Despite the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, five Native American runners from tribes in South Dakota had little doubt that the New York City Marathon race would go on as scheduled Sunday.
But early Friday evening, after picking up their bib numbers, the team learned that the race had been cancelled.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the decision amid criticism that holding the race would be insensitive to a city where the storm killed dozens of people.
The South Dakota runners wanted to run the race to be positive role models and raise money for a youth shelter on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
One of them, Jeff Turning Heart Jr., told The Associated Press that the mayor's announcement "felt like a hit to the gut." The runners say they're disappointed but understood.