The refund applies only to runners who had not withdrawn before Oct. 24, when forecasts of a massive storm started to emerge.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; they will not increase in 2013.
Once the number of entrants choosing the 2013 marathon is known, NYRR will determine whether enough additional spots exist to hold a lottery, likely making an announcement by the end of February. More than 140,000 people applied for the 2012 marathon, and Wittenberg is optimistic the race will remain as popular despite the discontent this year. Even if it doesn't happen right away.
"I hope everybody ultimately wants to come be a part of running here in one form or another over time," she said.
Dahlia Yoeli, a New Yorker who was set to run her first marathon, was frustrated it took so long for NYRR to complete the policy. But she was pleasantly surprised about the refund option.
"I think it's pretty fair," she said, adding she still hopes to run the race in the future.
Marathon organizers first purchased cancellation insurance after the terrorist attacks of 2001. NYRR also must negotiate financial settlements with sponsors, broadcasters, exhibitors and other partners. Wittenberg said she expected the same sponsors to return in 2013.
After the marathon was canceled, Wittenberg noted that other races had stuck to no-refund policies when runners couldn't make it to the starting line because of extreme weather. Entrants cared most about guaranteed spots in future events, she said then.
In the weeks since, many still focused on how they could run the race another time. But, Wittenberg said Thursday, others sent the message: "I didn't get what I expected." And so the option to receive a refund became a priority.
"It puts the choice in the runner's hands," she said, "which is the important thing."
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