No runner's high for displeased marathoners from Germany

By Michelle Baran
American Tours International, one of the official tour operators for the New York Marathon, said it was working with 223 German runners over the weekend who were in New York for the race, which ended up being canceled late Friday.

ATI said that about 60 to 70 of the initial 300 runners who had booked with the inbound tour operator canceled after news of Hurricane Sandy and its devastating effects on the city. But the remaining runners flew into the city last week only to receive news that the race had been canceled.

"Basically, they're very disappointed," said Lisa Camardella, vice president of ATI East, which dealt only with runners from Germany. "It's an international event. The people arrived and spent a lot of money on hotels and to register. ... This is something that people prepare for years in advance. They weren't very happy."

Camardella said that the runners who arrived in New York participated in the regular scheduled sightseeing tours that ATI had planned for them, and that some took part in an impromptu marathon on Sunday despite the cancellation.

For those who canceled their trip, most were able to get a travel voucher from the airlines and a refund from the hotels, said Camardella.

But ATI voiced its concern over the city's poor handling of the event's cancellation and how it could impact travel to New York as the city heads into its busy holiday season.

"With Christmas tours next on the horizon for [New York], ATI is expecting cancellations because of the poor handling of this situation and the tarnished reputation from this last-minute cancellation," ATI stated in an email to Travel Weekly. "The tourism and economic implications for New York are significant."

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