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Cancelled marathon leaves ESPN out of the running

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This was supposed to be the year the NYC Marathon returned to national television. But like many other plans that were made for this week, Hurricane Sandy has changed all that.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and marathon organizers New York Road Runners called off the annual event in the face of mounting criticism about the race, which some have called inappropriate since the city is still scrambling to provide basic resources to residents. The race was supposed to start Sunday.

The move also puts ESPN2 in a lurch, which signed a five-year deal with New York Road Runners. This was going to be the first time the world’s biggest marathon has aired on national TV since 1993. “We were just notified by New York Road Runners that the race has been cancelled and will adjust our schedule,” ESPN said in a statement. The network will replace the coverage with a variety of programming, including SportsCenter Top 10 and repeats of OTL and Sports Reporters.