat-wicking fabric (that does not actually wick but does sweat).

Was there a mass meeting of these scoundrels planned during Friday afternoon drive? Was their goal to tie up traffic in this holiest of meccas and brotherly love – sweet, innocent New York City?

The sun was fading now. My not-so-Spidey-sense stomach tingled to signal me it was close to dinnertime. Were these sweaty rogues waiting for the cover of darkness to commit their crime on the innocents of New York?

And as quickly as it had begun it was over.

A television reporter brusquely jumped in front of a petite male Asian jogger, possibly the maniacal brains behind this bunch. The reporter and his cameraman stopped him dead in his small tracks.

“What do you think about the mayor cancelling the marathon,” demanded the TV man of the diminutive (but obviously dangerous) runner.

The Asian appeared confused. His evil plans were now known and being broadcast to a live tri-state network audience.

“Ahhh, no mar-at-hon?” replied the likely descendant of Tokyo Rose.

“No marathon,” snarled back the TV reporter.

He wielded his oversized microphone like a hammer of justice as he positioned himself in front of a covey of Peruvians, all out for a late-afternoon jog and likely up to no good.

“What are your plans now that YOUR marathon has been canceled?”

The Peru travelers were taken aback – more by the TV reporter’s Thai-laced breath than the news.

Knowing that their plot to run 26.2 miles through the five New York boroughs was now thwarted, the runners fell silent. Not one was brave enough to offer a reason or explanation for their selfishness.

Or maybe they just couldn’t speak English. These joggers will stop at almost nothing, you know.

A spotlight appeared in the New York skyline, high above the Sandy-twisted crane on 64th Street. It appeared at first to be the outline of a gymnast. Maybe two? As the sky darkened, the figures became more evident and showed movement as well.

The spotlight showed the two heroes of the day – Mayor Bloomberg and the president of the New York Road Runners, Mary Wittenberg!  What I had taken for gymnastics was actually the good mayor and Mary taking turns doing flip flops for the people of New York. A cheer rose from the masses the likes reserved for war heroes …or maybe even Yankees!

As I made my way back to my hotel, I spotted large groups of runners making plans to leave New York and return to their orderly lives, insanely precise schedules and the January edition of Runners World.

The city that doesn’t sleep (but nods off incessantly) would be safe again from these underwear-wearing freaks of nature.

“Let those bastards run someplace else,” an NYPD cop was heard to say. “We’s gots us a crisis on our hands here-a!”

Just as the last jogger was leaving the pricey hotel, the cop called out with a final plea.

“Any of youse guys got Knicks’ tickets for tonight you ain’t gonna be usin’?”

and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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26 Responses to Gotham City Runs Joker NYC Marathoners Out Of Town / A Parody…

  1. rkcal says:

    Yeah, I’m sorry all those pesky people that lost everything ruined your weekend, dude.

  2. Greg Hall says:

    What ruined my weekend is being portrayed as a villain for showing up to a marathon that the NYRR repeatedly assured me and the other 47K runners post-Sandy would be safe and welcoming. It was not. The hostility displayed toward the runners by the NY media and some NYC residents was/is completely misplaced.

    • rkcal says:

      But understandable considering it would have been morally reprehensible to allocate resources to a race with so much need and suffering all around. The NYRR blew it big time. As for NYC being hostile? Well, duh.

  3. Orphan of the Road says:

    Epic FAIL on this one Greg. Were you so self-centered you couldn’t see what had happened? That resources were stretched to the breaking point?


    • Greg Hall says:

      Your comment is exactly why I wrote this little story. The news media distorted this Sandy/Marathon story to epic proportions. The New York Post ran a photo of the generators being used to power up the finish line in Central Park and stated how many homes those generators could be helping in the ravaged areas of Staten Island. This photo and the deluge of negative press directed at the marathon turned the public into a lynch mob looking for runners to hang.

      The disaster took place on Monday and into Tuesday. It didn’t happen in Botswana — it happened in one of the most populated areas of the richest country in the world. There were no problems getting resources to this area. There was simply poor management by an incompetent group of people in charge. If I can get to NYC from KC, why couldn’t the Red Cross, FEMA or even Wal-Mart ship NYC whatever they needed in the five days it took for Bloomberg to cancel the race?

      There are 8 million people living in NYC. But NYRR wants the 40K marathoners to pitch in and donate money, donate their paid-for hotel rooms and volunteer to clean up after Sandy? Did the Knicks ask the same of the 20K who attended the NBA game Friday? Will the NY Giants fans be hit up to pay for Manhattan hotel rooms today? What about those selfish non-running bastards I saw enjoying Times Square, Central Park and the Theatre District? How could they smile with all this carnage just miles away??? What bullshit.

      This was not a marathon problem. This was/is a PR problem for Bloomberg and Whittenberg. They screwed up by not canceling the race days ago. Not only didn’t they cancel it, they continued to urge all registered runners to come to NYC and that everything would be great. When the natives turned ugly and their reputation were on the line, they threw the marathoners under the bridge and let the media have at us.

      Don’t take what the media is telling you about Sandy/NYC as gospel. It’s more like Scientology.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        Bad timing at best for you to post this blurb.

        Common sense isn’t common.

        It was foolish for the organizers to say this could be done. Even more foolish for people to buy into it.

        Entitlement behavior and elitism never rest, do they?

        • Greg Hall says:

          I think my timing is perfect. It is always a good time to tell the truth.

          • Super Dave says:

            I agree with what you are saying Greg and guess this is one of those cases where the blind won’t read between the lines.

            Like your points about ball games and theaters

  4. The Smartman says:

    Sorry for your inconvenience Gregger. That’s why Disneyland and not New York, is the happiest place in the world.

    Blame Mayor Doomberg on this fiasco. Let’s recap his most recent decision making resume. No carbonated soft drinks larger than 16 ounces but if you want to drink a quart of apple juice, with four times as much sugar, knock yourself out. Last minute endorsement of Resident Obama since 4 more years of his climate change policies will always and forever keep hurricanes like Sandy away from the tri-metro. Let them eat cake, I mean, run the marathon, said Doomberg. It’ll be good for morale and the 5 million dollars that gets raised for relief efforts will pay the interest on the 10 billion we’re gonna have to borrow for clean up. The decision not to cancel the marathon, ON TUESDAY, before runners started arriving shows how out of touch he really is with street level life. He makes Joe Paterno look, hands on….no pun intended.

    I have many, many friends in the five burroughs. We have, or should I say “had”, a timeshare in Seaside Heights. The devastation is massive and in some cases life altering. When it comes to providing citizens with basics like food, water, fuel and clothing the state and federal governments in NY and NJ are failing like KCMOSD students.

    Unlike the Japanese in Fukashima who acted with a servants heart in trying to cope with the aftermath of the NUCLEAR disaster these bastards have turned into honey badgers cause the power is out for more than two days and they can’t get a skinny cafe mocha and lowfat blueberry muffin. They have to walk a mile or more to find a working toilet….unlike others who are simply defecating in the hallways of their apartment buildings, co-ops or condos. Unfathomable, in their minds that parts of the greatest city in the world have been reduced to third world operating conditions while 20 blocks away life is normal.

    This can happen ANYWHERE! Take my advice because if or when it happens here the government will not be there for you.

    Regardless of your economic situation there is no reason why you can’t or shouldn’t have at least one months worth of food, water and medicine at your house/apartment. Lots of options from propane stoves to stove in a can for cooking, your wood burning fireplace will also work quite well. Forget the new big screen, buy a generator. Lots of batteries, flashlights, radios, etc. Get sleeping bags and bivvy bags for all your family members. You should have at least 1000 rounds of ammo for your weapon of choice.

    As a right wing nut job I’m prepared for Armageddon, but, I’ll never get caught with my pants down unless I’m taking a dump into my trash bag lined 5 gallon bucket/shitter. And I won’t be calling friends in NYC three times a day to vent because I failed to prepare for the unimaginable.

    Like a Boy Scout, be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverant, but most importantly…..BE PREPARED.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Well written, Smartman.

    • Greg Hall says:

      The amount of bitching and moaning I witnessed by New Yorkers was embarrassing. Hey, guess what guys — shit happens — and it is rarely fair. Fair is a baseball term, not a life term. You need to take care of yourself and fend for your family. The whining I see from people hit with disasters about “Where is the government for me?” is not what made America great.

      When a major storm is forecast for you area five days in advance, get the hell out of there. Those who are too old, sickly and indigent and truly cannot leave should be helped by government. But young, healthy folks trapped by flood waters because they refused to evacuate should be charge for what it costs to save their dumb asses.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        At least some of the entrants showed their humanity.

        • Greg Hall says:

          The media is cherry-picking these stories to fortified the story they want to tell. I don’t blame you Orphan for not getting it. You think what the media wants you to think — you are far from alone.

          This was nothing more than a political football that the NYPD union forced Mayor Bloomberg to swallow. They threatened to no-show the marathon in deference to the locals who were vehemently against running the race (as was I). But everyone in charge waited far too long to do the right thing.

          Read this Staten Island resident’s account of the Sandy/Marathon fiasco in NYC:

          • Orphan of the Road says:

            No I get it. I have family and friends living there. I have lived through the aftermath of hurricanes.

            Anyone with one iota of common sense knew they didn’t need anyone in the region who was not a resident or a first responder.

            Of course you get snarky with Scientology while your Roman Catholic Church remains a safe haven for pedophiles.

            Sorry, your dog don’t hunt.

    • Super Dave says:


  5. Phaedrus says:

    Well said Smartman. People can’t take care of themselves anymore. They want the government to do everything for them.

    As far as the marathon, the runners didn’t have to go. Just because the race wasn’t cancelled, it doesn’t mean that it was a bad idea to travel to NYC at this time. Sometimes you’ve got to use your good ol’ common sense rather than listen to the government/race organizer.

  6. Java Man says:

    “Don’t take what the media is telling you about Sandy/NYC as gospel. It’s more like Scientology.” -GH

    Ha!. You are sounding just like your buddy at the Landmark. That evil media.
    At least you didn’t wait until Monday for your Limbaugh talking points.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Java, I don’t consider the media evil — I enjoy the hell out of the daily show they provide. My OTC column represents my passion for communication and those who do it — both poorly and well. The NYC media did what they do, grab eyes and ears in an effort to sell cars, beer and soap. They did it very, very well. My point is that the consumer must understand that the media’s goal is to sell ads, not get the story right.

  7. chuck says:

    I kinda thought when I first read Greg’s piece and the first comments (No diss Orphan.) that if Greg was actually in New York, he should probably have the best take, sans the politics and agenda, of anyone I read in the media.

    Turns out I was right.

    I am not often right, so, just thought I would mention that.

  8. chuck says:

    Just a little more info. About half way down on the Home Mail page-

    there is a photo on a big piece of wood amongst the devastation that says, “F U Mayor and your Marathon”.

    On the one hand, I do think the recovery effort is off to a bad start and smarman is right, Mayor Doomburg screwed up from a PR standpoint.

    On the other hand, jeeze, what a mess. It would be easy to make some bad decisions in the heat of the moment which were in no way meant to harm or offend.

  9. Rock Chalk says:

    I travel frequently in the NYC/NJ/PA area and was there this past week. I can confirm GH’s account that the folks in NYC love nothing more than to bitch and moan about the little inconveniences lost for a few days. That said, the devastation was very real for many in the outer regions, mainly Staten Island, Queens and other parts of Long Island.

    However, the devastation is not on par with other major natural catastrophes. Monetarily, Sandy will be a large loss because the storm hit one of the most expensive and densely populated regions in the world. It will not be because the devastation was so overwhelming that the city literally needed to rebuild from the ground up. Total economic losses and insurance losses will be high because of location and business interruption; relatively few structures will need to be rebuilt from the ground-up.

    It is being broadcast as a much larger event because of where it hit…if the epicenter of the storm was in North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Virginia, you can bet that the news media’s focus would shift after three or four days. As evidence, look at the tornado systems that ripped through Alabama in 2011. Over the course of 3 days, 238 people in Alabama alone died from tornadoes. Major parts of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham were leveled, yet, after a few news cycles, it slipped off the radar due Alabama’s distance from major news outlets. I would argue that the impact of the tornado was much greater (238 deaths in Alabama vs. 110 so far related to Sandy).

  10. Big Idea says:

    Horrible article. Who cares about a bunch of runners? This is a typical sports play, we see it with rainouts all the time. We know the game will be rained out, but teams don’t call the game until an hour after first pitch! Why? So the stadium and surrounding area’s can realize the revenue of people coming to the area. Same thing with the Marathon, don’t cancel it early in teh week so people still come and spend $$ in the city. Once they are in the city, who cares what they think, they just wanted your money. Pretty easy to see.
    That being said, to comment on anyone’s demeanor after a tragedy strikes is bornderline stupid, clearly uncalled for. Who are you (or me) to judge someone else’s suffering? Were you without power for 4 days in 50 degree temperatures? Were you out of your house because of flooding? Were your family members (who might not live in Manhattan) affected by the storm. The problem was not the race, it was the # of Police / Fire etc, that must coordinate to make this event happen. They should be helping any and all areas dig out, not making sure runners can run. To think otherwise or to critize someone’s attitude after they have been without power, food, or heat for a few days, is just plain stupid. I’m certain you wouldn’t be in your best mood if they same had happened to you.

    • Greg Hall says:

      There were 82,000 people at the NY Giants game Sunday — twice as many as the marathon. Throngs of policemen were at the game when they could have been aiding hurrican victims. The NFL fans all ate food, drank water, wasted gasoline and fuel, hogged back-up generators and basically spent time enjoying themselves — when they could have donated those resources to the recovery of Sandy victims. I heard of no one in NYC publicly complaining.

      It was those selfish marathon assholes who are the bad guys.

      • Ronnie says:

        Exactly what I thought as I watched the Giants game. Great writing as always Greg. I get exactly where you are coming from. Too bad others don’t.

  11. big idea says:

    It was the selfish marathon guys writing articles that said people should have been nicer.
    And don’t use Apples v Oranges logic. Do you believe it takes as many cops to host a football game as it does to wind 26.2 miles through 5 boroughs? Cmon, we’re smarter than that, and so are you. Don’t forget also, that football is a TV sport (the marathon is not). The game can be escape for plenty of people who need a respite from the tragedy. You doth protest too much on this point, there is no good reason to write your article other than being a whiney runner who doesn’t believe his sport doesnt get enough respect.

  12. Johnny Utah says:

    Great take GH. No one deserves this but a stronger community would bounce back rather than look for blame, and it comes from the top. NY has a horrible mayor-for-life. They did not deserve the hurricane but they deserve their incompetent mayor and his pathetic response.

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